malting silos toronto

Toronto's iconic malting silos could be getting year-round art projections

The fate of the historic Canada Malting Silos on Toronto's waterfront has hung in the balance for decades, a relic of Bathurst Quay's industrial past waiting for just the right investment to adapt it for modern use.

These concrete megaliths were constructed in 1928 and 1944, have stood idle since their decommissioning in the mid-'80s, and were rendered un-demolishable with a 2010 heritage designation, leaving repurposing as the only option.

Back in 2017, Toronto City Council approved the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan with a long-term vision to refresh the aging landmark and integrate it into a new cultural and community services-focused hub.

OCAD University is moving forward with a proposal, in partnership with the city, to launch a facility they're calling the Global Centre for Climate Resilience through Art and Design. Which might be a bit of a mouthful.

The project will appear before city council next week with a motion put forward by Councillor Joe Cressy and seconded by Mayor John Tory, getting the ball rolling for talks between the city and OCAD U on advancing this cultural and arts hub at the foot of Bathurst Street.

The Global Centre would offer a forum for dialogue on climate resilience, housing activities such as public arts programming, installations, exhibitions, and symposiums hosted in collaboration with Indigenous, local, national and international partners.

OCAD U is currently in talks with Trans Europe Halle, a Sweden-based social incubator renowned for preserving abandoned structures.

Among the methods under consideration to liven up this concrete hulk, there are plans to utilize the large windowless concrete faces as blank canvases to support a year-round climate resiliency audio-visual projection festival, envisioned to include local film festivals and media arts partners.

The Global Centre's exhibition spaces would be open to the public year-round, with flex space that can be used by OCAD U to support research-creation or artist residencies and incubation during the winter months when attractions see fewer visitors.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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