Got Culture? 2 New $10-Million-Plus Museums Coming to Vancouver’s North Shore

Historical photo of North Vancouver shipyards

Historical photo of North Vancouver shipyards

The North Vancouver waterfront is one step closer to getting a landmark $10-million museum to showcase its rich history.

This week, the federal government chipped in with a huge $2.2-million cheque for the high-tech project, which will revitalize the historic Pipe Shop shipyard and is expected to attract 60,000 visitors a year.

Construction is expected to begin as soon as early 2016 on the new North Vancouver Museum and Archives. It will anchor the dramatic transformation of the waterfront from industrial space to tourist-friendly, must-see destination (similar to the remaking of Vancouver’s Granville Island decades ago).

The new museum combines interactive technology with a selection of original artifacts to bring the history of the North Shore to life.

Artist's conception of North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Artist’s conception of North Vancouver Museum and Archives

Inside, visitors will find exhibits spanning hundreds of years. The history of the two local First Nations who call the area home will be showcased, as well as the pioneering days of European settlement starting in the mid-1800s. A big part of the museum also focuses on the North Shore’s current reputation as an outdoor destination – a hiking and mountain biking mecca, with ski slopes in its backyard.

Fittingly, the museum will also highlight North Vancouver’s glorious shipbuilding past. Shipyards once lined the coast, and North Vancouver was responsible for building half of the entire Canadian naval cargo fleet during the Second World War, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

Culture lovers have more to cheer about: the new museum will be joined by a new $15-million art gallery. Construction is slated to begin in 2016 on the Polygon Gallery, which will showcase works by some of the world’s best-known photographers, including exhibitions of photographs by Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Fred Herzog and B.C.’s own Stan Douglas. Partly funded by philanthropist Michael Audain, whose Polygon Homes donated $4 million to the project, the gallery also received a sizable $2.5-million cheque from the federal government this week.

Artist's Conception of Polygon Gallery

Artist’s Conception of Polygon Gallery

Of course, evidence of the North Shore waterfront’s transformation is already plain to see. As Inside Vancouver’s own Carolyn Ali reported, what may be Western Canada’s largest restaurant – the 14,000-square-foot Tap & Barrel – just opened in the shipyards, promising to be a new hub for craft beer lovers. Meanwhile the Shipyards Night Market runs every Friday night through Sept. 25 in Shipbuilders’ Square, with live music, food trucks and a beer garden.


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