Thunder Bay

Design unveiled for new Thunder Bay waterfront art gallery

The proposal to bring Thunder Bay's art gallery to the waterfront is one step closer to reality, after the preliminary design for the structure was unveiled at a public meeting on Tuesday night.

Waterfront location would generate more revenue, bring in more tourism dollars, says gallery director

An artists rendering of a new waterfront Thunder Bay Art Gallery. The waterfront location would afford the gallery more visibility, and bring in more tourism dollars, says the gallery director. (Patkau Architects and Brook McIlroy)

The proposal to bring Thunder Bay's art gallery to the waterfront is one step closer to reality, after the preliminary design for the structure was unveiled at a public meeting on Tuesday night.

The proposed new 40,000 square foot, two-storey building would be located south of the Spirit Garden, on Tugboat Basin, and it would include an event hall overlooking Lake Superior, a cafe and a larger gift shop.

Vancouver design firm Patkau Architects and consulting firm Brook McIlroy of Thunder Bay and Toronto were in Thunder Bay on Tuesday to present the design for a new waterfront art gallery. It would include a large event hall overlooking Lake Superior. (Patkau Architects and Brook McIlroy)

It would also afford the Thunder Bay Art Gallery much more visibility, said director Sharon Godwin.

"At our current location, we don't have that visibility," she said.

"We've been in this location for 40 years. We've drastically outgrown the space."

The more prominent, and spacious waterfront location would allow the gallery to contribute to tourism "much more effectively," she added.

An artists rendering of the proposed Thunder Bay Art Gallery in winter, picturing the side that faces away from the lake. (Patkau Architects and Brook McIlroy)

While the proposed waterfront building, which would be more than twice as large as the gallery's current location on the Confederation College campus, would cost more to operate, Godwin said there would also be more potential to generate revenue, in part by renting out space. 

"We're looking at changing the percentage of self-earned revenue so that we're raising more of our own money on the waterfront," she said. 

"We think it's definitely possible, because of the visibility."

On the lakeside, the design for the proposed new Thunder Bay Art Gallery would include a covered area, 'for the public, for art classes to spill onto,' said director Sharon Godwin. (Patkau Architects and Brook McIlroy)

The price tag for the new gallery is $33 million, and the gallery is seeking a $5 million contribution from the city. 

In a best case scenario, construction could begin as soon as the summer of 2017, and the new gallery could be constructed by mid-2019, Godwin said. 

Representatives from the Vancouver design firm Patkau Architects, which was selected to the design the gallery, and lead consulting firm Brook McIlroy were at the public meeting on Tuesday to present the preliminary design. 

now