After decades of being situated as an icon of Queen Street West, it has been revealed that Citytv will be moving to a new high-profile location: Dundas Square.
Since Rogers Communications announced plans to acquire Citytv, there has been much speculation about what would happen to the legendary Queen Street studios. The solution became the former Olympic Spirit complex at the south-east corner of Dundas Square.
Built for $42 million in 2004, the building housed the unremarkable Olympic Spirit museum, intended to bring the history of the Olympic Games closer to the public with films, displays, and seminars by former athletes. The planners hoped to attract 535,000 annual visitors, but closed the facility two years later, blaming a lack of co-operative promotion by the organizers of the Vancouver Olympics.
The premium location makes sense: set catercorner on Victoria Street from Toronto Life Square, the 43,000-square-foot facility looks across a telegenic, if not ad-choked landscape. With most of its street presence comprising of confused motorists, barely any sidewalk, and a quirky streetcar loop, it isn’t yet known if Rogers Media plans to emulate the iconic “storefront” studio format that Citytv is known for.
Rogers will also relocate its two OMNI Television operations to the new complex.
The sale of the five-station Citytv network was a CRTC condition of CTVglobemedia’s $1.7-billion takeover of CHUM Limited. Rogers Media received approval late last month to buy the stations for $375 million, and now retains a binding agreement to purchase the Dundas Square site. CTVglobemedia will keep Much Music in place at the former CHUM-City building at 299 Queen West, where the music channel has been broadcasting since 1987.
Photo by Marc Lostracco.