Saturday, May 21, 2011

home for a rest

At the information session I attended at Cantos Music Foundation yesterday (free lunch!), I learned the details of the plans that are underway for the establishment of a National Music Centre on site in the historic King Edward Hotel.

The King Eddy, a once vibrant home of the blues in this town and former haunt of longtime premier Ralph Klein, has been boarded up for a couple of years now. Located on the east end of downtown, the King Eddy is one of the far too many boarded up buildings in the area, giving those few blocks a strangely neglected feel. Just a few blocks removed from the glass and steel towers and the trendy restaurants and shops of downtown proper, the area that is destined to become the East Village feels a world removed from the prosperity a stone's throw away.

Incorporating the King Edward Hotel into the new National Music Centre will not only give a permanent home to the artifacts of Canada's musical history, but it will also breathe new life into the area. The National Music Centre will house, among other things, twelve artist in residence studios, recording studios, a 300 seat concert hall, a radio station, education spaces, and 21,500 square feet of gallery space. In addition to a restored King Eddy, the NMC will incorporate an east block, across the street and joined by a bridge that will feature indoor and outdoor installation space.

There will also be a rooftop patio.

It all adds up to a pretty sweet sounding deal, not only for Calgary, but for the whole country. Because our music needs a home.


Allison said...

I wish my city would put a greater emphasis on projects like this. They've put off building a new museum for nearly 10 years because they don't want to have to pay to staff it. By the time they agree to build it, new plans, etc will have to be drawn up as the data won't be usable.

I hope that doesn't happen with the music centre there - looks like a lovely space.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I've noticed that your city really does drag its feet when it comes to its public buildings, Al, and, as you alluded to, it's so short-sighted. Such a shame.
I don't think there will be any similar issue here; Cantos already has a majority of funding from three levels of government. This is going to happen.