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ANNEX: Museum Subway back on track



TTC riders wait to board the subway at Museum station where several new columns, such as the one on the left, were unveiled April 8 to reflect the historic treasures in the newly-renovated Royal Ontario Museum and Gardiner Museum. This column is a replica of one of four such columns located atop a temple in Central Mexico during the Toltec period which ran from 900 to 1150 AD.

April 10, 2008 11:29 AM

If the name of the subway station wasn’t enough to indicate to riders what lay at street level, the new renovations at Museum subway station will make it near impossible for them to miss the cultural landmarks above ground.

Stepping onto the Museum subway platform is like stepping into the Royal Ontario Museum itself, as the support beam covers, designed of glass fibre-reinforced cement, pay tribute to the various collections of artifacts in the building. For added drama, the beams are lit individually, placing emphasis on their architectural design.

“We are particularly pleased to be a part of this P3, Public, Partnership Philanthropy,” said Toronto Community Foundation president Rahul Bhardwaj. He added the project “captures the rich vitality of culture above ground and brings it below.”

Dubbed Arts on Track, the project brought to the table partners from the private sector, as well as the provincial and municipal governments.

The Toronto Community Foundation oversaw the entire project, bringing together the philanthropists who made the event happen, including the Budd Sugarman Foundation which was the lead donor at $1 million. The total cost of the renovation project was $5 million with $2 million coming from the province, and the Toronto Transit Commission funded a further $1.25 million.

Mayor David Miller declared the newly rejuvenated platform “absolutely magnificent.”

“This is a vision that says we can use private philanthropy to make beautiful public spaces,” said Miller. “Today, Museum subway stop becomes a public space like no other.”

Aileen Carroll, Minister of Culture for the province, said the project turns an everyday activity for subway riders “into a cultural experience.”

Created by Toronto architect Jack Diamond of Diamond and Schmitt Architects, the designs are the result of consultation with ROM staff and curators.

There are five models of columns.

The Bear House Post is reproduced in its entirety from a ROM artifact that once held up roof beams in Native homes of Canada’s Northwest Coast.

The Osiris Pilaster, resembling an Egyptian Sarcophagus, represents the Egyptian god of life, death and fertility. The Toltec Warrior, copies warrior columns found in Mexico, dating 900 A.D.

The Chinese Columns are created in a similar style to the Forbidden City in Shenyang Province. Further enhancing the platform is the word Museum in large letters, on the track wall. Inside the letters are hieroglyphs that are reproduced from the tomb of an ancient Egyptian nobleman.

According to TTC chair Adam Giambrone, the renovations are just part of the future upgrades to the station. An additional entrance to the subway station is next on the agenda.