Parks Canada estimates there are about 31 million artifacts in its collection and 25 million of them will be moving to its newly-announced facility.
Photo by Guillaume Jaillet on Unsplash
It’s not every day that Canada gets a huge new cultural structure. This week, Parks Canada and the Government of Canada announced the plans for a massive space that will house 25 million historical artifacts and the plans look impressive.The new storage facility will be built in Gatineau, Quebec, a fitting area, given its proximity to our nation’s capital city and Parliament Hill.These 25 million artifacts span across 11,000 years of human history and there’s all sorts of centuries-old objects in the collection including glassware, stone-made tools, ceramics and even clothing.Parks Canada estimates there are about 31 million artifacts in its collection and 25 million of them will be moving to the new facility. Anything currently on display, however, won’t be disrupted and will remain in its current location.Creating our country’s first mega heritage centreThe development of this new collection storage facility is important. Currently, all of the artifacts are spread across the country in six different locations, and Parks Canada estimates that 60 per cent of these artifacts are “at risk from inappropriate environmental storage conditions and security measures.” Sounds grim.Construction of this new building won’t begin until the spring of 2020 and Parks Canada says it will take two years to complete, with a project opening in 2022.
Rendering of the storage facility. © Moriyama and Teshima Architects and NFOE Architects, a joint-architectural venture. (CNW Group/Parks Canada)
Still, once finished, this shiny historical warehouse will ensure that our nation’s important pieces of history are safe and accessible for generations to come.“The Government of Canada is committed to preserving our heritage and providing opportunities for Canadians to learn more about our rich history,” said Steven MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, in a statement.New building specs revealedA dedicated team of specialists and conservators will work in this space, making it easier than ever for educational institutions as well as researchers and even Canadians eager to learn about our country’s history, to access historic information and view ancient objects. Everything will be expertly categorized and stored.
A look at the research space inside the new Parks Canada storage facility. © Moriyama and Teshima Architects and NFOE Architects, a joint-architectural venture. (CNW Group/Parks Canada)
About a quarter of the building will be a dedicated workspace for its researchers and staff, as well as meeting rooms and ceremonial spaces.It’s going to be big. Literally. The space is estimated to be 8,200 metres², which is roughly the size of two football fields, and while this space aims to make organizing and accessing historical artifacts easier than ever, the main purpose of this new facility is preservation.The new facility will have special climate control and ventilation that will maintain ideal humidity, double walls built around the storage area for added insulation and protection as well as emergency generators in case of a power outage that could cause damage to the artifacts, should the temperature change.Green is top of mind in this new facilityTwo Canadian architectural firms have been selected to work on this cultural hub as a joint design project with safety and preservation as the top concerns.Moriyama and Teshima Architects, which has offices in both Toronto and Ottawa, and NFOE Architects, which is based in Montreal, will help bring the new structure to life.
Exterior views. © Moriyama and Teshima Architects and NFOE Architects, a joint-architectural venture. (CNW Group/Parks Canada)
“The new building will use renewable energy and incorporate sustainable and energy-efficient green building standards, making it a net-zero building,” Parks Canada explained in a release.And it’s not just the building itself that will implement green technology. The landscaping on the property is being considered in the design, too. Plants native to the region will be planted outside and several “dry ponds” built, which are meant to collect access rain water.“This new facility…will ensure that one of the largest collections of historical and archeological objects in North America is safeguarded, carefully conserved, and properly managed for the benefit of future generations. Green building standards, which have been incorporated throughout the facility’s design, will also reduce its environmental footprint,” said MacKinnon.Currently just three renderings of the structure have been released to the public, but it’s something to get excited about. Never before has our country had one enormous space dedicated to storing and sorting of some of our nation’s most prized historical emblems.Related