The old Embassy Hotel was located at 732 Dundas Street East at the heart of the Old East Village. The Embassy Cultural House was established in 1983, as a community-driven gallery and hosted interdisciplinary programs. It closed its physical doors in 1990. In 2020 the Embassy Cultural House was re-envisioned as a virtual artist-run space and community website.
The Embassy Cultural House (ECH) family and community are grieving the loss of Tyson Haller who passed away recently in Ottawa. He was a strong supporter and advocate of the ECH both during its original program at the Embassy Hotel between 1983 - 1990 and its present online format.
Tyson's parents Helen and Egon owned the Embassy Hotel from the late 1970s until it was sold in 2001. He was a huge part of the running of the hotel and organized the music program in the hotel bars. Tyson went on to study film at Ryerson University in Toronto. Our heart goes out to his family and all his friends in London, Toronto and Ottawa and around the world who are mourning his untimely death.
Please visit Tyson's page to see some of his film work and photos.
Reprint: Christopher Regimbal, "A Fire at the Embassy Hotel," Fuse Magazine vol. 33, no. 3, summer 2010
From the archives: July 2012 London Free Press article written by James Reaney about the Museum London survey exhibit on the Embassy Cultural House (ECH). Independent curator Bob McKaskell (1943-2020) based the exhibit on his research of the ECH archives and conversations with the artists associated with the collective.
In 1978, the owner of the Embassy Hotel, Helen Haller, commissioned her sister, artist Jamelie Hassan, to paint a series of watercolours related to the Embassy, its workers, and residents. The watercolours, a tribute to life in London east neighbourhood, were on display in the hotel lounge for many years. Helen donated these historic watercolours to Museum London's permanent collection in the summer of 2019.
One of these watercolours, Embassy at Nite, will be featured on one of the facade wall of Indwell's new affordable housing project on the site of the old Embassy Hotel (744 Dundas Street) named the "Embassy Commons" in tribute to the location’s past cultural history. The new name was officially announced at the Hope@Home Virtual Gala on June 12, 2020. Hassan Law was a sponsor of the event. For more information, please go to Indwell's page on the the project.
Uncovering of the foundation of the former Embassy Hotel, August 26, 2020 - the site of Indwell’s affordable housing project the Embassy Commons.
Photo Credits: Graceview Enterprises Limited
Many thanks to London musician Paul Aitken, who has made available his personal archive of posters, promotional pamphlets, and press clippings that he received from Eric Stach almost 30 years ago. Eric was a huge influence on Paul as a developing musician, and Paul went on to run similar music projects of his own over the intervening years. Paul's current project is influenced by Eric's free improvisation is the trio Aitken | Clark | Peacock, which you can learn about and listen/watch here. To see the full collection of posters visit Eric Stach's page.
A big thank you to Esther Vincent for sharing with us drawings by her father, Don Vincent, from his sketch book done circa 1990 at the Embassy Cultural House. The drawings were done during Eric Stach's regular Free Music Unit performances which were held weekly on Thursday nights.
Don Vincent, (1932-1993), a graduate of H.B. Beal Art and husband of London artist Bernice Vincent (1934-2016), worked as a graphic designer at London Life, but he was well-known for his documentary photographs of the art scene in London, Ontario. Don’s photographic archive is in the collection of the McIntosh Gallery, Western University, London, Ontario.
Bernice and Don were avid supporters of the Embassy Cultural House and regulars at Eric Stach's Free Music Unit events. These drawings capture the energy and dynamism of these musical events and the Embassy Cultural House era.
It is with the sad news, that our good friend and independent curator and writer, Bob McKaskell died on June 30, 2020. ago from cancer.
He was living between Port Dover, Ontario and Oaxaca, Mexico. While in Oaxaca he decided to study Spanish and he had just initiated a program of curating exhibits of Oaxacan artists in his apartment located in the centro historico of Oaxaca. He was a great cook, an excellent gardener and his pursuit of knowledge was startling wide-reaching. Anyone who knew Bob, understood that his sometimes stubborn nature contributed to his ability to intensely focus in a very particular and detailed way to whatever subjects grabbed his interest.
Bob taught Contemporary Art History for many years at Western University. He was a huge supporter of both Canadian and international artists and had a commitment to challenging art practices including conceptual art, performance works and independent artists' projects. While in London, he was involved in programming at The Embassy Cultural House, the Forest City Gallery, Museum London and the McIntosh Gallery.
He was one of the curators at the Windsor Art Gallery He also worked at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary where he built strong friendships and made contributions to the arts community across Canada.
There are so many fond memories of Bob - especially close to our hearts is the survey exhibition he curated Embassy Cultural House - 1983 - 1990 at Museum London in 2012.
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