In October 2006, the Canadian Museum of Nature celebrated its 150th anniversary. A major milestone was also reached: the halfway point in its five-year renovation of the museum's historic public exhibition site.
This moment also saw the re-opening of the west wing, with its new galleries and programming spaces. This marked another significant step in the building's history; the building is the birthplace of Canada's national museums. Over the decades, its walls have echoed with voices of schoolchildren discovering the wonders of the natural world, the musings of scientists examining specimens collected on expedition, and even the speeches of politicians debating legislation during the First World War.
The Canadian Museum of Nature undertook these major renovations of its historic, heritage building as part of a new vision of national service.
Work began in 2004 and was finished in 2010. Renovations upgraded mechanical and structural systems to remain in step with modern building codes. This esulted in a fresh look inside, with new galleries and exhibition spaces, while the building's unique heritage characteristics were maintained.
The final phase in the east wing and the central core included the salon, theatre, atrium and main entrance. In addition to new gallery spaces and a new high-definition theatre, the east wing includes improved visitor amenities such as a café, a group entrance and a boutique.
A Seven-Step Cure!
- addition of a "lantern", which evokes the building's early tower over the main entrance, and permits circulation of visitors from the second to the fourth floors
- relocation of the greenhouse from the roof to the ground level.
A major upgrade to the building's infrastructure, including electrical, water, heating and ventilation systems.
Installation of an interior wall to create a "dynamic buffer zone" that maintains required environmental settings such as temperature and humidity and also protects the exterior stonework from effects of high humidity.
Reinforcement of the structure of the building to ensure the building meets seismic codes.
During the renewal of the building, all current galleries were relocated or refurbished. The exciting new galleries and exhibitions were funded by the museum's Natural Partnerships Campaign.
Consolidation of visitor amenities such as the Nature Boutique, the Nature Café and group entrance area on the first floor
Landscaping of the building's grounds will increase green space for outdoor presentations, activities and recreation.
This multi-year project had a number of key players: the Canadian Museum of Nature, Public Works and Government Services Canada, the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, PCL Constructors Canada Inc. and PKG Joint Venture Architects. All played an important role in the success of this project, which was funded by the Government of Canada.