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

Onsite Gallery Opening draws more than 1000!

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in front of gallery
Monday, September 18, 2017

On Saturday, Sept. 16, OCAD University’s flagship professional gallery, Onsite, threw its doors open to the public for the first time at its new location, 199 Richmond St. W. Over a thousand visitors toured the gallery and celebrated at the outdoor street party, featuring Indigenous performers including Long Branch, Charlena Russell and DJ Classic Roots. The party was MC’d by Amanda Parris, host of CBC Arts program Exhibitionists.

The gallery’s two powerful inaugural exhibitions are raise a flag: works from the Indigenous Art Collection (2000-2015) curated by Ryan Rice, Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD U, and For This Land: Inside Elemental featuring 2Ro Media: Jackson 2bears and Janet Rogers. The exhibitions are on display through December 10, 2017.

Elder Duke Redbird opened the event with an Indigenous land acknowledgement. Member of Parliament Adam Vaughan (Spadina-Fort York) and City Councillor Joe Cressy made remarks before the ribbon-cutting, joining President Sara Diamond and Francisco Alvarez, the Dorene and Peter Milligan Executive Director of OCAD U’s Galleries System, who spoke about the importance of Onsite both to the OCAD U community and to the residents of Toronto.  

Onsite Gallery gratefully acknowledges that its construction is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Canada Cultural Spaces Fund at Canadian Heritage; the City of Toronto through a Section 37 agreement with Aspen Ridge Homes. Gallery furniture is provided by Nienkämper.

raise a flag: works from the Indigenous Art Collection (2000 – 2015) is produced with the support of the Collection of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, courtesy of the Indigenous Art Centre; Our Children's Medicine program and its HigherMe youth hiring platform; the Canada Council for the Arts; the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council; the Indigenous Visual Culture Program at OCAD University; and the Delaney Family Foundation.

For This Land: Inside Elemental is presented with community partner imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and supported by Nexus Investment Management.