I had a chance to spend a summer volunteering at the Design Exchange in Toronto. I had no idea this was an internationally known non-profit museum dedicated to all forms of design, but what it does best is represent Canadian design to the rest of the world.
From its façade of pink granite and limestone, it is quite common to mistaken the Design Exchange for the Toronto Stock Exchange, because, well, that’s what it says. The building used to be the TSX from 1937 to 1983. Because it was declared a heritage property from its architectural value and historic interest, one of the agreements for the DX to use the building was to preserve that façade. To be honest, I think it’s beautiful, a bit confusing, but definitely worth a look.
There’s a grand staircase inside that leads to the original 10,000 square foot trading floor. There are eight Charles Comfort murals that represent the vitality of Canadian industry at the time. It’s quite overwhelming, but there is definitely A LOT of history here. Actually, the DX has one of the original trading floor podiums still housed in their permanent collection.
Being surrounded by so many creative individuals at the DX that summer was quite enlightening. Whether it be interior, fashion, graphic, or industrial design, you can find it all at the Design Exchange. There are design summer camps for those young minds to sink into, and there are workshops and lectures for those not-so-young minds also. Exhibitions take place on the third floor, along with a resource library on the other side of the building. Arts and design students can take time to use all the resources at the DX, and even take a peek at the permanent collection. And don’t forget the new Design Exchange shop where you can find some of the best Canadian pieces to take home for yourself.
Getting there is easy peasy also. At the corner of Bay and Wellington, you can take the TTC subway, or take the Toronto Underground Path, where all those business types are circulating through the financial buildings. I prefer the Underground Path, ‘cause y’know, I prefer those business types.
For more information see the Design Exchange in Toronto site