A landmark gift to the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Science from Toronto businessman W. Bernard Herman (BA 1931) will help pave the way for the restoration of One Spadina Crescent, a heritage building that will serve as home to an integrated Department of Fine Art.
Herman’s $1-million gift will restore the three-storey building’s elegant entrance and grand staircase to create the Sharon and Bernard Herman Lobby. “People give money to the poor, the sick and the aged to satisfy their conscience,” says Herman. “A person gives to the Faculty of Arts and Science to satisfy his or her intellect.”
Erected in 1875 on one of the city’s only circular lots, One Spadina was the first site of Knox College’s Presbyterian Theological School. Over the last century, the building has served as a convalescent hospital for soldiers returning from the First World War, and as headquarters for the pioneering Connaught Medical Research Laboratories, which helped develop the polio vaccine. Now artists and art students are finding inspiration in its intriguingly storied walls.
Professor Pekka Sinervo, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, says Herman’s gift is a crucial first step toward turning a noted heritage building into a state-of-the art academic facility. “Mr. Herman has made an important contribution toward preserving the city’s architectural past and securing a dynamic future for the arts at U of T,” says Sinervo. “One Spadina will be not only a prominent southwestern gateway to the university, but a bridge between the academy and the vibrant artistic, commercial and residential communities it borders.”