The opening of a state-of-the-art dinosaur museum near Grande Prairie, Alta., has been delayed until July 2013 because of a shortfall of funds.

The effort to construct the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, named after an eminent University of Alberta paleontologist, raised nearly half a million dollars at a celebrity-studded fundraiser in July, but still doesn't have enough money to break ground on its new building.


An artist's rendition depicts the future Philip Currie Dinosaur Museum near Grande Prairie, Alta. ((Courtesy Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative))

The project needs $27 million and is hoping to get one-third from the provincial government, one-third from Ottawa and the remainder from private fundraising. So far fundraising has been the most fruitful, bringing in $5 million — more than the province and federal government have contributed combined.

Instead of opening in December 2012 as initially planned, the LEED-certified, 41,000-square-foot edifice will open in July 2013 on its four-hectare site 22 kilometres west of Grande Prairie, its board of directors announced Monday. 

The building, designed by Teeple Architects of Toronto, will house specimens from the fossil-rich region, as well as research and educational facilities.

Last month's sold-out fundraiser in Grande Prairie featured actor and paleontology enthusiast Dan Aykroyd, Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels and crime writer Patricia Cornwell. Guests paid between $5,000 and $25,000 to sponsor a table, and some of them spent the prior two days on a fossil dig west of the city in a rich bone bed known as the River of Death.