Federal funding announcement next week for new Vancouver Art Gallery

Jun 24 2022, 8:07 pm

Even more momentum appears to be building for the new purpose-built home of the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG).

A major announcement is scheduled for Monday, June 27 to announce new funding for the VAG, with Liberal MP Hedy Fry of the Vancouver Centre riding and VAG CEO and director Anthony Kiendl noted as the two public speakers. Very few details are available at this time.

This comes on the heels of the historic donation received by the VAG in November 2021 towards the new building, when Michael Audain —  the chairman of local development firm Polygon Homes, and a renowned art collector and philanthropist — donated $100 million to the effort.

The exact amount of federal funding is not known; it is unclear whether the federal funding could fill the entire remainder of the $160 million needed to cover the full $400 million updated cost of the project.

To date, the VAG has raised a total of $240 million towards the new and expanded replacement art gallery building, including $100 million from Audain, $40 million from the Burrard Group’s Chan family, and $50 million from individual donors.

The provincial government’s contribution of $50 million dates back to 2008 when a promise was made by then-Premier Gordon Campbell under the BC Liberals, while the City of Vancouver is providing the land required for the new building.

The VAG has been pursuing more funding from senior governments, specifically the federal government, for nearly a decade.

The art gallery will be built on the city-owned block of 668 Cambie Street in downtown Vancouver — on a portion of the surface parking lot at the northeast corner of the intersection of West Georgia Street and Cambie Street, just across from Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

vancouver art gallery larwill park parking lot

Site of the future home of the Vancouver Art Gallery at 668 Cambie Street. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver art gallery new design 2021

Revised 2021 design of the new building for the Vancouver Art Gallery at Larwill Park. (Vancouver Art Gallery)

At the time of Audain’s donation announcement, VAG officials stated they were aiming to commence construction later in 2022 for an opening in 2026.

There were further signs of momentum when the VAG submitted its development permit application to the City of Vancouver in February 2022, which was a show of immense confidence in proceeding with construction in the near future. In late May 2022, the development permit board reviewed the application.

With Audain’s contribution, the development permit, and an imminent federal funding announcement, it appears that after 15 years of various stages of visioning, planning, and fundraising, the stars are now finally aligning to provide the VAG with a new purpose-built home by the middle of the 2020s.

vancouver art gallery design 2021

2021 design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. (Herzog & de Meuron/Perkins + Will)

vancouver art gallery design 2021

2021 design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. (Herzog & de Meuron/Perkins + Will)

vancouver art gallery design 2021

2021 design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. (Herzog & de Meuron/Perkins + Will)

The application indicates the new art gallery will be built to a Passive House green building standard. It will be the first Passive House art gallery in North America.

The design, by the world-renowned architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, with contributions by local firm Perkins & Will, creates a 228 ft, 10-storey structure with the irregular appearance of differently sized stacked boxes.

It will have a total floor area of 300,000 sq ft, including 82,000 sq ft of dedicated gallery space — more than twice the space of the VAG’s existing home in the former courthouse building at Robson Square.

Other uses entail a theatre, library, artist studio, retail, restaurant, cafe, and a childcare facility.

The new building is surrounded by a lower public courtyard below the structure.


Daily Hive Urbanized will have coverage of Monday’s federal funding announcement for the VAG.

vancouver art gallery design 2021

2021 design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. (Herzog & de Meuron/Perkins + Will)

vancouver art gallery design 2021

2021 design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. (Herzog & de Meuron/Perkins + Will)

vancouver art gallery design 2021

2021 design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. (Herzog & de Meuron/Perkins + Will)

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