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Construction comes out of the ground at the site for the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment Project

March 24, 2016
Announcements and Events

Ottawa – Construction is about to rise above ground at the site for the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment project. With the structure of the underground parking garage now complete and the structure of the concourse level set for completion in mid-April, Mayor Jim Watson joined the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, MPP for Ottawa-Vanier and Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor Mathieu Fleury today to celebrate the start of the next stage of construction.

Project partners including representatives from the Ottawa Art Gallery, Arts Court, the University of Ottawa, EBC Inc., DevMcGill and Group Germain Hotels also attended.

When the new facility at the intersection of Mackenzie King Bridge and Waller Street is completed, the Ottawa Art Gallery will relocate there from its current home inside the City-owned and operated Arts Court. It will share the site with a private-sector development: a 23-storey tower that will house a boutique hotel below residential condominiums. This project represents a public-private investment of over $100 million to rejuvenate the downtown core.

The structure will continue to rise above Ottawa’s skyline over the course of the summer. Structural work on the portion that will house the Ottawa Art Gallery should be completed in late summer 2016, with the tower following in the late fall.

Besides the gallery, the new complex will also house a 120-seat theatre and classroom space for the University of Ottawa. Space within Arts Court will be renovated once the Ottawa Art Gallery is relocated. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2017 to coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, while renovations inside Arts Court will finish in 2018.

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The partners are saying:

“An investment in the arts in the capital is an investment in our city, and this project promises to be a focal point for the visual, performing, literary and media arts, and an anchor for Ottawa’s growing arts precinct. Our continuing work with the many partners involved in this project will result in an economic boost to the businesses and services that will benefit from local patrons and from new and returning visitors to our city.”

— _Mayor Jim Watson

“I am delighted to see this construction project go forward in my riding of Ottawa-Vanier. As you know, the Ontario government attaches great importance to the development of the arts and culture as they are major economic forces that generate $22 billion annually and support more than 280,000 jobs in our province.”

—_The Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, MPP for Ottawa-Vanier

“I am pleased to report that ArtHaus condominiums are selling at a brisk pace, because condo purchasers are inspired by the daily progress of construction at the Arts Court development. Consumers can see what this viable downtown Ottawa community will actually look like, by visiting the ArtHaus Sales Gallery Centre at 264 Rideau Street. Slated for completion in 2017, our 89 private ArtHaus residences start on the 15th floor, sitting atop Ottawa’s first Le Germain Hotel, and offering incredible views of the city.”

—_Stéphane Côté, President of DevMcGill

“As the foundation for the first floor of the OAG Expansion is poured, our dream for a state-of-the-art, purpose-built civic gallery is coming true. The dynamic interplay and connections between a new Ottawa Art Gallery, a redeveloped Arts Court facility, the University of Ottawa, as well as a Le Germain Hotel and ArtHaus condominiums, make this the first mixed-use, public and private, gallery complex in Canada.”

— _Alexandra Badzak, Director and CEO, Ottawa Art Gallery

“This new facility will be crucial to developing much-anticipated English and French conservatory-style acting programs that lead to a bachelor’s degree. It will also give our students a chance to enhance the vitality of Ottawa’s theatre scene. In fact, I expect that even professional dance companies and certain festivals will also want to use this exceptional creative space.”

— _Joël Beddows, Director, Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa

“It’s an exciting time for Group Germain Hotels as we are about to open the doors of the new Alt Hotel Ottawa, our first property here in the nation’s capital. The addition of the Le Germain Hotel that will open in 2017 will definitely consolidate our already flourishing relationship with the city of Ottawa.”

— _Jean-Yves Germain, co-president, Group Germain Hotels

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For more information:

City of Ottawa
Media contact

Public inquiries:

Province of Ontario

Thérèse Goneau


Ottawa Art Gallery

Melinda Buijs

Manager, Communications and Marketing

613-233-8699 ext. 225

University of Ottawa

Mila Roy

Media Relations Officer



David Eisenstadt


416-696-9900 ext. 36  

Gea Koleva


416-696-9900 ext. 26

Group Germain Hotels

Julie Tremblay

National Public Relations Manager

514-954-0702 / 514-969-2008

Group Germain media kit

EBC Inc.

Daniel Legault

Regional Director, Construction

613-564-0600 ext. 1105

Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment Project


The project

The OAG Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment project is part of a long-standing vision for the revitalization of Ottawa’s downtown. This exciting city-building initiative includes a new, world-class Ottawa Art Gallery, renovated spaces within Arts Court, a theatre and classrooms for the University of Ottawa, and a private-sector boutique hotel and condominium tower. 

Construction is progressing well. Since the summer of 2015, workers have removed 62 million kilograms of rock from the site – roughly the same weight as 40,900 Toyota Camrys. The structure for the two-level underground parking garage is nearly finished, with the completion of the 3,350 square metre concourse level (roughly half the size of City Hall) anticipated in mid-April.

Construction facts and figures:

  • An Ottawa 2017 pin was placed into the building foundation in December to recognize that the new OAG will open during Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.
  • Following heavy snowfalls, a tower crane lowered tarps into the open excavation area. Workers then shovelled snow onto the tarps, which were lifted out, dumped into trucks, and removed from the site.
  • The tower crane is currently 71 metres tall.  An extension will be built onto the crane later in 2016, extending the height to 100 metres, which is taller than the Peace Tower. 
  • Right now, there are 44 workers on site. That number is expected to grow to 80 this summer as the building structure begins to take shape.
  • More than 323,638 kilograms of rebar have been used for the structure – roughly the same weight as 23 standard OC Transpo buses.
  • Workers have poured 3,446 cubic metres of concrete so far, which would fill locks one and two as well as more than half of lock three on the Rideau Canal. By the time the project is finished, approximately 14,851 cubic metres of concrete will have been used.

What’s coming up

The new OAG will open in 2017. The hotel and condominiums will follow soon after. Milestones for 2016 include: 

  • Late summer: Finalization of the detailed design for the OAG while construction is underway, which is a unique aspect of this design-build project
  • Late summer: Completion of the OAG building structure
  • Fall: Completion of the hotel and condominium tower building structure
  • End of 2016: Connection between the new structure and the existing Arts Court building


The partners

This project is the result of an exciting collaboration between partners. Here’s what some of them are up to:

  • The Ottawa Art Gallery’s capital fundraising campaign, Art Now-l’Art Ici, is now well underway.
  • Group Germain Hotels will soon be opening Alt Hotel, its first hotel in Ottawa
  • Dev McGill recently opened its sales office for ArtHaus condominiums on Rideau Street

Follow the progress

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