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The Government of Canada Creates Opportunity for a City to Host the Portrait Gallery of Canada

OTTAWA, November 9, 2007 - The Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, and the Honourable Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, today announced the Government of Canada is launching a Request for Proposals (RFP) to locate the Portrait Gallery of Canada in one of the following cities: Halifax, Québec City, Montréal, Ottawa-Gatineau (National Capital Region), Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver.

These cities have a relatively large population, which will provide an important local visitor base; are easily accessible with effective transportation networks; and have the potential to attract both domestic and international visitorship.

"Canadians deserve to see the portraits that depict the great figures of our country's past and present," said Minister Verner. "These are our stories, told on canvas, in sculpture, and in photographs. Our Government will work with identified cities and developers across the country to find a new home for these historic works of art."

"The Government is launching an open and transparent process to encourage proposals from developers in one of the nine cities for the development of the Portrait Gallery of Canada," said Minister Fortier. "We want to ensure that we obtain maximum impact from every tax dollar spent by taking advantage of private sector support and expertise."

"The creation of a permanent home for the Portrait Gallery of Canada will allow Canadians greater access to one of the world's most exciting national portrait collections," said Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. "Canadians can celebrate a greater ability to connect with the people who have shaped-and continue to shape-our nation. We look forward to innovative proposals to expand on the Portrait Gallery of Canada's already ambitious outreach, Web, and touring exhibition programs. A permanent gallery will also allow us to deepen our relationships with cultural institutions around the world, bring rare treasures to Canadians, and share our stories with other nations."

The Government of Canada believes that national cultural institutions can be located outside the National Capital Region, as demonstrated by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. Recently, our Government reached an agreement with public and private sector support to establish the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, making it the first national museum to be located outside the National Capital Region.

As part of Library and Archives Canada, the Portrait Gallery of Canada has a unique mandate among federal cultural institutions to showcase the stories of Canadian men and women, from all walks of life, who have helped build Canada. Library and Archives Canada has been collecting documentary art and photography for more than a century. Its portrait collections provide a unique testimony to Canada's past and present and contribute to a better understanding of Canadian history and diversity.

The Government of Canada expects the Request for Proposals will generate interest from qualified developers who will engage the private sector and communities in the development of a new facility for the Portrait Gallery of Canada. The Request for Proposals will shortly be launched on the government electronic bidding system (MERX) and the selection process is expected to be completed in the spring of 2008.

For more information, visit the Portrait Gallery of Canada's new website.

Information:

Richard Walker
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages
819 994-5978

Donald Boulanger
A/Chief, Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819 994-9101

BACKGROUNDER

The Government of Canada is soliciting proposals to find a permanent exhibition and programming facility for the Portrait Gallery of Canada This is consistent with the Government's desire to:

  • Maximize access to our cultural heritage for all Canadians
  • Seek support from the private sector and communities

Qualified developers are invited to submit proposals for a prominent and easily accessible site in one of the nine cities, and also to demonstrate significant support from the private sector and community. A successful competitive process will lead to the selection of a qualified developer, and an appropriate site.

In order to identify appropriate cities where the Portrait Gallery of Canada may be hosted, the Government has adhered to the following principles:

  • The Gallery needs a prominent location that will not only reflect the national significance and stature of this new cultural institution, but also reinforce its image in Canada and abroad.
  • The Gallery needs to be easily accessible by Canadians from all regions of the country.
  • The population and tourist potential at the location need to be large enough to ensure its financial viability and sustainability.
  • The Gallery needs to be in an environment conducive to cultural collaborations and financial support from the private sector, philanthropists, and individuals. Interest in supporting the capital endeavour, as well as the ongoing activities of the Portrait Gallery of Canada, will need to be clearly demonstrated.

The nine cities that have been identified as potential sites for the new Portrait Gallery of Canada are Halifax, Québec City, Montréal, Ottawa-Gatineau (National Capital Region), Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver.

A request for proposals (RFP) is being launched to solicit interest by developers. The bidding process will be managed by Public Works and Government Services Canada for Library and Archives Canada. All details and information relating to the RFP will be available on the government's online tendering system (MERX).

The new exhibition and programming facility for the Portrait Gallery of Canada is anticipated to open in the spring of 2012. In the meantime, the Portrait Gallery of Canada continues to provide a full array of innovative programming and outreach and share its collection through virtual exhibitions, touring exhibits and curriculum development. In the lead-up to 2012, the Portrait Gallery of Canada anticipates expanding its activities, acquisitions, and commissioning programs and continuing to build community, national, and international partnerships to support a vibrant relationship with Canada and the world.

 

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Date created: 2007-11-09 Important Notices