Winnipeg city council approved a multimillion-dollar grant on Wednesday to cover cost overruns related to the construction of the Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

The vast new Arctic exhibit at the zoo, set to open on July 3, is $4.5 million over budget.

The extra costs are due to materials being brought in from the U.S. and soaring heating expenses during the extremely cold winter.

The city had already committed $50 million over 10 years to the Assiniboine Park Conservancy for its $200-million renewal of the 110-year-old park and zoo.

Members of the executive policy committee, which approved the spending earlier on Wednesday before it went to council, have said the extra expense for Journey to Churchill will come from that pot.

The four-hectare exhibit will feature polar bears, Arctic foxes, musk oxen, snowy owls and seals in expansive new habitats. 

There will be underwater and above-ground viewing opportunities for the bears and seals, which will be separated by thick, clear plastic walls.

Other elements in the exhibit include an aurora borealis 360-degree theatre, a new restaurant, gift shop and children's play area.