Ribbon is cut on the George Reid House!

Couzyn van Heuvelen, Duke Redbird, Sara Diamond, Jaime Watt and Gabriel Rojas Ruska
Friday, November 9, 2018

OCAD University’s historic George Reid House has officially re-opened following a dynamic renovation of the building, including the addition of Indigenous artwork created by Inuk artist Couzyn van Heuvelen.

The building’s refurbishment – as part of OCAD University’s larger, Creative City Campus revitalization project  ̶  includes the modernization of interior facilities, the creation of new event, meeting and program spaces, and the development of an enhanced circulation space with display opportunities.

“This renewed space allows for dynamic social gatherings with upgraded technology, re-establishing the house as a significant university and community asset,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. “In addition to the benefit to students, the refurbishment provides a unique opportunity for an Indigenous presence, in honour of the university’s commitment to Indigenous learning, as outlined in our Academic Plan.”

OCAD University commissioned van Heuvelen to create permanent artwork following a call to Indigenous artists and designers to submit proposals for artwork to be permanently installed in the refurbished building.

Longlisted this year for the Sobey Art Award, van Heuvelen was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and now lives in southern Ontario. His work explores Inuit culture and identity, new and old technologies, and personal narratives.

George Reid House is the original 1921 campus building of the Ontario College of Art (OCA) and the first building in Canada built specifically for the purpose of the education of professional artists and designers.
The renovation project is part of the Creative City Campus capital initiative and is funded by the Government of Ontario (through the Ministry Training, Colleges and Universities) and the Government of Canada through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (through the Federal Development Agency for Southern Ontario).

Large slate slab carved with two blue birds
Student Gabriel Rojas Ruska speaking at podium
Large slate slab carved with four red birds

LandMarks2017 Repères2017: The Book

White book cover with red zig-zag of textile on snow
Monday, July 9, 2018

LandMarks2017/Repères2017 was a Canada 150 Signature Project of large-scale, participation-oriented art and activities of national scope. OCAD U was a founding partner of the project and was among 16 universities that took part. To commemorate the project, Partners in Art (PIA) has collaborated with Magenta Publishing to create a limited-edition book for members, sponsors, and participating artists that may also be accessed online.

LandMarks2017/Repères2017: The Book includes work by faculty and students across Canada alongside the work of 12 artists and several essays. Dr. Vladimir Spicanovic, Dean of OCAD U’s Faculty of Art, contributed an essay titled Pedagogies of the Land.

Funded by the Government of Canada in partnership with PIA, Landmarks 2017 invited Canadians to creatively explore and deepen their connection to the land through a series of contemporary art projects across the country in national parks and historic sites.

In the winter 2017 semester, Min Sook Lee and Laura Millard led a cross-disciplinary course that resulted in an exhibition for the project at Rouge Beach. Students engaged with diverse issues including concepts of nature, post-colonial issues of nationhood and narratives of identity, community and citizenship.


OCAD U alumni featured in Dubai exhibition

Painting of what looks like a close up of a diamond, with facets in blues and greys
Photograph of mirrors and light tubes
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This past December, the Consulate General of Canada hosted a group exhibition in Dubai’s foremost arts hub, Alserkal Avenue, as part of the Canada 150 program. The exhibition included works by OCAD U alumni, Sara Pearson and Camille Jodoin-Eng, as well as Canadian artists, Arwa Abouon, KC Adams, Babak Golkar.

The four OCAD U alumni works on display represented a range of recent innovative work coming out of the Drawing & Painting program in the Faculty of Art at OCAD U. A guided tour of the exhibit was provided by KC Adams on Dec 15, 2017.

The exhibited works are courtesy of Art Works Consulting and were curated by Devan Patel.

OCAD U’s participation was made possible through the university’s Government Relations & Partnerships and the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers.



President Sara Diamond profiled in Canada 150 Women

Portrait of Sara Diamond in a blue suit by a window
Monday, November 20, 2017

A new book by author Paulina Cameron celebrates Canadian leaders, champions, and luminaries who are exemplary in their fields. Canada 150 Women showcases prominent women from a variety of professional sectors who demonstrate tenacity, diversity and strength.

President Diamond is interviewed alongside former astronaut and current Governor General Julie Payette, filmmaker Deepa Mehta, Olympic medalist Silken Laumann and other acclaimed women.

The featured women share their personal stories of how feminism has changed during their lifetimes, and they talk about their own visions for Canada.

Go to CBC Radio to hear an interview with the author. The book is available at Chapters Indigo.




OCAD University receives funding for refurbishment of George Reid House

Black & White archival photo of George Reid House
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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.


Rendering of renovated space
Rendering of renovated space
Sara Diamond and Adam Vaughan stand next to rendering of renewed space

OCAD University and ROM to showcase Indigenous culture and history

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

OCAD University is pleased to announce an innovative collaboration with the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) to showcase Indigenous culture and history before and beyond Ontario’s 150th anniversary. Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation is investing $200,000 in the project.

Students from OCAD U’s Indigenous Visual Culture program will explore relevant cultural objects at the ROM and use digital and other media to share them with a larger audience. The project will include the creation of an interactive online learning environment that will incorporate gaming, commentary and the exchange of local stories through social media.

“We are very pleased to participate in this important collaboration with the Royal Ontario Museum that will further widen participants' understanding of Indigenous history and knowledge,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. “The project is aligned with OCAD University's deep commitment to be inclusive of Indigenous culture and knowledge.”

The project offers OCAD U students an opportunity to examine, interact with, and respond to cultural objects in the ROM’s Indigenous Ontario collection. “Our students' research into current and historical scholarship about these objects, and their contemporary, speculative, and innovative visual responses to them, will result in an on-line recasting of the stories and trajectories embedded in these cultural treasures,” said Bonnie Devine, Associate Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies, Faculty of Art, and Graduate Studies and Founding Chair, Indigenous Visual Culture Program OCAD University

OCAD University was one of the first art and design institutions in Canada to launch a degree in Indigenous Visual Culture. The university works in tandem with its Aboriginal Education Council, Indigenous Student Association, and with all faculty and staff across the university to support the process to decolonize the institution and to recognize, acknowledge, implement and vitalize Indigenous visual culture.




LandMarks 2017 Art + Places exhibition

Image of a sewing machine and clothing in the wilderness
Friday, June 23, 2017 - 11:00am to Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 5:00pm

LandMarks: Art + Places is a group exhibition created by OCAD University students at Rouge National Park. The exhibition is the result of a-cross disciplinary course bringing curator Tania Willard and artists Cheryl L'Hirondelle and Camille Turner in conversation with students to produce multidisciplinary site-specific works.

In the form of limited-term on-site interventions at Rouge National Park, the artists’ works considers the political, economic and cultural implications of the stories we tell about ourselves through our relationships to land. These works reflect the very concept of nationhood by reconstructing narratives of identity that embrace indigeneity, engage with realities of colonialism and reimagine contemporary Canada.

Participating artists: Abigail Permell, Cassandra Smyth, Debora Purcelli, Dimitra Roussakis, Kaiatanoron Bush, Lizz Khan, Natasha Hirt, Robin Love, Tia Cavanagh, Yawen Guo and Vishal Luthra.

In the course, through readings, conversations with the artists and curator, site visits and ongoing discussions, students and faculty sought to problematize ideas of nationhood, concepts of nature, and explore intimate and public relationships to land. This course frames a critical context that marks a multi-faceted dialogue about land and the occasion of 150 years of Canada, pointing to futures and to much longer histories than 150 years of confederation. Dr. Vladimir Spicanovic, Dean, OCAD University Faculty of Art, is the Lead Advisor, Curriculum and Curatorial Engagement, for the LandMarks2017/ Repères2017 project. 

Faculty: Min Sook Lee and Laura Millard

Opening reception: Friday June 23, 11 a.m., Rouge Beach, Rouge National Park

Free bus charter from OCAD University to Reception: Location, Bus leaves from OCAD University 100 McCaul St. at 10 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m.

Venue & Address: 
Rouge Beach, Rouge National Park Free bus departs from OCAD University, 100 McCaul St. at 10 a.m.

Landmarks 2017 event with OCAD U alumnae Cheryl L’Hirondelle & Camille Turner

Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 11:30am to Sunday, June 18, 2017 - 5:00pm

Whose stories are we missing when we speak about land and freedom? It’s a profoundly important question for artists, Cheryl L’Hirondelle and Camille Turner, who share a keen interest in the mapping of public memory — our countless stories untold and songs unsung.

Their Freedom Tours project for LandMarks 2017/Repères 2017 focuses on Ontario’s Thousand Islands National Park and Rouge National Urban Park. As the oldest park east of the Rockies, the Thousand Islands is rich in diverse, place-based narratives. The artists will host boat tours of the area that reimagine some of these histories in song. The Park comprises Akwesasne Mohawk lands and, given the proximity of the waters to America, borderlands — so the storytelling potential is vast.

This dynamic artist pairing is inspired by concerns about freedom that drive both L’Hirondelle’s work with incarcerated women and song, and Turner’s enquiry into underrepresented histories of the black experience in Canada.

On June 17 and June 18, hop on a free charter bus from OCAD University to the launch location of the Freedom Tours boat tour near Kingston, Ontario.

Book your spot to on the bus and from the event here, then click here to get your free tickets for the boat tour. The charter bus departs at 11:30 a.m. sharp,and  the cruise runs from 3 p.m. to 5. pm. 



Venue & Address: 
Free bus departs from OCAD U, 100 McCaul St. to Ivy Lea Cruise, 95 Ivy Lea Road, Thousand Islands

OCAD U’s Dr. Gerald McMaster advisor on new CBC series 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

CBC’s new ten-part docu-drama series, CANADA: The STORY OF US, highlights extraordinary moments in Canada’s history and people that helped forge a nation, from early Indigenous history to the 20th century.  The series was produced under the guidance of historians and academic consultants, including OCAD University’s Indigenous Scholar, Dr. Gerald McMaster, who served as one of the primary consultants. Ground-breaking curator, author, artist and educator, Dr. McMaster is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture & Curatorial Practice at OCAD U.

CANADA: THE STORY OF US takes viewers inside Canada’s history with dramatic re-enactments, ground-breaking CGI sequences and documentary-style virtual reality experiences. The series features the stories of Indigenous peoples, women, immigrants, pioneers, rule-breakers, scientists and entrepreneurs – many of them untold until now. The series highlights key moments spanning centuries of history beginning with Indigenous nations in the pre-contact era to 1608 with the arrival of explorer Samuel de Champlain in “Worlds Collide,” to the introduction of the sea otter trade by Mowachaht leader and statesman Chief Maquinna in “Hunting Treasure” (1778-1802), to “Boom Bust” (1911-1937) with populations exploding in urban centres, concluding with the creation of Nunavut in “Canadian Experiment” (1970-1999).

Each week, during the run of the series, in partnership with Ancestry.ca, the world’s largest online family history resource and an integrated sponsor of CANADA: THE STORY OF US, CBC will air a short vignette featuring a Canadian celebrity from the series, including Susan Aglukark, Wendy Crewson, Sarah Gadon, Mike Holmes, Missy Peregrym, Jennifer Podemski and Mary Walsh, who will discover something new and surprising about their own family histories.

CANADA: THE STORY OF US will also be brought to life online through a trio of immersive, 360-degree videos that will put viewers inside key moments in Canadian history. Through these interactive vignettes, viewers will be transported into the lives of Chief Maquinna; Laura Secord; and Richard Rettie and W.C. Wilkinson – two Canadian scientists who led a team to decode the Nazi Smart Bomb. Produced by Secret Location, all three 360 videos feature ambisonic sound to further immerse viewers in the scene. The videos will be available at cbc.ca/canadathestoryofus and on Facebook for viewing on desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

Series premieres Sunday, March 26 at 8 p.m. on CBC

National Canadian Film Day 150

National Film Day poster
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 12:00pm

The programme will include screenings of: Mobilize, Nimmikaage (She Dances for People)Etlinisigu’niet (Bleed Down) and Sisters & Brothers (2015).

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul St.