Accolade task was to create an ‘arts precinct’

Say what you like about York’s Keele campus, it’s a whole lot better than it used to be, wrote the Toronto Star’s Christopher Hume (BA ’74) in his Dec. 8 “Details” column. The latest step in the evolution of York is Accolade, an $85 million arts training facility. Designed by the Zeidler Partnership, it is a place of great beginnings and rough finishes. Though no one could accuse the new complex of being overly elegant or polished, it is an eloquent essay in how to make a little go a long way. It will also be a state-of-the-art training centre for students of theatre, dance, drama and music. Located directly west of the Schulich Business School, one of the two or three most outstanding pieces of architecture on campus, Accolade fills in one of the last gaps on the Common, the large green space that now forms the heart of the University. 

For Phillip Silver, the affable dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, the task was to create an “arts precinct” within the campus. “We will be able to bring all the arts departments into one zone,” Silver explained. “This is important because the arts are becoming more integrated.” Divided into two separate buildings, Accolade East and West, the new buildings include numerous studios, classrooms, practice rooms as well as a theatre and recital hall, both with 325 seats. These are intimate spaces, small and restricted, but fully equipped and technologically advanced. For students, they will make a huge difference; plus there’s the opportunity for these venues to become centres of York cultural life, although they won’t open until March 2006.

Paul Roazen: father of meta-psychotherapy

Of the many accomplishments that could be attributed to York professor Paul Roazen, perhaps the most lasting may be that he created a field of study that had never existed – meta-psychotherapy, suggested The Globe and Mail’s Stephen Strauss in an obituary of the scholar who died Nov. 3. Over the course of a long and extraordinarily productive career, the teacher of social and political science deconstructed the many different relationships that existed within the world of psychotherapy, particularly those that wove in and around its iconic founder, Sigmund Freud. “He was not involved in psychotherapy itself, but he was involved in the analysis of psychoanalysis,” said Cyril Greenland, a former professor of social work at McMaster University and a friend of Roazen. The Harvard-educated Roazen taught social and political science at York from 1971 to 1995.

Canada’s reluctant film mogul

Few executives have commanded a position of power on par with Cineplex Entertainment president and CEO Ellis Jacob, Playback‘s 2005 Person of the Year, reported the movie magazine Dec. 5. His company’s surprising $500-million midsummer acquisition of its larger rival, the Viacom-owned Famous Players, has vaulted the Onex-owned exhibition house into rarefied territory. The dust has yet to settle on the deal, so it’s hard to say what kind of impact the monopoly will have on the Canadian motion picture industry. One thing is for certain – Ellis Jacob may be the most reluctant and unassuming film mogul in history. When he immigrated to Canada from India in 1969, his passion wasn’t film, but numbers. He completed his bachelor of commerce degree at McGill, and then an MBA in 1976 at York University, and worked his way up to VP finance at communications firm Motorola. After Motorola COO Harold Kramer left for the CFO job at Cineplex, he suggested Jacob join him as VP finance.

Canadian schools balk at converting to global basketball rules

Canada Basketball is facing stiff opposition to it’s bold Be One program, reported the Hamilton Spectator Dec. 8.The national hoops body wants to convert all levels of the game to international rules and collect a $20 membership fee from players as part of a plan to return Canada to global glory. At both the grassroots level and highest echelon, the university and college realms, coaches and administrators are resisting a quick buy-in to Be One. York basketball coach Bob Bain says Be One is in for a rough ride because of Canada Basketball’s arrogance in imposing it rather than trying for consensus.

Student runs for Greens in Brant

Adam King has set himself a personal goal as Brant’s Green candidate: keep building the party’s standing, reported The Expositor in Brantford Dec. 8. “We have to show Canadians that we have a wide-ranging, balanced platform and that we’re not just a single-issue party,” said the 23-year-old political science student, who is in his graduating year at York’s bilingual Glendon campus.

Abstract artist wins $25,000 travel grant

Montreal painter and York student Jennifer Lefort has won the $25,000 Joseph Plaskett Foundation Award, reported Dec. 7 and The Globe and Mail Dec. 8. Lefort, an abstract painter who is studying for a master’s of fine arts degree at York, is considered an emerging Canadian artist. She is a graduate of Concordia’s fine arts program, and her work can be found in the collections of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and Abbott Laboratories. For Lefort, the travel grant will mean stops in Paris and Berlin, as well as a prolonged stay in London.

On air

  • Alan Young, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed Karla Homolka and her rights following a Quebec court decision to remove restrictions on her movements, on TVO’s “Studio 2” Dec. 7 and on CBC Radio One’s “Metro Morning” Dec. 8.
  • Shamini Selvaratnam, vice-president of the York Federation of Students and a fourth-year sociology student, took part in a panel discussion on voter apathy among Canadian youth on CTV’s national “Live With Mike Duffy” Dec. 7.