Princess of Wales Theatre to be torn down for condos, art complex
09/30/2012 | Marcia Chen, CityNews.ca
One of the city’s preeminent impresarios says he plans to tear down the Princess of Wales Theatre and build a complex which would include three condo towers, an art gallery and a new campus for OCAD University.
In a letter to the media, David Mirvish said the project — a collaboration with architect-superstar Frank Gehry — would include the residential space, a free public gallery called the Mirvish Collection, the OCAD grounds and planted terraces.
All of the buildings on the block-and-a-half west of the Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street over to John Street will be demolished.
“If there were a way of completing this project without removing the Princess of Wales Theatre, we would have followed it,” Mirvish said. “But … I decided not giving Gehry a full canvas on which to work would have meant compromises that would have lessened the power of the project.
“This wasn’t an easy decision … I lavished an enormous amount of energy, creativity and money to build the Princess of Wales Theatre. It is a beautiful facility of which I am very proud, but it happens to be situated in the middle of the new project’s path.”
The plan includes a memorial to the Princess of Wales Theatre and its namesake, the late Princess Diana.
“The neighbourhood has grown up, just as Toronto has,” Mirvish said. “I believe after almost 50 years of custodianship of these two blocks of urban space, now is the time to take a bold step into the future while preserving the flavour and strengths of our heritage.”
Mirvish — who also owns the Royal Alex, the Ed Mirvish Theatre and the Panasonic Theatre — said he would consider building a new theatre if needed.
The project is expected to take three to seven years to complete.
On Monday, Mirvish and Gehry will unveil the concept at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which Gehry redesigned.
In case you're wondering why I'm rather upset, Frank Gehry is the maroon who did this to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Did I mention the building leaks? Yes, that too.