Historic century-old Toronto industrial tower to be repurposed as art museum

Overlooking Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s junction rests the shell of Tower Automotive Building. Built in the first quarter of the 20th century, and closed in 2006, the former sheet-casting facility is currently being redeveloped into studio space.

Thankfully, the tower itself–a 10-story building which no one in the neighborhood can miss–as well as the facade of the low-lying former machining areas, will be preserved and repurposed.

Tower Automotive Building interior

On February 8, 2017, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today announced that the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is receiving $5,100,000 to fund the renovation of its new home in the iconic Tower Automotive Building in Toronto’s Junction Triangle.

The Government of Canada is providing funds to MOCA through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.

Investing in the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada will help strengthen the economy by creating jobs for the middle class, provide the opportunity for families to discover the arts in their own community, and create spaces for artists and artisans to share Canada’s unique perspective with the world,” says Joly.

We are thrilled and grateful for the Government of Canada’s support through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. This funding will help create a new, inclusive home for contemporary art in Toronto that will reflect and bolster the city and country’s reputations as one of the best places in the world to think, create and shape the future. We look forward to an exciting opening this fall,” said Julia Ouellette, Chair of the MOCA Board of Directors.

Quick Facts:

  • The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada was originally founded as the Art Gallery of North York in 1993. It became known as the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in 1999 and operated in the West Queen West neighbourhood of Toronto from 2005 to 2015.
  • MOCA is set to move its operations to the historic Tower Automotive Building at 158 Sterling Road in Toronto and plans to open its doors in the fall of 2017.
    The Tower Automotive Building was built in 1919-20 and was, at the time, one of Toronto’s tallest buildings.
  • The $5,100,000 in funding from Canadian Heritage will be used to renovate the first five floors, and half of the basement, of the industrial heritage building.
    The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, launched in 2001, invests in professional not-for-profit arts and heritage organizations for the improvement, renovation and construction of arts and heritage facilities, as well as for the acquisition of specialized equipment and the development of feasibility studies related to cultural infrastructure projects.
  • As of March 31, 2016, the Fund has invested approximately $410 million in 1,381 projects in every province and territory,. The program receives an average of 137 applications each year.
  • As of December 31, 2016, 80 percent of the money allocated in Budget 2016 has been approved for projects. This investment is supporting 157 projects in 96 communities across the country this year.

Photo credits: Jonathan Castellino in BlogTO

See Toronto’s Forgotten Landmarks blog by Jonathan Castellino.

See Canada Cultural Spaces Fund website.

See Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada website.

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