Bold new outdoor space centre of ROM redesign
Flanked by Bloor Street’s endless array of shops and dining to the west and office towers to the east, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is a hub of activity and, oftentimes, construction. So when the museum unveiled plans to create an outdoor performance venue, it was music to the ears of many who frequent the area.
In April, the ROM announced a $5 million redevelopment of its Bloor Street entrance, complete with a new green space. The 5,500-square-foot project will consist of gardens, outdoor seating and an open-air stage for live music and theatre performances. It’s slated for completion in early 2019.
In the face of rapid development and densification, green space remains a coveted aspect of life in the city, said Josh Basseches, the ROM’s director and CEO.
“We’re deficient in green spaces,” agreed councillor Joe Cressy, whose ward encompasses the ROM. “Our work needs to be in building a livable downtown, versus a vertical downtown. It has to be more than rooms where people sleep.”
It remains a delicate balance to strike, partially because combatting the core’s rapid development requires both money and land.
“We’d love to see more green space — the main challenge is economic,” said Briar de Lange, of the Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Area (BIA). “The price of the land and availability are challenging.”
Both Cressy and the Bloor-Yorkville BIA support the plan, with a desire to do even more.
“We need to recognize the potential in forgotten spaces,” Cressy said. “Whether that means greening laneways, beautifying unused spaces or creating public squares [for] a more livable downtown.”