Midweek Modness: The McDonald Block

An example of art at the McDonald Block

If you want to travel back in time to the 1960s, you must visit The McDonald Block. As the population grew, the Ontario government started to outgrow its headquarters at Queen’s Park. The decade between 1950 and 1960 saw an 120% increase the Ontario Public Service. So the government set forth plans to build a new complex, known as the McDonald Block. Because it was a heady, optimistic time, the public viewed art and design as something to be proud of, and the buildings were outfitted with all kinds of cool examples of modern art.

Plastic and metal sculpture by Geral Gladstone

Plastic and metal sculpture by Gerald Gladstone, 1968

The public is still free to roam the main floors of the buildings and visit the permanent collection. The complex is also home of the John B. Aird Gallery. And there are also works by famous folks like A.J. Casson, Jack Bush, Harold Town, E.B. Cox, York Wilson, and Paulosie Kanayook. But I like to look at the site-specific pieces like the stained glass windows or the bright and colourful mixed media works, like the piece by fibre artist Micheline Beauchemin shown below.

Micheleine Beauchemin wall hanging,  McDonald Block

Detail, Micheleine Beauchemin wall hanging, 1968