B.C. Maritime Museum executive director David Leverton wants the museum to have a national title back in Bastion Square. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Maritime Museum makes bid to move back into Bastion Square

The museum pitched significant renovations to make its long-time home more accommodating

More than four years since moving out, organizers hope the Maritime Museum of BC will move back into its long-time abode at 28 Bastion Square.

For more than 50 years the Maritime Museum occupied the space, but in 2014 was told by the province, which owns the building, that it was no longer safe and that the museum needed to move out. It’s been located at 634 Humboldt St. since then.

Now the province is reviewing Requests For Interest (RFI) which were submitted by Nov. 15. The province is looking for businesses to move into the 30,000 sq. ft. space, and take on the role of further remediating the 130-year-old building, including extensive seismic upgrades which would cost more than $20 million.

ALSO READ: Victoria’s Maritime Museum seeks national status in Bastion Square

“Over the subsequent five years, RPD [the Real Property Division] undertook work to remediate water infiltration, mould, asbestos, failed plaster, and original wood frame windows. However, the space remains unsuitable for occupancy in its present state,” the province wrote in its RFI request description.

“RPD’s ultimate goal is the optimum utilization of the property. Ideal usage will strike a balance between social, environmental and heritage considerations; provide social, cultural, and economic benefit; and demonstrate value-for-money while minimizing financial risk and preserving the aesthetic and heritage features of this historic building.”

David Leverton, executive director of the Maritime Museum, believes they would be a promising contender.

“There’s a lot of historical significance… In the 1800s shipping was the main way to transport things,” he said. “We have the world’s longest coastline and border three oceans.”

Leverton added that in 1980 the building received national status as the oldest building in BC, and that ideally the Maritime Museum could be moved back in by 2021 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of BC entering the confederation.

This would pair well, he said, with the Museum’s ongoing efforts to attain national status and and become the furthest national museum west of Winnipeg.

For the past four years the Maritime Museum has been looking for the perfect site to accommodate a national collection, but after going through nine possibilities decided moving back to Bastion Square might be the solution– albeit with some significant renovations.

ALSO READ: B.C. Maritime Museum angling for waterfront location, national status

“The only way we could have a really meaningful look at going back to Bastion Square is by adding on an annex, an addition to Boomerang Court which would ad an additional 12,000 sq. ft., ” Leverton said.

Leverton and his team have also been in communication with local arts and culture groups to find out ways they could share the space to make it as accessible as possible. This includes the use of a shared lecture theatre, and and open, multi-purpose space on the first floor.

“It wouldn’t be meeting all of our needs, but we also recognize the importance of collaboration,” Leverton said . “From our standpoint we thought we could find a meaningful way to move forward.”

Leverton believes if the Maritime Museum could get national status, more funding would be available to help with costs. In total, he believes that remediation and opening as a national site would cost $45 million.

Several other RFI’s were also expressed, including an arts hub, a community centre and a private development.

The Downtown Victoria Business Association and the The City of Victoria have both backed the need for a creative arts hub through a third party.

Provincial decisions are set to be announced in the near future.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Museum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cold water swimming a morning ritual for Willows Beach crew

Group turned heads when they slow-walked into the Polar Plunge

Sidney signs off on 2020 budget with 1.79 per cent tax increase

Budget also includes additional funding for Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Search begins for two missing scouts near Sooke

Crews headed to Jordan River area after receiving call just after 2 p.m.

Scaffolding falls due to strong winds at Millstream Village Sunday afternoon

No injuries or vehicles damaged, according to West Shore RCMP

Canada’s best ready to take a run at Bear Mountain

2020 Pan American Cross Country Cup will be held Feb. 29 at Langford resort

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Most Read