Brand New Art Gallery in Vancouver’s Future

Graphic sourced from

Graphic sourced from

Vancouver’s city council is on the verge of approving a brand new $300 million, 320,000-square-foot art gallery on a three-acre parking lot adjacent to downtown’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Council members are expected to approve the project next week, turning over 1.8 acres of city-owned land at 688 Cambie St. on a 99-year lease.  This would end years of wrangling over what to do about the cramped and outdated Vancouver Art Gallery, currently located along Hornby Street, between Georgia and Robson.

The new site, a bus parking lot known as Larwill Park, represents the last undeveloped block in downtown Vancouver, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.  It is hoped that the gallery, along with the nearby Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse and Vancouver Public Library will become a new arts and entertainment hub for the city. Plans also include closing a portion of Cambie Street between Dunsmuir and Georgia to create a public square that links with the existing plaza in front of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

The approval from city council sets in motion further fundraising for the $300 million project.  The gallery is hoping to raise $100 million of that from the federal government, according to the Vancouver Sun.  The remainder will be split between the provincial government and private donations.  Already, the Vancouver Art Gallery has secured $40 million of that sum in private sector pledges, not to mention a $50 million grant from the province.

The decision to proceed with the Larwill Park proposal is not without controversy.  Vancouver celebrity realtor and art collector Bob Rennie has strongly opposed the plan, claiming it’s too costly for a city of Vancouver’s size.  Rennie waged an active campaign for an alternate proposal, consisting of several smaller galleries throughout the city.

Even with the latest developments, art lovers shouldn’t be lining up for the grand opening of the new Vancouver Art Gallery just yet.  The land transfer deal with the city is dependent on the art gallery securing 75 percent of the $300 million needed by April 30, 2015.  If all the funding goes through, it will still be an estimated eight years from now before the new gallery opens its doors.

What do you think about the plans for the new Vancouver Art Gallery?  Let us know below.  

For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.  


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