New Brunswick

$6M Beaverbrook Art Gallery expansion will 'dramatically' change downtown landscape

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is building a $6-million expansion that will push the gallery closer to Queen Street and give it a new entrance. 

Addition, to be named after Harrison McCain, will move Fredericton institution closer to the street

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton is getting another new pavilion and a new entrance, which will bring the gallery building closer to the street. (Daniel McHardie/CBC)

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is building a $6-million expansion that will push the gallery closer to Queen Street and give it a new entrance.

The new wing is dedicated to the late Harrison McCain, the Florenceville-Bristol businessman and co-founder of McCain Foods.

James C. Irving, chair of the gallery's board of governors, announced the project Friday morning on the steps of the gallery, apparently in the spot where Lord Beaverbrook stood 60 years ago when the gallery opened.

Although conceptual drawings for the addition haven't even been done yet, the gallery said in a news release that construction will begin this fall and continue into 2020. 

Gallery opened in 1959

"We hope to get the shovel in the ground before the snow flies," Irving said. 

The new addition is expected to be around 10,000 square feet.

The gallery, which just opened a $30 million expansion two years ago, has hired architect Shirley Blumberg, founding partner of KPMB Architects in Toronto, to design the next one. 

At Friday's news conference, Blumberg said she was last in Fredericton 10 years ago and was struck by the city's beauty. She said she was honoured the gallery selected KPMB Architects to complete the final phase of its expansion.

"We hope that the new addition will be a catalyst for even more robust engagement with the community," she said.

The Beaverbrook's reconstruction campaign, which began 10 years ago, has received more than $33 million in donations for building expansion and programs.

Fredericton MP Matt DeCourcey said the latest project would get $1 million from the Department of Canadian Heritage and $500,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Federal infrastructure money will also be available, he said.

Irving thanked the McCain family for its support of the project. He said the family was looking for a way to recognize the legacy of Harrison McCain, who died in 2004.

"Harrison, as I understand it, was very private … didn't want a lot of flash, and kept a very low profile, but was very generous," Irving said. 

The announcement of the new pavilion was made Friday, 60 years after Lord Beaverbook opened the gallery. (Submitted by Beaverbrook Art Gallery)

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