For years, I’ve wandered the stretch on West Queen West between Dovercourt and Dufferin, wondering what the historic Carnegie Library would become. I’m delighted that it won’t be another condo with an idiotic name. It’s incredibly pleasing that the beautiful building will soon open as The Theatre Centre; it will no doubt become a thriving hub of creative stimulation and a vibrant addition to the neighbourhood.
Although construction hasn’t finished just yet, the rooms filled with arts supporters last weekend for BOUNCE, an informal ball for The Theatre Centre. The inaugural fundraiser raised $130,000 and also acted as a teaser for the excitement that is yet to come. The 11,797 sq. ft. renovation will include a main performance hall, a lobby café, a rehearsal hall, gallery space, green room, green-roofed terrace and office space.
Host Don Mckellar addressed the crowd with a heartfelt message that honoured his deceased wife, Tracy Wright, an actress who would have loved to have seen the centre come to fruition. It was beautiful, touching and honest; a wonderful way to introduce The Theatre Centre.
To everyone’s surprise, Mayor Rob Ford showed up with his wife Renata and children in tow. He made friendly chit-chat with the Parts & Labour Chef who was overseeing a juicy roast on a spit, and posed for Instagram photos.
To our left, troubadours with Mozart-like wigs danced to the sound of a plucked mandolin. While to our right, Rob Ford shuffled through the crowd with accompanying security. Overall, a strange and bizarre scene with an element of dramatic tension foreshadowing the venue’s artistic renaissance.
Underneath enormous red balloons, we danced with masks, ate octopus, sent secret love notes to other guests and left hopeful that the dramatic arts in Toronto would continue to thrive for years to come.