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Westons donate $20-million to ROM Add to ...

Canada's second wealthiest family helped the Royal Ontario Museum celebrate its 90th birthday in fine style Thursday.

Galen Weston and his family, who control the Loblaw grocery store chain and other food processing companies, announced a $20-million donation toward the museum's $200-million expansion and renovation called Renaissance ROM.

The Weston family's contribution puts the campaign's current total to $150-million -- $90-million in private sector donations and $60-million in combined federal and provincial funding.

"We are extremely grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Weston and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation for this generous gift, which will allow the ROM to significantly extend its educational and multicultural mission," ROM director and CEO William Thorsell said in a statement.

"The Westons have long been one of Canada's leading philanthropic and business families and great supporters of the ROM. Together with the relocation of the Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall to the Michael A. Lee-Chin Crystal, the Weston wing on Queen's Park will help preserve and restore one of Canada's finest heritage landmarks, while supporting the ROM's vision for the future."

Mr. Weston's wife Hilary is chair of the fundraising campaign.

Designed by world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the Renaissance project will transform the Toronto museum with a new crystal expansion that provides 220,000 square feet of new and renovated space, including 40,000 square feet of additional gallery space at the junction of Bloor Street West and Queen's Park.

In recognition of the donation the ROM will name its 1933 heritage wing on Queen's Park for the Weston family in perpetuity.

The future Weston family wing on will house the majority of the ROM's Canadian collections and significant portions of its educational facilities.

Last April, the Burlington-based mutual-funds mogul Michael Lee-Chin donated $30-million toward the expansion

The new structure is scheduled to open to the public in December, 2005. The remaining renovations will be complete by December, 2006.

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