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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Besides the Ride for Heart...

Sunday was quite a busy day for me. Besides the Ride of Heart in the morning, I got to see the new Crystal at the ROM in the afternoon. Thanks to being a member, I got a ticket in advance, and when I got there I could just breeze past the huge lineup to get in and walk in the (new) front door. Membership has its privileges.

This was a one week sneak peek for the new building, after which they start putting in the new exhibits for a fall opening. The main entrance is now off of Bloor, not Queen's Park. The new reception area is very white and sterile-looking. Actually, the whole Crystal is like that, which I found a little off-putting compared to the rest of the ROM. That might change once they get the exhibits in. This contrast is at the highest in the atrium that now separates the Crystal from the ROM proper, the old faux-gothic vs. a solid white wall. It looks like something out of an old Doctor Who episode where two spaceships get mashed together and visually is the weakest part of the whole addition.

Once you figure out how to actually get inside the Crystal, which isn't obvious, the new galleries are better. There are two on each level of roughly equal size. There's only supposed to be one vertical wall in the whole Crystal, and I couldn't find it. It's interesting enough, but I keep thinking about how the curators are going to have to use this space. You can't hang things easily on non-vertical wall, and I'm afraid there's going to end up being a lot of dead space. I'm sure there are solutions to it, but the curators are going to have to work a lot harder than usual to make them work, and maybe spend some more money.

One problem with walls angling upwards at 45 degrees is all the little kids who try to run up them. By the time I was there at 4 PM, a lot of these surfaces (dead white remember) were already covered with sneaker prints from such kids. I wonder if they thought of that in the initial design?

So in case it's not clear already, I'm pretty leery about how well this is going to work, and reserve all judgement (except all the judgement above) until the exhibits actually move in. It was always clear that the ROM was putting getting an architectural show-piece ahead of getting really usable space, so I hope it at least gets them that.

And we are supposed to be able to see the dinosaur skeletons from the street when they get moved in, which will be cool.

And in the evening, I attended my friend MK's birthday in Mirvish Village. Not only was this a birthday with a zero at the end (and a "4" in front) but she recently applied for and got a slot in this year's Summerwork's festival for a play. Now she's just got to talk the actors she had in mind into doing it. And do everything else. Still, yay MK!