On July 17, the Honourable Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and Member of Parliament (Thunder Bay–Superior North), announced $11.5 million in funding for the Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s Waterfront Relocation Project. Minister Hajdu made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
“The Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s expansion and relocation represent a major step forward in the revitalization of our city’s waterfront. This funding will help us continue to be a community that appreciates, understands and supports the importance of art and culture,” said Hajdu.
The commission to design the new gallery was awarded to Patkau Architects and Brook McIlroy in the Summer of 2016, following a three-year selection process that saw 13 architectural teams bid to design the new cultural hub for northern Ontario. The gallery’s preliminary design was revealed later that year, with an estimated $33 million price tag outlined. A 2019 completion was notionally targeted, though the expected opening date has now been revised to 2022.
“This is a historic day—the day on which the new Thunder Bay Art Gallery on the city’s magnificent waterfront became a certainty. The Government of Canada’s generous support will help ensure that this new community gathering space for visual arts becomes a reality. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, I sincerely thank the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, for recognizing the importance of this project and offering essential assistance that will let us bring this project to life,” said Sharon Godwin, Director of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.
Provided through Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, this funding will support the construction of a new 38,500-sq. ft. building and modernized gallery and exhibition spaces. The expansion and revitalization of the gallery constitute an important element of a large‑scale municipal plan to develop a centralized and comprehensive culture and tourism hub along Thunder Bay’s waterfront. The funding adds to a $5 million pledge previously made by Ontario’s Wynne government earlier this year.
Founded in 1974, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery exhibits, collects and interprets art with a particular focus on the contemporary artwork of Canadian Indigenous and Northwestern Ontario artists.