- 1905 - 1914
March 19, 1914 is ROM's official opening day.
There were 20 staff members. Hours were 10 am to 5:00 pm. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays were free admission; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays cost 15c. The day’s events included both a luncheon and a dinner at the York Club nearby, with the official ceremonies at 3:00. The Duke of Connaught, Governor General, was given a private tour and presented with an illuminated address which shows some of the highlights of the collections. Other distinguished guests included directors of major American museums, as well as the movers and shakers of Toronto.
We know that there was a great deal of interest. In the first few days, 7345 visitors came through the turnstyles. Sir Edmund wrote that the value of the donations received was $564,850. Six months later, the finances of the museum were in crisis. The trustees ordered that there could be no acquisitions unless the money was already in hand or they were offered as exchanges by other institutions. Attendance picked up as Toronto became a leave centre for troops.
This is the date that the centennial will celebrate. Visitors had been admitted previously, but without fanfare.