Proposed Pacific Maritime Centre FAQ’s
The Maritime Museum of British Columbia (MMBC) and City of Langford have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding promoting the creation of an exciting new community arts and cultural hub. The proposed project will generate a range of social and economic benefits for local area residents and visitors to the Greater Victoria Region.
The planned project is located at 790 McCallum Road in the City of Langford and includes the Pacific Maritime Centre (PMC) that contains a ‘Class A’ Maritime Museum of British Columbia, an immersive planetarium theatre, an observational light-house design sky-deck, a conference centre including an upper penthouse event facility, a multi-story business tower and an adjoining City of Langford Performing Arts Centre.
The MMBC has been searching for a new home for over ten years and needs to develop a project that provides greater long-term financial sustainability and reduces our dependence on government. This is a unique opportunity for the Museum to consolidate collection under one roof and establish a cooperative development model involving both the government and private sector with the goal of the MMBC owning an interest in the building once the project is completed. Overall, the PMC will seek to combine a diverse range of maritime related facilities, within an integrated cluster including a maritime-oriented museum, research, education and commercial uses.
The MMBC and City of Langford will collaborate on the overall development of the project. The primary goal is to ensure that the PMC and Langford Performing Arts Centre are both financially self-sustaining. It is anticipated that once the new arts and cultural project is complete, revenue generated from office rental space; conference and penthouse rentals; cafeteria, catering, restaurant and gift shop sales; sky-deck tours and guided tours; public admissions; school, youth and adult programs; public events; and theatre programming shall provide sufficient income to sustain the overall operation. The Museum is planning to oversee the operations of the entire facility once the project is finished.
The City of Langford believes that this project will create several new iconic attractions for the City and will further enhance the City’s commitment for providing family-based entertainment, youth training initiatives, educational programming and exciting new public events that help support the local economy. The Museum and City of Langford are planning on creating partnerships with First Nations, School District 62 and other school districts, post-secondary institutions, non-governmental organizations, federal and provincial departments, youth and daycare programs, other private sector entities, and community-based arts and cultural organizations.
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What is the overall purpose of the Maritime Museum of BC under the BC Societies Act?
The overall purpose of The Maritime Museum of British Columbia Society is:
To promote the maritime heritage and maritime culture of British Columbia, the Province’s standing in the Pacific maritime community, through the operation of a Museum in which:
(a) artifacts, scientific and technological specimens, works of art, and archival material of a maritime interest are collected, stored, documented, preserved, studied, displayed and interpreted, and
(b) to provide programs and activities of an educational and performing arts nature in support of the above objectives.
What is the relationship between the Pacific Maritime Centre and Maritime Museum of BC?
The Pacific Maritime Centre is the proposed name of the new property development that will includes a business Office Tower that will share the space with the Museum. The proposed Canadian Maritime Museum is the new name that will be adopted if the Museum eventually becomes a new national museum. There are currently no national museums in Canada west of Winnipeg.
Will the Maritime Museum of BC no longer exist if it becomes a National Museum?
The Maritime Museum of British Columbia will still exist and will still provide support to a new Canadian Maritime Museum if it is located in the Greater Victoria Region. The proposed creation of a new National Maritime Museum will likely take several years to accomplish.
What is happening with Bastion Square?
The BC Government have not indicated their future plans for Bastion Square. The Museum has however, received a letter from the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing that the Museum has been turned down for support funding under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
What is the City of Langford contributing to the project?
The proposed contributions of the City of Langford to the Pacific Maritime Centre project include: providing land on which the building will be constructed and holding it for the purposes of this initiative until October 31, 2022; performing site preparation work; installing services to the Pacific Maritime Centre; granting a permissive tax exemption for the portion of the Pacific Maritime Centre that houses the Museum related facilities; providing parking for the Pacific Maritime Centre; securing funding sources for the above commitments; and providing staff support.
Why aren’t you looking at property in Victoria?
The Museum has been looking for a location on the waterfront in downtown Victoria for the past ten years. Since relocating to our current location at 634 Humboldt Street we have examined several property locations and none of them have proved available and/or feasible due to a variety of reasons.
How is the project being funded?
The overall project consists of two separate components. Capital funding for the museum component will need to be provided through federal and/or provincial infrastructure funding program(s) and in-kind support from the City of Langford. The Museum will also need to conduct a capital fundraising campaign. Capital funding for the office tower will be derived from bank financing based on projected revenue from long-term office leases.
Has money for the project been secured?
The project needs to secure short-term planning and development funding and long-term capital funding. The money for the Museum will be secured through government grant programs and the funding for the office tower would likely be through traditional bank financing.
What plans do you have to mitigate the risks of a national recession?
The project will not proceed unless we have passed a banking ‘stress test’ that includes the leasing of a high percentage of the office tower by reliable tenants such as government and crown corporations. The federal government is going to be looking for ‘shovel ready’ projects once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides (checkout:
Are you still looking for any type of water front property in addition to the new Langford location?
The City of Langford has just unveiled a new waterfront location at Finlayson Arm that the Museum may have access to for water-related activities. The museum may also look at other potential satellite sites in the future depending on available funding.
What is happening with Tilikum, Trekka, and Dorothy?
The Maritime Museum of BC is now at a critical point in Dorothy’s restoration. With future development plans progressing for the organization, we are at a cross roads with which path to take for her final stages. The Museum’s Collections Committee is currently undergoing a review of the best path forward to ensure Dorothy can receive the greatest care and be available for the public to view her and learn about her important history.
How will you continue to deliver your outreach programs across the Greater Victoria Region?
We will continue to deliver our programs ‘virtually’ across the Greater Victoria Region in the same manner that we are now; however, our home base will be in the City of Langford. It is anticipated that many schools will likely want to take in a range of programming opportunities at the new Museum.
Will you continue to operate the Victoria Classic Boat Festival?
The ongoing operation of the Victoria Classic Boat Festival will be contingent on remaining financially self-sustaining through the continued support of volunteers and ongoing fundraising. COVID-19 is disrupting the plans of many boating festivals this year due to physical distancing requirements.
What happens if the money isn’t raised?
The Museum has until October 2022 to raise the necessary funds to complete the overall Langford project. If the money is not raised then the Museum will have three options: reduce the size of the overall project; try to find another location or wind up the Society.
What is the timeline for this project?
The Museum needs to raise the necessary capital to complete the project and must at the very least have a final development plan in place by October 2022.
When will the Museum move in?
The Museum will move into the new location once the new building is complete which is dependent on fundraising, permitting and construction. The earliest date would be sometime during the fall of 2023.
When will it be open to the public?
The earliest the new Museum could be open to the public would be late spring 2024. The Museum may also do a phased opening that would allow parts of the facility to open sooner.
The timelines seem quite ambitious. Are they flexible?
The Museum needs to raise the necessary capital to complete the project and must at the very least have a final development plan in place by October 2022. Most projects of this nature, if properly funded take between three to five years to complete.
Is there going to be an increase in transit directly to the site?
The proposed building location is across the street from the COSTCO site in Langford and has easy highway access. The Museum will be working with Transit Authorities to try and have a dedicated bus stop near the facility.
Where is all of the Maritime Museum’s collection currently stored?
The bulk of the Museum’s collection that contains artefacts (35,000 objects) ship’s plans (20,000), photographs (10,000), books (8,000) and artwork (over 500 works of art) is stored in the basement of a secure BC Government Building at 4000 Seymour Place.
The remainder of the Museum’s collection including two of our three sailing ships are currently being stored in in less favorable conditions at Ogden Point and the SV Dorothy is currently being stored on Gabriola Island at the private residence of a shipwright who has been doing ongoing restoration work on the vessel.
When are you supposed to have your artefact collection removed from the existing storage site?
The negotiated agreement between the Museum and Provincial Government for long-term storage at 4000 Seymour Place is for 10 years and the Museum has another five years left under this agreement.
The current storage arrangement at Ogden Point is renewed on an annual basis and includes a clause that the Museum may have to remove the collection with only one weeks’ notice. This storage arrangement has been in place for many years with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Western Stevedoring and they have both been very helpful and supportive of the Museum.
How large will the new proposed museum be?
The new ‘Class A’ Museum is proposed to 80,000 sq. ft. Class A refers to the fact that Museum will have climate (air quality, humidity and temperature) controls to ensure that the collection is properly protected.
Will there be free parking?
There is free outdoor parking planned for the site along with limited underground parking.
Are you looking for any other partners for the project?
The Museum is open to exploring collaborative partnerships with other Federal and Provincial Government Departments interested in having access to long-term storage. This could include First Nations interests as well other groups such as Parks Canada.
Will you have all of the maritime artefact collection on display?
The long-term goal is to have most of the collection out on public display.
Will you be open seven days a week?
The museum is expected to be open everyday of the year to serve the public with the exception of Christmas Day.
What types of public and educational programs will be offered?
The Museum will be offering a range of onsite and offsite school programs as well as a range of virtual programs. These programs will continue to be curriculum-based and designed to assist educators in delivering up-to-date relevant maritime related content.
What types of new public and educational programs will be offered in the new immersive planetarium theatre?
The domed planetarium theatre will offer a range of programs including ocean navigation using the night sky, environmental programs related to ocean preservation, astronomy programs and human-interest stories. The theatre will feature retractable seating to allow for the maximum range of uses including hosting activities such as musical concerts and even weddings.
Will the new Museum have traveling exhibitions?
The new Museum is proposing the development of a new 10,000 sq. ft. travelling exhibition area. This will allow the Museum to host world-class exhibitions from other parts of Canada as well as international exhibits. The Museum will also have its own fabrication shop and will be able to develop its own exhibits that will also be able to travel to other locations in the future.
How will you be making the museum financially self-sustaining?
It is anticipated that once the new arts and cultural project is complete, revenue generated from office rental space; conference and penthouse rentals; cafeteria, catering, restaurant and gift shop sales; sky-deck tours and guided tours; public admissions; school, youth and adult programs; public events; and theatre programming shall provide sufficient income to sustain the overall operation.
The Museum will own the Pacific Maritime Centre and is planning to oversee the operations of the entire facility once the project is finished.
Are you reaching out to other community organisations?
The MMBC is open to collaborating with other arts and cultural organisations interested in working on the project. The long-term goal is to create a vibrant new arts and cultural hub in the Westshore that will benefit everyone in the Greater Victoria region.
Will there be key tie-ins to educational institutions and users?
Yes, the MMBC will provide educational opportunities, tours, training, research, traveling exhibits, conference, and commercial resources for public, private and home-schooled students, for First Nation communities and for post-secondary institutions both locally and Canada-wide through distance education.
Particularly immediate, will be the opportunity to develop collaborative educational programs with the new high school being built adjacent to the PMC. This can help foster training opportunities between the MMBC and the planned Langford Performing Arts Centre.
What is the purpose of the office tower?
The proposed office tower consists of six 15,000 sq. ft. floor plates capable of accommodating up to 130 people on each floor. This office space will be leased out to government, crown corporations and professional groups interested in having access to AAA office space with secure parking and onsite daycare services.
How will this complex become a focal community and cultural centre for Greater Victoria's rapidly growing Westshore communities?
The PMC has been conceived as an integrated cultural community and commercial hub for the City of Langford and for the surrounding communities.
Included in its planning and urban design are public spaces for arrivals and gatherings such as a grand entry plaza and generous space allowances for the lobby of the MMBC and Langford Performing Arts Centre.
Will you be able to easily get to the new proposed site?
The site has easy road access and the Museum will be trying to secure a bus transit location close to the new facility.
How can I help with this project?
Please provide us with your contact details and areas of interest.
Where can I donate?
You can make a direct donation to the Pacific Maritime Centre project. The Museum is currently raising funds to support the ongoing planning and development work for the Museum and your financial support is greatly appreciated.
Can I request my donation go to a specific part of the development plans?
Yes, when the capital campaign begins, there will be naming rights available for certain locations within the building and there will also be a donor’s wall in recognition of the members, patrons and corporations who have supported the overall project.
Your donation is greatly appreciated and will help the Museum establish a new permanent long-term home to protect our maritime heritage and to offer the public a range of new maritime programs that celebrate are past, present and future.