The Royal Conservatory of Music at Last!


            We’ve all experienced (and are still experiencing) what it’s like to go to school and have classes while a building is under construction. For the past four years, the Royal Conservatory of Music has been renovating its building on Bloor St. W. It’s adding a new rehearsal hall, the Koerner concert hall (which seats 1,140 people), and new wing of studios. I’m happy to announce, that the days of having classes in rooms that may or may not be filled with asbestos, listening to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” while learning about dominant 7th chords, and practising in studios that aren’t soundproof are finally over! On September 8th, 2008, Toronto’s musical community was invited to the Royal Conservatory of Music’s open house. The massive building is a stunning work of architecture and design, albeit a little confusing. Okay, it’s very confusing. To save you all from the hard work of wandering the halls of the RCM for 22 hours while you explore, practice, or simply just take pictures, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a series of tips and tricks to aid you in your exploration of one of Toronto’s newest landmarks.

            Upon entering the building from the East entrance through Philosopher’s Walk, be sure to check out the brick walls of the original building… and maybe even yell in the atrium while you’re there (make sure there isn’t anybody there because the security guard might get angry at you.

            Although our beloved Henry’s Café is no longer present in the RCM’s building, rumour has it that a Starbucks will be moving in soon! So be sure to bring your Starbucks mug with you to the RCM!

            With seven floors of studios and classrooms (five floors plus a ground floor and a basement “concourse” floor) that’s a lot of stairs to trek up, especially if you’re carrying multiple heavy instruments, so use the elevator whenever you can! It is located on the West side of the building in the new wing. Be warned, however, that the elevator makes a weird whistling sound... and a scary lady’s voice greets you upon entering and exiting!

            Arrive early in order to ensure that you’ll get a practice room. You can get keys to rooms from the service desk on the first floor… with a fee, of course.

            Be sure to check out the sleek new washrooms on the ground floor and the UNISEX bathroom on the 2nd floor! Complete with white sinks, and a lot of glass.

            Other bathrooms (some which are wheelchair accessible) are located on every floor except for the ground floor near the elevator.

            While on the 4th floor you can touch the roof’s shingles as they are exposed… there’s also a neat little window that looks into a classroom so that you can spy on your friends while they’re in class!

            Also located on the 4th floor in the new wing is a door that leads out onto the glass roof beside the unfinished Koerner Hall. Unfortunately, when I tried the door it was locked, so better luck next time!

            For a nice place to hang out during your down time, check out the leather couches on the first floor (near the service desk), the tables and chairs in the atrium, or the corner nook with built-in benches near the Philosopher’s Walk entrance.

            I hope this has been helpful, and I encourage all of you to check out the new RCM building!