Vancouver's North Shore looks set to become a new cultural destination after North Vancouver Council approved development of a major new art gallery Monday night.

Presentation House Gallery, founded 30 years ago, is known for its commitment to cutting-edge photography, with past exhibitions of internationally-renowned local artists Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham and Fred Herzog, as well as international artists such as Cindy Sherman and Ansel Adams.

Presentation House Gallery

The new gallery will have purpose-built galleries able to exhibit large format photography. (Handout)

To be sited in Lower Lonsdale, the waterfront gallery is planned to open in 2017 and has been designed by B.C.'s Patkau Architects. It will cost $15 million, with $2.5 million funded by the City of North Vancouver.

The gallery is currently located inside an old schoolhouse that has, over the years, also been a police station and a temporary City Hall, and is showing its age. The 19,000 square feet new gallery will more than double the available exhibition space, with purpose-built galleries able to properly display the large-format photographic works by many of the Vancouver School artists including Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace.

With a cafe, bookstore and waterfront plaza, the gallery expects to become a cultural hub and gathering space, as well as a major new tourist attraction, with estimates of 33,000 visitors in its first year.

Presentation House gallery

The gallery is expected to be a major draw for residents and tourists alike. (Handout)

“We’re thrilled that this project will now move forward,” says gallery director Reid Shier, in a statement. “The City of North Vancouver has shown great vision in their plan to revitalize the city’s waterfront and we could not be happier to be a part of it.”

The news comes as the Vancouver Art Gallery heads into a crucial fundraising period for its own hoped-for new building, with a deadline of April to reach its $150 million target.

Earlier this year, the VAG announced they had selected Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron to design its new gallery slated for the corner of West Georgia and Cambie streets in downtown Vancouver.