Provincial funds advance Patkau & Brook McIlroy’s Thunder Bay gallery

Earlier today, the Province of Ontario announced a $5 million funding commitment to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, with the funds earmarked toward the construction of the gallery’s new waterfront home. Designed by Patkau Architects in collaboration with consultants Brook McIlroy, the two-storey, 40,000 square feet gallery will be located in Tugboat Basin, south of Thunder Bay’s Spirit Garden.

Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Patkau Architects, Brook McIlroy
Rendering of the gallery. Image via Patkau Architects / Brook McIlroy.

The commission to design the new gallery was awarded to Patkau and Brook McIlroy in the Summer of 2016, following a three-year selection process that saw 13 architectural teams bid to design the new cultural hub for northern Ontario. The gallery’s preliminary design was revealed later that year, with an estimated $33 million price tag outlined. A 2019 completion was notionally targeted, though the expected opening date has now been revised to late 2021 or early 2022.Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Patkau Architects, Brook McIlroy

Doubling the size of the current gallery — which is located on the Confederation College campus to the west — the new facility will give the Thunder Bay Art Gallery a much more prominent home on the city’s lakefront. Poised to become more inviting for both locals and tourists, the new space is expected to increase both the gallery’s revenue and cultural presence. In addition to the much-expanded exhibition space, the design includes an event hall overlooking Lake Superior, as well a cafe, and a museum retail space.Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Patkau Architects, Brook McIlroy

The $5 million commitment formed the dominant part of a larger $6 million provincial funding announcement, targeting the improvement of Thunder Bay’s waterfront. Alongside the funds for the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Premier Kathleen Wynne also announced a $1 million investment for the revitalization of  Prince Arthur’s Landing, including boardwalk improvements, and site preparations for the adjacent new gallery.