Floor plan of the new TIFF Bell Lightbox. ledevoir.com

On Sunday, September 12, the ribbon was officially cut at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, inaugurating one of Toronto’s most recent and impressive architectural undertakings in the city’s downtown core.

Located at the corner of King and John Streets, the Bell Lightbox marks the Toronto International Film Festival’s relocation to the heart of the Entertainment District. It will be TIFF’s first permanent headquarters after more than 30 years of reshuffling to and from various locations around the city (most recently, the offices were tucked away at 2 Carlton Street). One thing is certain about the Lightbox—it will be impossible not to notice it.

Including five cinemas, two galleries, and several learning studios, it shoots up five floors and encompasses the entire block known as Reitman Square (on behalf of the Reitman family, who donated the land). The pristine glass structure will be open to the public year-round and will offer film screenings, lectures, discussions, exhibitions, and concerts to visitors. With over a day’s worth of activities to explore, one might get a
little famished in the process and be lured into the beautiful restaurant, bistro, or lounge, in which the hungry and tired can reenergize before diving back into the cinematically-inspired wonderland. One of the most highly anticipated exhibitions is the upcoming Tim Burton show in November, which will feature a collection of the director’s drawings, sculptures, maquettes, and videos, which are currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Another of the Lightbox’s carefully curated events is Essential Cinema, a collection of 100 of the most “essential” films to watch, according to polls of critics, film-goers and TIFF members.

In honour of the completed structure, which was over 10 years in the making, TIFF organizers threw a block party celebration yesterday with musical guests K’naan and Fefe Dobson playing for hundreds of people in the streets. From enthusiastic moviegoers to excited families to mere passersby, the building’s presence inspired awe in all those who looked upon it, and will surely continue to do so for many cinematically-charged decades to come.