November 27, 2020
Winnipeg, Manitoba (November 26, 2020) – The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada is very pleased to share that the construction of its new building is more than 50% complete, and despite pandemic restrictions the project is currently on time and on budget. Exhibition development is well under way, and we are anticipating a soft opening in December 2021 with a Grand Opening in early 2022.
On April 27, 2020, construction partner PCL commenced with breaking ground on the 86,000 square foot building at 2088 Wellington Avenue. Situated on the terminal loop at the Winnipeg James Armstrong International Airport, the football field-sized building will house a world-class collection of bush planes and modern aircraft. The health and safety of construction crews are top priority and PCL and the trades are working within COVID-19 guidelines provided by the Canadian Construction Association including the use of cloth face masks. No cases of COVID-19 have been reported on site.
The Museum is working with internationally renowned exhibition firm Reich & Petch Design to develop the galleries. Reich & Petch have worked on notable projects such as the Barbados Concorde Experience, Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, the ROM Egypt Gallery, as well as multiple galleries at the Smithsonian.
Numerous research efforts have been undertaken in the past year including visioning sessions with partners and stakeholders, visitor experience (and new audience) surveys and focus groups, as well as engaging communities such as women in aviation, Indigenous groups and the aviation industry. The Museum has brought on board guest curator Dr. Niigaan Sinclair to help lead collaborative efforts with Indigenous communities.
The Museum is currently operating out of a 27,000 sq ft warehouse as exhibition development is under way. The warehouse enables the Museum to house eight aircraft and hundreds of artifacts under one roof for restoration and research.
“We have a remarkable story to share in our galleries,” says Museum Curator, Davide Montebruno. “The Museum story has essentially two chapters; the first half of the Museum’s exhibitions centre on pre-1950s Winnipeg, a gateway city, from which bush pilots and entrepreneurs would launch a national aviation industry. In the second half of the Museum, in the post-1950s era, visitors will see how our aviation industry, located at the heart of the continent, ushered in a new era with Manitoba as a global leader in aerospace development. We hope visitors will come away educated, entertained, and inspired!”
Climb Aboard! Capital & Endowment Campaign
Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Ross Robinson and Blain King, and Honorary Co-Chairs Hartley Richardson and Arthur Mauro, the $46 million Climb Aboard! Capital & Endowment Campaign to raise the funds for the new Museum has reached $39.2 million, or 85% of its goal. This project would not be possible without the generosity of many donors including $17.8 million from the private sector, $10 million from the Government of Canada, as well as $11.4 million from the Province of Manitoba (includes $1.4 endowment.)
The Museum is actively seeking supporters as it enters the Final Approach phase, to secure the final $6.8 million for the Climb Aboard! Capital & Endowment Campaign.
His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, KG GCVO ADC(P)
Hartley T. Richardson, O.C., O.M. | Dr. Arthur V. Mauro, O.C., O.M., Q.C.
Ross Robinson | Blain King
David T. Barnard, OM, PhD, FRSC | James W. Burns, O.C., O.M. (posthumous) | Charles S. Coffey, O.C. | Hon. Gary Filmon, P.C., O.C., O.M. | Ruth and Brian Hastings | Duncan M. Jessiman | Edward Kennedy | Hubert T. Kleysen | Fred Mannix, O.C. | Peter Mansbridge, O.C. | Greg McDougall | Raymond McFeetors | Andrew Paterson | Dr. Donald S. Reimer | Calin Rovinescu | Maxwell W. Ward, O.C., A.O.E. (posthumous) | Bill Wehrle (posthumous)
Dean Alfonso | Gary Bell | Barry Bembridge | Lynn Bishop | Don Boitson | Bruce Emberley | David Filmon | Helen Halliday | Andrew Hopkinson | David Johnston | Ron Jonkman | Kristin Long | James D. MacDonald | Barry Rempel | Terry Slobodian | Gary Timlick | Rennie Zegalski
About the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada
The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada was founded in 1974 to preserve and share the stories of Canada’s aviation history through exhibits of bush planes, military aircraft and some of Canada’s earliest passenger planes. Its collection includes the remains of nearly 100 heritage aircraft including Canada’s first helicopter, the prototype Fairchild Super 71, and the Junkers JU-52/1m “Flying Boxcar” which can be seen nowhere else in the world. The new Royal Aviation Museum will share the stories of Manitoba’s earliest aviators and the birth of commercial aviation in Canada, while also providing STEAM based interactive experiences for visitors of all ages. The new Museum will be located at 2088 Wellington Avenue at the James A. Richardson International Airport and is set to open in early 2022.