- Main Attraction
When was the last time you went to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)? Was it in the past year? Was it the past few years? Or have you not been there since your last middle/high school trip took you to the museum as a class field trip? Don’t be ashamed of your answer. I, personally, made my last visit a few years ago. The ROM is probably not on the top of everyone’s to-visit list, especially on a Friday night. Lo and behold, this “not so cool”, seemingly traditional and classy institution, located in the heart of Yorkville at Avenue and Bloor, recently opened up its doors to become a Friday night party spot.
100 Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON, M5S 2C6
Sorry, what just happened, you ask? That’s right. You now have the opportunity to drink and dance amongst the dinosaurs and Buddha sculptures. I don’t know who came up with this genius idea, but I love it. And clearly, a lot of other people do as well. Lineups snaked around the ROM perimeters the night I attended. The Friday Night Live program started in the spring of 2012 and has garnered a lot of attention. The fall instalment began on October 12 and ends on the last Friday of November. Every week, there is a different theme and the space is transformed to emulate the specific theme. The night I attended, the theme was Fashion. Other than a slightly glitzier crowd (some girls were in fully sequenced/sparkle dresses), the main floor had huge projections of fashion videos, mainly fashion television clips. The main floor was transformed into a huge dance floor with a DJ spinning right next to the dinosaur fossils. Local street food vendors spread across the four corners of the room, as well as some areas on the second floor. They’re the usual suspects you’d expect to find–Fidel Gastro, Hawker bar, Rock Lobster, and Gourmet Gringos. The bars were also scattered around the whole venue, each with pretty long lines. There was also a Dino bar on the second floor, which allowed you to cheers to your favourite T-Rex. Seriously, how awesome is that (!). A little tip: go buy your ROM bucks as soon as you get in. To facilitate purchases, the ROM introduced ROM bucks, which totally reminded me of monopoly money. $1 ROM bucks = $1 and you’d use the ROM currency to buy drinks/food.
I had the chance to meet Matt of Rock Lobster and he told me some exciting news about a store opening in December in the Ossington area. Unfortunately, by the time I wiggled through the lines, they had already sold out of their food. Good things run out fast! Similarly, I also met Matt of Fidel Gastro, whose monstrous line up also meant that I missed out on their signature pulled pork sandwich by the time I reached the event. Thank goodness I already had my first taste at TUM last month.
As the night progressed, more peopled gathered on the main floor, jiving to the beats the DJ was dropping. It really is a spectacle to see so many people partying at the museum and having a good time. There was a lot of picture taking and a lot of insta-tweeting. Thanks to the hashtag #FNLROM, all tweets with that hashtag were broadcasted onto the walls via projectors. The high energy in the room was unmistakable. My friends and I definitely made reference to “Night At The Museum” a few times that night.
An unconventional venue and an unexpected crowd, somehow, work. This is such a creative way to get the younger generation to explore traditional monuments of the city, which they likely wouldn’t have otherwise. The move is mirrored after several other well-known museums, such as the MoMA in New York City, which is a forefront in being a top venue choice for hosting various types of events, attracting different demographics of the city. It’s a smart move to stay relevant, and quite honestly, necessary. There will only be so many ROM members and others who pay regular visits, often requires shelling out >$20 to get in. The new model, with entrance fee being only $10 (students/seniors $9, members free) and drinks/food not exceeding $6 each, makes going to the museum more affordable and attractive. Another big contributor to this program’s success is, for sure, all the social media exposure and buzz used to their advantage. Job well done, ROM! You have successfully convinced me that I need to come back to Friday Night Live again, and judging from my friends’ evaluation of the night, I’m sure they will too. If you have not yet been, I highly recommend it. I mean, who doesn’t want to drink and dance with dinosaurs?
Dates: Fall season is every Friday until November 30
Time: Doors open at 7pm, last entry at 10:30pm, last call is 11pm
Cost: Adults age 19+ with valid photo ID
$10 cover. $9 students/seniors. Members Free.