Happy Belated Birthday to The Royal Ontario Museum
Oh how dumb am I! It has become a second nature to me to post on Thursday that when I queued this post up I scheduled it for today instead of yesterday. However, if you know me I am always late in saying my Happy Birthday’s so perhaps this just suits my personality.
Yesterday our beloved Royal Ontario Museum turned 100 years old. Now I have visited the ROM on multiple occasions whether it be school trips, dates or to see exhibits. I have even ingested some alcohol and had a dance battle in the ROM. Yes you read that correctly, I had dance battle in the ROM! It was during their Friday Night Live event, which I will post about once the spring session commences. However, I digress as usual. Today the building occupies 74,000 square metres, hosts 40 galleries and over 6 million artifacts, but back in 1914 the ROM was just the western portion.
At 3:00 p.m. on March 19, 1914 the building officially opened and was graced by royalty. The Duke of Connaught, who was Queen Victoria’s third son, was there as the museum opened its doors to the public for the very first time. With only 20 staff, compared to the over 300 today, the ROM was built by Frank Darling and John A. Pearson, who are responsible for a number of buildings in Toronto, most of them my favourite. Darling and Pearson were responsible for the original structure built in 1914 which is now known as the west wing.
Over the century the building has seen a number of new expansions, the first being in 1933 when two new sections were added to the museum. This included the east wing and a connection between east and west. The east entrance has always been my favourite. The Rotunda, which was once the entrance to the museum, is my top place to get married in the city. The mosaic ceiling is stunning and the colours are just perfect. The two lions outside the original entrance were always my favourite things to see before going in. In fact, and this is something I learned today, the two lions were carved in China in the 17th century, hence why they are probably always covered up in the winter. In 1979 the museum closed for almost three years as it built the southern portion.
The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal is the latest addition to the museum. The somewhat controversial piece of architecture is awed by the city’s tourists and questioned by Torontonians. In that time the Renaissance ROM expansion occurred at a price of $416 million opening new gallery space.
It should also be noted that The ROM also own the McLaughlin Planetarium which has sat vacant since 1995. The building is currently used a storage facility, but was sold to the University of Toronto. On that note, one cannot make mention of the ROM without mentioning of U of T. When the ROM first opened it was originally a venture between the province of Ontario and the University of Toronto. The university left the venture in 1968.
From the Rotunda to the Bat Cave and even the statue of Timothy Eaton, what isn’t to love about the ROM.