1080 Keewatin St,
Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 6T7

Gallery News – Art Gallery Launches Community Campaign

September 22, 2023

This week, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery launched the second phase of its Community Fundraising Campaign for the new purpose-designed waterfront art gallery, now under construction on Thunder Bay’s waterfront. The Gallery has set an ambitious goal for Phase 2 of the AWE Community Fundraising Campaign of $5 million.

Announcing the fundraising target, Campaign Chair Shelley Crawford said, “We know that many people in the community are eager to support the construction of this beautiful new building because they understand the extensive benefits to the city including increased visual arts experiences for people of all ages and walks of life as well as substantial economic and tourism impacts.”

The first phase of the campaign in 2018-19 was successful with local individuals, families, businesses, and foundations contributing $2.7 million.

Executive Director Matthew Hills stated: “The Thunder Bay Art Gallery is a central part of a vibrant cultural community, and it cares for a world class collection of art from across the country. This exciting new facility on the city’s waterfront, will enhance access to our programs and allow us to continue cultivating creative ideas, celebrating the region’s art and history, and continuing to nurture a community that is artistically adventurous and culturally inclusive.”

Sharon Godwin, former Gallery Director, now Waterfront Project Lead, noted that the support of the community will be needed to complete the project.

She explained that ‘building projects currently occurring throughout Canada are experiencing increased construction material and labour costs as well as supply chain issues, due to the impact of the pandemic and inflation. Thunder Bay’s waterfront art gallery project is no different.

As the project progresses, the Construction Team – Tom Jones Corporation, Patkau and Brook McIlroy Architects, Colliers Project Leaders and the Gallery’s Board of Directors are working together diligently to tackle these challenges in various ways including value engineering, cost containment and new revenue generation.’

In addition to the $2.7 M raised in Phase 1, the Gallery has also secured $47.5 M from all levels of government toward the original cost of construction of $38M and overall project cost of $50 M.

Those wishing to donate can visit the Gallery’s website https://theag.ca/become-a-donor/



The new waterfront art gallery will replace the existing facility located on the campus of Confederation College, which has been providing visual arts exhibitions and programming since 1976. More than double the size, the waterfront gallery features expansive exhibition spaces and increased education and programming areas, and a larger collections storage vault to accommodate the Gallery’s acclaimed collection of Indigenous and northwestern Ontario art. A larger gift shop, a café with an outdoor terrace and spaces for community use and rent will generate revenue toward operating expenses.

Tom Jones Corporation was announced as the Project’s Construction Manager in January 2023. The award-winning project architects are Patkau Architects (Vancouver) and Brook McIlroy Architects (Toronto/Thunder Bay/Winnipeg) in a joint venture. Colliers Project Leaders is the Project Manager.

The new waterfront art gallery project was initiated in 2009 and began in earnest in 2012 with a planned opening date in 2019. Extensive environmental investigations were required and have taken place on the waterfront site, mitigation measures have been accepted by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Parks (MECP) and a certificate of property use has been issued.

Although these investigations along with the pandemic affected the initial schedule and budget, the project is now proceeding with a target for substantial completion in late 2025. Substantial funding from Infrastructure Canada through the GICB Fund, announced on June 30, 2022, by Minister Patty Hajdu, now makes it possible for the facility to be built to zero carbon standards. The new gallery will be one of the few buildings in the city to date built to net zero standards and will align with the City of Thunder Bay’s Net Zero Strategy.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery has worked with the City of Thunder Bay to reclaim the brownfield on which the new gallery will be built for the use and enjoyment of the community. People will have additional access to the shore of Lake Superior in both indoor and outdoor spaces at the new Gallery.

Funding for the project has been provided by all levels of government and the community. An initial commitment from the City of Thunder Bay of $5.7 M (11%) has levered commitments of over $40 M from the Federal (70%) and provincial governments (11%).

To give email: give@theag.ca or go to theag.ca/awe/support


For further information please contact:

Bob Gravelle
Communications and Marketing Coordinator
(807) 577-6427