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Toronto museum in Casa Loma proposed

November 28th, 2012 · No Comments

MP and city councillors support proposition

By Andrew Schopp

A new home is needed to showcase Toronto’s history, and Casa Loma may be just the ticket.

“The reason why it is a very good venue is because Casa Loma is recognized as one of the top three tourists attractions in the city of Toronto,” said city councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21 St. Paul’s).

Mihevc said artifacts from Toronto’s aboriginal, colonial, and post confederation periods should be on display in a Toronto museum, rather than collecting dust in an Etobicoke warehouse.

Montreal and Vancouver both have museums celebrating their municipal history, but Canada’s largest city lacks such a venue.

Mihevc and MP Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul’s) agreed that Casa Loma serves as the perfect site for a Toronto museum.

“It is accessible by public transit, it is associated with Toronto and we have facilities there that would require some renovation, but could be used for his purpose,” he said.

Casa Loma sits just north of the border separating Bennett’s St. Paul’s riding and Trinity-Spadina and is just a few blocks from Dupont subway station.

“When you go to the archives and you see what’s there, I always think it’s very exciting but it is not a place that people go,” said Bennett adding, “to move some of those collections over to Casa Loma where people can see them, not only Torontonians but everybody who comes to our city, I think it would just be a huge success,” she said.

City councillor Joe Mihevc and MP Carolyn Bennett (St. Pauls) both agree, Casa Loma serves the perfect site for a Toronto museum.

On Oct. 3,  “Future options for Casa Loma” was on council’s agenda. City councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22 St. Paul’s) presented a motion stating that all respondents to the REOI (Requests For Expressions of Interest), “consider the feasibility of including the Museum of Toronto in their submission.”

The motion passed with only nine opposing votes, one of which was Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

While the city is seeking a future operator for the historic site, Bennett said a Toronto museum in Casa Loma could generate enough revenue to prevent the sale of the castle, and protect the historic site from becoming a gaudy hotel or casino.

“I think that from school groups to tourism that in destination travel obviously people want to come and learn something and I think that it is not only the building but what’s inside and we have a tremendous opportunity,” she said.

After hearing responses to the REOI, council will move forward.

“Right now we are going to send out a request for expressions of interest saying yes this could be done, seeing what ideas have come out there. At the same time we are doing a request for proposals, which is a much more detailed document for people who want to use the main building for tourism and event promotion,” said Mihevc.

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