Two weeks ago there was the unveiling of a new jittery logo, and now an end to the Art Gallery of Ontario‘s seemingly never-ending state of construction is finally near. A public opening date of November 14 has been announced for the museum, which has been under various states of transformation since 2005 and closed since October 2007. That first day in November, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be inaugurating the building with a citizenship ceremony for new Canadians, who can then explore the gallery along with the general public.
The expansion and reconstruction of the AGO is the first Canadian project for well-known Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry who has designed the Spanish Guggenheim and Prague’s Dancing House. Like the ROM Crystal, designed by Daniel Libeskind, the change might be subject to some criticism. Still, walking past the Dundas West building, it seems like a pretty tame update in comparison to the Bloor Street monstrosity. In addition to the giant glass façade that faces Dundas, viewing space will be increased by almost 50 per cent making room for up to 4,000 additional pieces of art.
But here’s what you really wanted to hear: the best part is that art-lovers, architecture-junkies, and the generally curious can take in the new gallery for free during the first three days of the opening. The freebies extend for the high school set (ages 13–18) who will now get unpaid access during after school hours, although the museum will continue its free Wednesday night program for the general public as well.
Photo by marco 2000 from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.