Opening soon: a peek inside the Bell Lightbox, TIFF’s new home

Opening soon: a peek inside the Bell Lightbox, TIFF’s new home

The Lightbox lobby. Now picture it filled with celebs (Image: Karon Liu)

With less than two months to the Bell Lightbox’s grand unveiling, we put on our hard hats and rubber boots Friday to see how far TIFF’s new home has come since we last saw it a year ago.

Noah Cowan, the Lightbox’s artistic director and former TIFF co-director, guided us through the main entrance at King and John, where celebrities will walk down a black granite path (it will serve as the red carpet area) with enough space for media lines on either side. To the right of the entrance will be a shop stocked with all things-film related (“not unlike a museum gift shop,” says Cowan) and to the left will be a casual marketplace-style restaurant from Oliver and Bonacini.

See inside the Bell Lightbox in our photo slide show »

One of the focal points of the main lobby is a giant orange box floating a few floors above—it’s the Master Control are where the building’s screens will be managed. On the far left of the entrance is the main gallery space. It’s a simple, 3,000 square-foot room with lots of track lighting to accommodate diverse exhibits—like the much-hyped Tim Burton retrospective that opens in November. Burton is also working on a Christmas-themed installation for the building that will be visible from the street.

The second floor houses the main cinemas (the largest of the five seats 549) and Oliver and Bonacini’s still-unnamed restaurant, which Cowan describes as somewhere between Jump and Canoe. From the outside, it looks like it still needs a lot of work, but the company’s blog has been posting photos of menu tastings and interior photos.

On the third floor, the learning centre has classrooms and meeting rooms for castings, editing and script readings. Two smaller theatres are also on this floor, one with retractable seats for filmmakers to play around in and the other for TIFF’s year-long film series, Cinematheque. The fourth floor is devoted to Canadian cinema with a reference library (it is scheduled to open on Oct. 25) and the Canadian Film Gallery, which will highlight the best of Canadiana, starting with The Rob Brooks Mary Pickford Collection.

To see more of the Lightbox, view our slide show >>

Burton, Pickford And The Essential 100 To Kick Off Bell Lightbox Programme [TIFF]
• Goodbye, Yorkville, our old friend: A peek inside TIFF’s skeletal new home, the Bell Lightbox [Toronto Life]
New Maddin, Egoyan works open Bell Lightbox [CBC]