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Art Gallery of Ontario announces donor and architect for Grange Park revitalization project

TORONTO — The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is pleased to announce that W. Galen Weston, Chairman and President of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, has committed financial support to help restore and revitalize Grange Park, located in the heart of downtown Toronto.

This commitment provides a catalyst for the AGO to collaborate with the City of Toronto and the local community to develop a design that will make Grange Park green, beautiful, resilient, sustainable and accessible. The AGO is working with the City to finalize the terms of its contribution to the project.

Grange Park is an integral part of the AGO’s history and Toronto’s heritage. While this two-hectare green space is the AGO’s property, it has been operated as a public park since 1911 through an agreement established between the Gallery and the City.

“Grange Park has a cherished place in my family’s history. It is just steps away from the original Weston Bakery where my grandfather lived and worked both baking and delivering the bread. While the neighbourhood has changed, the park has been a constant over all these years. I am delighted that this support will ensure its beauty can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said W. Galen Weston.

“Grange Park has a remarkable potential to be transformed into a welcoming and versatile park that serves its diverse local community and reflects its history and neighbourhood,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Director and CEO of the AGO. “As a longtime supporter of the AGO, Galen Weston has once again chosen to invest in the Gallery and our community. This project will allow us to contribute to the beauty and vitality of our great city of Toronto.”

Mr. Weston’s financial commitment has allowed the AGO to commence initial planning with landscape architect Greg Smallenberg of Vancouver firm PFS Studio, an award-winning Canadian planning, urban design and landscape architecture firm.

Further details about the Grange Park revitalization project, including scope, budget and schedule, will be announced as they become available.

ABOUT GRANGE PARK
Grange Park, a two-hectare green space in downtown Toronto, was originally part of the Grange estate built in 1820 by the Boulton family, who played an influential role in developing the young city of Toronto. In 1910, Harriet Boulton Smith bequeathed The Grange house and estate to the newly founded Art Gallery of Toronto for the purposes of building an art museum on the property. In 1911, the Gallery entered into an agreement with the City of Toronto to operate the land south of Grange House as a public park. This agreement still stands between the AGO and the City, and Grange Park has become a well-loved and well-used gathering place.

ABOUT PFS STUDIO
PFS Studio is a leading Canadian planning, urban design and landscape architecture firm offering consulting services nationally and internationally. The firm has been in practice for over two decades and has a professional staff of over 35. Its award-winning portfolio demonstrates success on a wide range of projects, many of which have faced a high degree of complexity in terms of process and approval. PFS Studio continually undertakes many of the most high-profile projects in Canada and abroad. Its practice operates from a Vancouver office, and the firm is proud of its contributions to that city's successful reputation as one of the most livable on the globe. At the same time, it is also comfortable and capable of working on projects throughout the world, proving this time and again through successfully delivered projects.

ABOUT THE AGO
With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit ago.net to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

The Art Gallery of Ontario receives additional operating support from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.

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For press inquiries, please contact:

Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364, caitlin_coull@ago.net

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