Some big changes are coming to the Royal Ontario Museum!

The museum announced Wednesday that it will undergo three years of construction, stating the project will introduce “a sweeping architectural transformation of the core of the museum and a newly designed Bloor Street entrance.” The project will even feature a four-storey sunlit atrium. The best part? The new additions will be free for visitors to enjoy.

Here’s what we know about the changes coming to the ROM in Toronto.

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According to the ROM, “the reimagined main floor will feature a soaring atrium, more gallery space, and year-round programming and live performances – free for everyone to enjoy,” and will be named OpenROM.

Work is scheduled to start as soon as this month, running from February 2024 until 2027. During that time, the ROM says the museum will remain open to visitors.

What to expect

OpenROM is set to build “on the iconic architecture of the Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal,” according to the ROM.  Renowned Canadian firm Hariri Pontarini Architects is going to lead the design of the initiative, which includes:

  • A newly designed Bloor Street entrance, sheltered by an expansive canopy and featuring a floor-to-ceiling glass entryway with direct sightlines into and out of the building
  • A showcase water feature that will wrap around the heritage façade and evolve with the seasons, transforming from burbling water in the summer to cracked ice in the winter
  • A bright and spacious foyer, filled with artworks, objects, and specimens
  • The Hennick Commons, a new four-storey sunlit atrium topped with a high-performance diagrid glass ceiling and featuring a 2,400 square foot forum, where visitors can gather and enjoy performances and programming ranging from live music to hands-on learning
  • A stunning multi-level lily pad staircase adjacent to the forum, which will offer three accessible overlook platforms, knitting together old and new wings to improve movement throughout the building
  • 6,000 additional feet of new gallery space on the second and third levels, allowing visitors to experience more of ROM’s world-class collections

“OpenROM is more than a physical transformation; it is a major leap forward in the museum’s ongoing evolution to becoming an even more welcoming and accessible space,” said Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO.

“This is an opportunity to truly throw the doors of the museum open, both literally and figuratively, and invite more people in to experience all ROM has to offer.”

According to the ROM, the project is being kicked off by a $50-million donation from the Hennick Family Foundation—the largest cash gift in ROM’s history.

Big changes are coming to the ROM, Toronto!


When: Construction from February 2024 – 2027
Where: Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park
Cost: Free to the public