Toronto plans to demolish one of its most historic performing arts centres
The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, the theatre that houses a combined 1367 seats between two auditoriums at Yonge and Front Streets, will soon be demolished.
Toronto City Council decided yesterday that the 50-year-old building will be torn down and rebuilt, as suggested by TO Live, the city agency that manages and operates the venue along with Meridian Hall (formerly the Sony Centre) and Meridian Arts Centre (formerly the Toronto Centre for the Arts).
The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts stands in its shadow like an aging, leaky relic, but whether to repair it or rebuild it is the question that now faces Toronto city council. #toronto https://t.co/XRHXZ2kI3y pic.twitter.com/mf55BmZ29f— Shawn Venasse (@shawnvenasse) January 24, 2020
Despite being renovated in 2007, the St. Lawrence complex — which has hosted everything from plays to TED talks to live music — would cost the City a staggering $42 million to maintain as is and bring up to current accessibility and other standards.
TO Live hopes to replace the somewhat anachronistic building, which could use a bit of a facelift, with a modern performance hall with 750-5,000 flex seating, three rehearsal halls, a reimagined lobby area and connections to nearby outdoor spaces like Berczy Park. The envisioned state-of-the-art project is estimated to cost around $200 million.
According to council, next steps include an open consultation process with the local community, a detailed cost estimate, budget, project plan and schedule, and in-depth business model that considers existing and new financial stakeholders.
Though there is no timeline for the demolition or reconstruction as of yet, the city's unanimous approval is the official green light for the massive undertaking to get started.
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