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Construction underway in Colwood on RBCM’s collections, research building

New site to house B.C. Archives expected to be completed in fall 2025, with public opening in 2026
A rendering of the Royal B.C. Museum’s collections and research building in Colwood. (Courtesy Province of British Columbia)

Construction is underway in Colwood on the Royal B.C. Museum’s collections and research building.

The new 164,000-square-foot building will be a state-of-the-art mass timber facility housing the province’s collections and B.C. Archives as well as research labs and learning spaces. It also aims to improve public access, as only about one per cent of the province’s collection is out on display.

Tracey Drake, RBCM’s acting CEO, said in a statement the facility will provide a window into the world of the museum, allowing visitors to see paleontologists, entomologists, botanists, zoologists and others engaged in their research projects.

“The provincial collections and archives help us to share the stories of our cultures and communities. It’s vital to ensure they’re kept safe for future generations.”

The $204.8-million contract for the design and construction of the facility was awarded to Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd. Total capital project costs are estimated at $270 million with “substantial completion” expected in fall 2025 and a public opening in 2026.

“It’s an important day as we move forward on a new collections and archives building that will properly store and safeguard our province’s shared history, priceless artifacts and archives,” said Lana Popham, minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, in a statement.

Some of the items at risk from flooding in B.C. Archives’ current downtown location include archival books and manuscripts, rare and priceless artworks such as watercolours from the 1700s, several paintings by Emily Carr and early provincial maps.

Ahead of construction, Shaker Faith workers led a ceremonial land blessing for the site and workers.

It is estimated the project will create approximately 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

ALSO READ: New branch of Royal BC Museum to be built in Colwood

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