In a proposal that would change the face of Coal Harbour world-renowned architect Renzo Piano wants to build a new Maritime Museum at the current site of the Westin Bayshore hotel.

While the Vancouver Maritime Museum currently calls Kitsilano’s Vanier Park home, it has been looking to relocate for many years. A plan to relocate to North Vancouver died when provincial and federal funding was pulled.

But in January, 2017, the museum made the decision once again to find a new location. Expansion in its current location – on the floodline, with a leaking roof and other problems – was not an option.

“It’s a beautiful site; it has a view of the mountains and a view of the water,” said the president of the board of trustees Peter G. Bernard to the Globe and Mail. “But to run a museum there is almost impossible.”

When the call came in to the Maritime Museum with the suggestion – and the celebrated Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano at the helm – Mr. Bernard almost couldn’t believe it. “Come on, it’s fate,” he said. “I was absolutely sold in the first 10 seconds.”

The vision for the new museum is twofold: to continue to explore and interpret Canada’s maritime past, including Indigenous maritime history, but also to become a global centre for ecological research and education, focusing on environmental issues and how the world’s oceans are affected by climate change.

“We now have an opportunity to create something that hasn’t been created anywhere in the world,” Mr. Bernard said.

Photo: Darren Kirby

Last modified: April 10, 2018

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