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The Bubble on Bloor

Welcome to the latest addition to the area around Bloor and Avenue Road, the focal point of Toronto's recent cultural building spree. There's the revamped Gardiner Museum, the crystalline renovation of the ROM, the dramatically expanded Royal Conservatory -- and next to that, an inflatable dome that houses a driving range.

Is something out of place here? "A bubble dome on Bloor Street is a strange thing," says local architect Kim Storey, whose firm designed Dundas Square. "You usually associate those things with industrial sites or suburban sites."

"Aesthetically speaking, it's a mild disappointment," adds Joshua Cramer, a U of T law student who was walking past the dome after class this week. "I can't escape the image of us putting up this massive igloo on the campus."

Built in Guelph, the dome is the second-largest in Canada, according to its manufacturers, which has just installed a similar dome at Harvard. Measuring 107 metres long by 64 metres wide, it's held aloft by air compressors.

And to Bruce Kidd, the dean of U of T's faculty of physical education and health, it's a beautiful thing. "I'm proud of the fact that in a cultural precinct, alongside ceramics and history and music, sport continues to have its place as one of the most important parts of culture in the 21st century," he says.

But how did it get there?

January 27, 2007 in Toronto Neighbourhoods | Permalink

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