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

Gallery News – Contractor Announced

January 23, 2023

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery announced today that Tom Jones Corporation has been selected as the Construction Manager for the new waterfront art gallery. The Art Gallery undertook a competitive, national pre-qualification and procurement process, following which Tom Jones Corporation has been selected to construct the new home for the Art Gallery which will be a significant addition to Thunder Bay’s waterfront.

Christine Bates, Chair of the Board said ‘we are delighted to announce our Construction Manager and look forward to working with Tom Jones Corporation to realize this noteworthy community project. The opportunity to work with an experienced and committed local contractor to build the new community art gallery is an important step toward the achievement of this major project.’

The new art gallery will replace the existing facility located on the campus of Confederation College which has been providing visual arts exhibitions and programming for the past 46 years. 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 growing collection of Indigenous and northwestern Ontario art. A larger gift shop, a café with an outdoor terrace and spaces for community use and rental will generate revenue toward operating expenses.

Parker Jones, President, Tom Jones Corporation said ‘we are honored to have been selected and to be working with the Art Gallery to contribute to the changing face of Thunder Bay and the community gathering place that is Thunder Bay’s waterfront. We look forward to this exciting collaboration to help the Art Gallery achieve its vision, which will contribute significantly to our community’s cultural life, and economy and serve as a beacon of creativity and inspiration for all who visit.’

Construction is expected to start shortly, with site and foundation work scheduled for winter 2023.


The 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 have affected the initial schedule and budget, the project is now proceeding with a planned opening in 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.

Gallery Director Sharon Godwin noted that there are important components to this project in addition to the obvious opportunity to continue and enhance the exhibitions that the gallery presents focused on local and regional artists, and contemporary Indigenous artists from here and other parts of Turtle Island, as well as continuing to bring exciting travelling exhibitions to the City from other galleries.

‘Reclaiming the brownfield site on which the new gallery will be built for the use and enjoyment of the community is very important to the Board, staff and volunteers of the Gallery,’ said Godwin. ‘The people of Thunder Bay will have additional access to the shore of Lake Superior in both indoor and outdoor spaces at the new Gallery.’

In addition, the new gallery will be one of 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.

Godwin also noted that the economic impact of both the construction and operation of the new facility will be substantial. As a new attraction on the waterfront the Gallery will be used by local people and tourists from around the world. ‘We look forward to working with Tourism Thunder Bay to contribute a warm welcome to those visiting our city on the many cruise ships expected in the future.’

Funding for the project, which has a construction budget of $38 Million, 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%).  The community fundraising campaign is scheduled to officially kick off in Spring 2023, with $2.5 million already committed by local individuals, families, businesses, and foundations.

Click here to learn more about the waterfront Art Gallery.