The North Shore is one of the best places in the world in which to live, and a great tourism destination as well because of its many outdoor attractions. Except for one glaring omission that has finally been rectified. Until recently the North Shore had one of the worst museums found in any big city in the world, the awful wreck known as Presentation House.  A home for a new museum has finally been found.

The North Vancouver Museum and Archives new home on the ground floor of the Polygon’s Site 8 tower is finally confirmed thanks to a $3 million investment towards the project from the federal government. MP Jonathan Wilkinson announced the funding will be provided through the Canada Cultural Spaces fund in the Department of Canadian Heritage. A report on plans for the new museum project is expected to go before council next month.  Other funding for the museum project includes a $2.5-million commitment from the City, budgeted but not yet formally approved.  Nancy Kirkpatrick, director of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives, said staff is very optimistic they will get the go-ahead.

The museum will be a 16,000 square-foot space contributed by Polygon in return for additional building height and $1 million to be raised in a fundraising campaign. The Museum is expected to open in 2019. The announcement comes after city council rejected a long-held plan to move the museum into the Pipe Shop at the Shipyards after fundraisers fell short of their $5 million target.

Council approved the museum moving into the space on a 10-year lease only if it meets certain conditions. The museum can’t ask the City or the District of North Vancouver asking for operating funds above annual inflationary increases; the museum must vacate its off-site warehouse storage space, and it must use a business plan approved by council.

Proponents are hopeful that those who had pledged funding to the previous Pipe Shop project will renew those pledges to the new museum. Kirkpatrick said the new site is a superior opportunity to the formerly proposed Pipe Shop. The new museum will be custom built with underground parking, a large lobby area with high ceilings, and enough space to install one of the restored original Lonsdale streetcars that will serve as a café. The operating budget for the museum is $1.3 million annually, funded by the two North Vancouver municipalities.

Along with the new Presentation House Gallery, funded largely by real estate mogul Michael Audain, the North Shore finally has two new museums that will draw tourists, and both strategically located at the foot of Lower Lonsdale, where the increased foot traffic will be of great value to Lonsdale Quay. The Waterfront  and the merchants of the hip new emerging Lolo District that has been longing for anchor tenants. It looks like the new gallery and museum will provide that final boost.


By staff reporter

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