The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, has announced $8.8 million in funding for a new two-storey building to accommodate the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada artifacts.
Located in Winnipeg, the museum, which specializes in preserving, presenting, and promoting the history of aviation development in Canada, has one of the most significant bush plane collections in the world. It is also home to an extensive collection of aircrafts ranging from transport to military, private and commercial, as well as thousands of aviation artifacts.
A new facility of approximately 86,000 square feet will be built to accommodate current and future artifacts. Once complete, the general public will have access to interactive spaces, classrooms, a library, special exhibitions and galleries. The second floor will feature an observation deck with views of the aircraft runway and the main aircraft display space on the first floor.
This federal contribution is through the New Building Canada Fund – Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects and is in addition to $1.2 million through Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund that was announced on October 13, 2016.
The museum also has received financial support from the Province of Manitoba, which has contributed $10 million, and the City of Winnipeg for the estimated $40 million project, with the museum undertaking fundraising to cover the remaining costs.
According to a museum blog post, “an encouraging component of the fundraising campaign has been the financial support from the aviation industry. The kick-off announcement came as a multi-million-dollar contribution from the Exchange Income Corporation whose subsidiaries include Calm Air International, Custom Helicopter, Perimeter Aviation, and many more companies involving aerospace and aviation services, equipment, and manufacturing. Another important campaign component is the creation of a $5 million endowment fund in collaboration with the Winnipeg Foundation, which will generate approximately $250,000 in annual income to support the sustainability of the new museum operation.”
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“This museum tells the story of a truly Canadian adventure: bush flying to some of the most remote, rugged and beautiful areas of our great country. I am proud to announce the Government of Canada’s support for the construction of this new museum in Winnipeg, and I look forward to visiting the space once construction is complete,” said Dr. Doug Eyolfson, Member of Parliament, Charleswood–St. James–Assiniboia–Headingley in a release.
Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities. $25.3 billion of this funding is supporting social infrastructure in Canadian communities.
“Cultural institutions play a key role in developing dynamic communities that celebrate Canada’s diverse heritage and ingenuity. The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada’s new facility will provide a gathering place for the community and will help to attract more visitors every year. Our government is proud to be investing in projects that preserve culture, spark curiosity and bring people together, while contributing to economic growth and community development,” said Minister Carr.
The museum complex will be immediately adjacent to the James A. Richardson International Airport at the west end of Wellington Avenue and south of the Greyhound bus terminal in Winnipeg. The site is in a highly visible location, and everyone who goes to the terminal building to drop off or pick up travelers and visitors to the province will pass by the new Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.
One of the numerous advantages to the new site will be a secured, permanent outdoor area between the museum building and the nearest airport runway where the museum can host visiting vintage aircraft or popular current aircraft that patrons have never been able to see up close. Security planning for outdoor events will be much less onerous than at the current site and the warm months of spring, summer, and fall will offer new outside programming.
“This is an extraordinary day in Canada’s aviation history. With this investment in our community, and partnering with hundreds of local donors and volunteers, the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada is soaring to new heights. More than 40 years ago a small group of visionaries committed to preserve this distinct aviation heritage for all Canadians. We will soon begin the construction of an aviation adventure and signature attraction to house this world class collection of pioneering aircraft as a beacon of inspiration and learning for generations to come,” said Terry Slobodian, President and CEO, Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.
According to the museum, “The construction of the new building will be accompanied by an exciting program to design and offer new exhibits and galleries. The new facility will be an opportunity to re-imagine the museum experience in a way that exploits all of the potential that state-of-the-art digital audio/visual technology can provide. While most aircraft and artifacts in the current museum will find a new home in the new facility, they will be conceptualized into a 21st century experience.”