Thunder Bay's Historic Waterfront
‘If I were an artist I would choose Thunder Bay in a storm
as the grandest representation of the end of the world.’
– Catherine Moodie Vickers, 1873
One of several granite inscriptions, Catherine Moodie Vickers’ words contribute to the design of the Thunder Bay waterfront.
These words – written by one of our community’s early citizens – record the feeling many share as they gaze upon Lake Superior and consider its imposing size and wild ways. It is beside these compelling waters that the new Thunder Bay Art Gallery will find a home.
The building’s dramatic architectural design will draw on the energy so characteristic of this place. It will reclaim a portion of the shoreline from its industrial past, giving it a renewed and vibrant civic purpose.
The Gallery will boost the transformation we’ve seen with the award-winning facilities at Prince Arthur’s Landing. It is fitting that the visual arts will take their place among outdoor activities, maritime history, concerts, and celebrations that beckon visitors to the waterfront.
As architect Cal Brooks of Brook McIlroy Architects (Toronto/Thunder Bay) explains, “The Thunder Bay waterfront revitalization has many wonderful components. The art gallery really completes the vision of a destination for people who live here and for visitors. I think this facility will draw people from all parts of Canada.”
“With the building on the waterfront and the landform of the Sleeping Giant in the lake, there is a resonance, a conversation across the water which we think will characterize the building in a very powerful way.”
– John Patkau of Patkau Architects (Vancouver)
The new Art Gallery represents the first public, non-profit institution to be established on the City’s waterfront.
The Art Gallery’s move to the waterfront will:
- Bring art to an exceptional and valued location in the community
- Offer residents and visitors a state-of-the-art cultural destination in our community
- Provide public access to an outstanding view of the Sleeping Giant
- Revitalize industrial land on the waterfront, giving it a new, relevant purpose
- Continue the vision for the waterfront development by adding significantly to the cultural facilities at Prince Arthur’s Landing
- Serve as the southern anchor which will further draw visitors along the waterfront to enjoy public exhibitions, events, activities, and amenities
- Provide a strong presence within the northern downtown core which will support a range of local businesses such as restaurants, pubs, private art galleries and shops
- Serve as an important year round attraction for the waterfront hotel
- Position the Art Gallery for expanded partnerships with other arts organizations, including Magnus Theatre, Superior Theatre Festival, Definitely Superior Artist-Run Gallery, and the Baggage Building Arts Centre – all of which are located in the vicinity
- As a waterfront partner, contribute to engagement with the arts during events such as BluesFest, Live on the Waterfront, and the Festival of India
- Strengthen the City’s investment in public art at Prince Arthur’s Landing by expanding the visual art theme that characterizes the outdoor spaces at the waterfront
- Enhance the quality of life and enjoyment of all who live, work and relax in and around the waterfront