Since first opening its doors in 1970, Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts has played host to diverse cultural performances. However, after its 50-year tenure, City Council has voted to replace the ageing structure.
On Wednesday, city council voted to replace the performance centre, which is currently housed at 27 Front Street East, opposite Berczy Park, as per recommendations from TO Live, the city agency that manages and operates the venue.
“Despite its remarkable history and its outstanding location, the STLC has some very real issues,” reads a report from TO Live submitted to the City of Toronto.
“While some past renovations have been a temporary fix in keeping the building in a state of good repair, its performance spaces are outdated and inflexible, the public spaces are extremely limited, and the building has not kept current with industry-wide standards for performing arts companies – accessible facilities that are flexible, adaptable, and configurable.”
According to the document, the current centre would have required an estimated $42 million in repairs just to bring it up to the current municipal code.
Now, with council’s nod of approval, the current building will be replaced with a new version that will be a “state-of-the-art cultural and civic hub” for the city’s creative communities—particularly not-for-profit performing arts organizations.
According to TO Live, the revamped space could include between 750-5,000 flex seating, three rehearsal halls, and a revamped public space with a lobby area that connects to nearby outdoor spaces like Berczy Park. The envisioned state-of-the-art project is estimated to cost between $180 and $200 million.
According to the city, moving ahead with this project is now subject to the completion of several steps, including consultations, and a funding plan.