Royal Ontario Museum Receives Largest Ever Donation of $50 Million

A visitor views the pieces on display at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of China at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto on July 23, 2020.Tijana Martin/The Globe and Mail

The Royal Ontario Museum announced Thursday that it had received its largest-ever pledge of $50 million from the Hennick Family Foundation, which the Toronto Museum director says would be used to strengthen the institution’s commitment to inclusion and accessibility.

The Hennick family’s pledge — led by Canadian billionaire businessman Jay Hennick — comes on the heels of the ROM that launched its “We Live On In What We Leave” campaign earlier this month, which aims to modernize the museum. .

“We can think of no better way to support the revitalization of public life in Toronto and Ontario than to support the new vision of the Royal Ontario Museum, which promises iconic spaces and the way we experience art, culture and nature for the coming years. generations, Jay and Barbara Hennick said in a press release.

The ROM must remember what it is about

Josh Basseches, director and chief executive officer of ROM, said in an interview that the exact details of what the money would be used for would be known this fall, but emphasized that the Hennick family and the ROM share a vision to make the museum accessible. make for everyone.

“That idea of ​​throwing the doors wide, removing barriers to entry, to make this a place that – whether you were born here or a new Canadian – that you want to come see what we do and it feel it is relevant to your life,’ said Mr Basseches. “That’s what they were really excited about.”

While unable to go into details, Mr Basseches pointed to ROM’s recently announced Free Main Floor summer initiative, which has made entry to the entire ground floor of the museum free until September 25, as an example of what the museum tries to achieve using the Hennick promise.

Mr Basseches also said the promise would have an architectural component. He pointed to the reopening of the museum in Queen’s Park in 2017 and the construction of the Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace and Reed Family Plaza on Bloor Street in 2019 as examples of the potential magnitude of the expected changes.

In 2019, Mr. Basseches told The Globe that future plans for the ROM include renovation of the museum’s theater, the construction of a new street-level restaurant, and a new event and programming space.

The ultimate goal, Mr Basseches said, is to turn the ground floor of the ROM both “physically and programmatically into the living room of Toronto.”

The Royal Ontario Museum was founded in 1914. Its last major expansion took place nearly two decades ago with Renaissance ROM, which included architect Daniel Libeskind’s imposing Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. The museum raised $416 million from Renaissance ROM, which paid for the architectural changes and donations.

Jay and Barbara Hennick’s foundation has funded initiatives including the Hennick Family Wellness Center at Mount Sinai Hospital; the Hennick Center of Business and Law at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business at York University; and the Jay Hennick JD – MBA program at the University of Ottawa.

Mr. Hennick is the founder and chairman of FirstService Corp., as well as the chairman and chief executive of Colliers International Group Inc.

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