OCAD University has been awarded $1 million from the Government of Canada through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (through Federal Development Agency for Southern Ontario), toward its $3 million project to refurbish its historic property: the George Reid House.
George Reid House is the original 1921 campus building of the Ontario College of Art (OCA), as it was known then, the first building in Canada built specifically for the purpose of the education of professional artists and designers. The building was designed by painter George Reid, an alumnus who was principal of OCA at the time, alongside vice-principal, Arthur Lismer (member of the Group of Seven).
“OCAD University’s immense social, cultural, economic and city-building impact has a long history,” says Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University “Through this generous funding, the refurbishment of the George Reid House ensures a bright future for this historic building by modernizing the interior facilities and re-establishing it as a significant university and community asset.”
The refurbishment includes the creation of new event and meeting spaces, an enhanced space through the hallway that will allow for interpretive displays, and restoration of the west side portico. As part of Canada’s national celebration, OCAD University is gifting the renamed Canada 150 Portico as an acknowledgement of Canada’s history, and a symbol of the importance of the institution in Canadian history and culture.
The building’s refurbishment is part of OCAD University’s larger, Creative City Campus revitalization project. The project boldly re-imagines the use of space to expand studio-based and experiential learning, upgrade learning-and-teaching technology, intensify research capacity and nurture innovation-minded thinkers and makers.
The renewed building will include a public land acknowledgement to recognize the ancestral territory on which the building stands, honouring the university’s commitment to Indigenous learning.
“Having played a role in initiating the revitalization of Grange Park, it gives me enormous pleasure to announce funding for the restoration of George Reid House as part of our government’s celebration of Canada 150 and support for OCAD University. I am proud to see my community and Toronto benefit from this program,” said Adam Vaughan, M.P. Spadina – Fort York.
“The realization of our goals and vision could not be achieved without the assistance of all of our private and public supporters,” said Leslie Gales, Campaign Chair, Ignite Imagination: The Campaign for OCAD University. “This moment is another milestone.”
OCAD U’s continuous evolution is based on the belief that creativity serves a vital function in society, and that imaginations have the unique power to develop real-world solutions to improve and transform lives. These latest developments will ensure students and faculty continue to have the ability to leverage the power of art, design and digital innovation to change the world for the better.