Benefactors Rosalie and Isadore Sharp, founders of the famed Four Seasons Hotel chain, pledged $3 million to OCAD University, Canada’s largest art, design and digital media university at an event marking a decade since the opening of the iconic structure bearing their name.
The Sharp donation will be used to create a dramatic new façade on the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion at McCaul and Dundas Streets and to transform the building into the OCAD University Centre for Experiential Learning. This student-focused centre is dedicated to studio-based learning across the university’s program areas, partnerships with community and industry, and training in professional and business skills. Bortolotto Architects have been selected to transform the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion into a striking landmark that will anchor the schools’ cultural corridor leading along McCaul St.
A second gift of $2 million from OCAD University Chancellor Kiki Delaney on behalf of the Delaney Family Foundation was also announced. The donation will fund scholarships for undergraduate and graduate visual artists. It will also support the university’s Indigenous Visual Culture program - its curriculum, Research Centre, outreach and campus-wide activities as well as the Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture.
“Our generous donors are changing the landscape of the cultural corridor anchored by OCAD University. They are supporting our strong tradition of studio-based education and new ways of learning through experiential education. They are allowing us to nurture the tremendous creative talent in the indigenous community. This creates opportunities for students, faculty, our many partners, and the public. We are greatly indebted to them,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor of OCAD University.
The new Sharp donation “builds on the bold look of the Sharp Centre by creating an innovative gateway that will become widely admired. It will be an embodiment of the imagination at work at OCAD University,” said Diamond.
The Sharps donated $5 million in 2004 towards building the internationally acclaimed Sharp Centre for Design, designed by famed British architect Will Alsop who was on hand for the celebration. The building has been lauded by architect and arts critics alike and is one of the must-see stops for visitors to Toronto. It has played a transformative role in OCAD University’s transition to a university.
“We funded the creation of the Sharp Centre for Design at a time when the institution was literally and figuratively being lifted to a new level,” said Rosalie Sharp. “With this donation, we are helping build another artistic landmark that solidifies OCAD U’s place as a hub of innovation in Toronto.”
“As the Chancellor of OCAD University, I have seen the new opportunities created in our indigenous program, Faculty of Art and graduate studies. Our family looks for ways to help students and these two areas provide great opportunities,” said Delaney, who is president of Delaney Capital Management.
Images top right: Rendering of Rosalie Sharp Pavillion redevelopment by Bortolotto Architects
President Sara Diamond with benefactors Rosalie Sharp and Kiki Delaney