Form Follows Function at the New Museum


The new museum project continues to progress with much momentum.

The first phase of the project, concept design, is complete, and it will be followed by: schematic design, detailed design and finally, construction documents.

In concept design, museum staff and volunteers worked with the architect team to create preliminary floor plans and elevations. These are based on the functional requirements of the organization. In other words, the design team worked to answer the question “What spaces do we need and where do they need to be – to deliver upon our mission.”

Many stakeholders and advisors were included in concept design. They contributed to extensive discussion, broad based consultation and decision-making. There are several significant developments

The Collections Centre, which will house the museum’s entire collection and be totally accessible as part of the visitor experience, will become a Category A collecting facility. This high level curatorial standard will allow the museum to borrow artifacts from other distinguished museums in North America, and beyond. The Board of Directors believes that Category A is in the best interests of the collection. With this decision comes upgraded, much more sophisticated mechanical systems as well as the space they require.

The height of the building has been decreased. 

The building will have a lower profile overall and as such, be more site sensitive. As a result, additional square footage will be required in the Collections Centre. Simply put, the museum will require additional floor space as the lowered ceiling height will reduce some elevated display areas.

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 The size of two important public spaces has been increased: The first is the pre-function space outside the multipurpose room. This space supports the multipurpose room by providing a pre-event gathering space. This will be used for check-in tables and coffee breaks at conferences, and for cocktails and gathering before dinner and wedding receptions. This space complements and adds capacity to what is already a one-of-kind, much needed space for Peterborough and the surrounding area. The museum will draw large-scale events, which will contribute significantly to community capacity and local economic growth.

The second is the galleria space, which is the wide hallway that winds along the waterway – adjacent to the serpentine glass wall. This space celebrates the connection to the historic Trent-Severn Waterway and is the passage where visitors will circulate through the museum. It will be a space that is free, open and accessible to the public – a space to warm up in the wintertime after skating on the canal, or to cool down after a paddle or a yoga class on the green roof.

These are significant, but important developments in the design of the new museum and the Board has carefully considered each one of them. In addition, and as part of this phase, a class D costing was undertaken by the Altus Group Ltd. indicating increased cost in the range of approximately $10M to $15M. As is the case with every capital project, costing will be advanced and refined with every subsequent phase.

The Board is confident that the museum, as planned in this first phase of the project, is the one required to fulfill our role as stewards of this one of a kind collection, and to deliver on our mission. Peterborough, Ontario, and Canada deserve a museum they can truly be proud of, one that appropriately stewards, preserves and exhibits the collection and one that is sustainable well into the future.

We will continue to provide updates as the project progresses, and appreciate your continued support as The Canadian Canoe Museum moves onto the national stage. 

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THE NEXT PHASE of the project is schematic design. This phase will see the design team advance the concept design by adding depths to walls and floors, adding doors, furthering key elevations and much more. Decisions related to landscape, parking and site plans, furniture placement and lighting, and mechanical systems are within the scope of this phase.

Capital Campaign Update

The campaign team continues to be buoyed by the strong connection to, and affinity for, the new museum project. There has been a great deal of generosity from early leadership donors, and several gift announcements will be shared in the coming months. In addition, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada have provided exceptional leadership and a solid foundation for the museum’s fundraising campaign. Over the next few months, the museum team will continue its conversations with the City of Peterborough along with Peterborough County.

To support the important developments in the concept design phase, the museum will be raising more money through its national fund raising campaign. The Board has committed to an increased fundraising target and campaign that involves individuals and corporations from coast to coast to coast. At this time, it is estimated that 90% of private donations will come from across the country.

A cabinet, with national representation from across the country, will lead this broad-based campaign, seeking to raise funds from donors in all provinces and territories.