OCAD U names new facility at Mirvish+Gehry Toronto The Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts

Thursday, February 14, 2013 (All day)

(Toronto—February 14, 2013) OCAD University announced today that it will name its new 25,000-square-foot facility at the proposed Mirvish+Gehry Toronto project The Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts at OCAD University. The new facility is one of two cultural centrepieces of a multi-year, multi-phase project announced in October that will transform Toronto’s downtown arts and entertainment district.  The Mirvish+Gehry Toronto project, which will also feature a new Mirvish Collection museum, is the largest and most significant urban commission to date for Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry.

“The Princess of Wales has long been associated in Toronto with excellence in the arts,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor of OCAD U. “This new arts-dedicated facility provides a means to honour a legacy that associates the creative and socially transformative virtues of art with the Princess of Wales’s legendary dedication to young people, intergenerational exchange and social concerns such as violence, poverty and HIV education.”

OCAD University received approval to transfer the Princess of Wales name, originally granted in 1993 to the Mirvish family to name the then-new Princess of Wales Theatre, which will be replaced as part of the project plans. The letter sent on behalf of Their Highnesses, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, reads: “Their Royal Highnesses are extremely grateful to you for raising this matter, since Toronto always held a very special place in their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales’s heart.”

The Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts at OCAD University’s proximity to the Mirvish Collection museum provides an unprecedented opportunity for partnership and collaboration.

“It is wonderful news that the Princess of Wales presence will continue its historic relationship to our cultural projects that began in May of 1993 with the Princess of Wales theatre,” said David Mirvish. “OCAD University, its staff and students share a broad range of interests that coincide with mine. I can imagine a collaboration that starts with curatorial studies and extends to shared public lectures. Our relationship will be an evolution where we will work together to find opportunities.”

The university also released more details about the vision for the Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts, which will become an arts showcase and learning facility, featuring studios, seminar rooms, gallery facilities and a public theatre and lecture hall to promote and enable the making, study and exhibition of art.

“This project will transform Toronto’s downtown cultural district and advance the area’s future as a thriving creative centre,” said Dr. Diamond. “OCAD University shares David Mirvish’s vision in, through his extraordinary collection and the educational programing we will bring, creating a valuable resource for the public and our students that will enrich the downtown experience.”


Mirvish+Gehry Toronto:
On October 1, 2012, David Mirvish, founder of Mirvish Productions, and world-renowned architect Frank Gehry unveiled the conceptual design for the mixed-use project that will bring new cultural, residential and retail spaces to a site immediately next to the Royal Alexandra Theatre and create a new visual identity for the city’s premier arts district.

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto is the vision of David Mirvish, who through his family’s support of the arts has helped make the city a major international centre for performing arts and has transformed the downtown King Street Entertainment District. Bordered by many of Toronto’s leading cultural institutions including the Royal Alexandra Theatre and Roy Thomson Hall to the east, the Toronto International Film Festival Bell Lightbox to the west, and the John Street Cultural Corridor to the west culminating at the Art Gallery of Ontario to the north, the project will have at its centre The Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts at OCAD University and the Mirvish Collection museum.

The Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts at OCAD University
A dedicated entrance off the east side of Duncan Street will take the public and students to the third and fourth floors of the development. At the heart of the 25,000-square foot, two-storey space will be a 250-seat in-the-round theatre/lecture hall to be used for performance art, lectures, dialogues and equipped for videoconferencing.

In addition, the Centre will house the following programs and initiatives:

Exhibition and Visual Research Centre

  • Public Gallery to showcase the university’s permanent collection (currently in storage and inaccessible)
  • Faculty Gallery dedicated to showcase current faculty work in art and design
  • Visual Research; a collaborative experimental studio for the community
  • Artist in Residence studio
  • Documentation room / photo studio

Art History, Curatorial and Critical Studies Centre

  • Criticism and Curatorial Practice workshop space
  • Gallery space for exhibiting student-curated exhibitions
  • Curator in Residence studio

Publication and Printmaking Research and Production Centre

  • Layout and editing workspace
  • Bookbinding studio
  • Publication project meeting space
  • Publications Research lounge with displays 
  • Writer in Residence studio

Printmaking Studios & Archive

  • Screenprinting and relief studios with a digital editing suite
  • Rapid Prototyping and 3D printing studio

Continuing Studies

  • Digital media lab and two seminar rooms geared to Continuing Studies

Print Archive and Print Sales

  • Print OnDemand bookmaking service centre (serving the OCAD U community, visiting researchers, artists and general public) 
  • Print archive exhibition space, sales program and storage

All residence programs will have community engagement and outreach projects at the core of their mandates, with activities to take place in a collaborative experimental studio.

The university’s undergraduate programs in Printmaking, Criticism and Curatorial Practice and a new Publications specialization will be rooted at the Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts, along with graduate studies in Criticism and Curatorial Practice as well as undergraduate art history students and graduate students in the Master of Arts in Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories.

The Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts continues the south campus of OCAD University, which has classroom, gallery and office space at 205, 230 and 240 Richmond Street West. The university is also developing a new professional gallery at street level of 199 Richmond Street West as part of the Studio Condominiums project current under construction at that site.


OCAD University (OCAD U):
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) is Canada’s “university of imagination.” The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 x327 (mobile x1327)


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