Royal BC Museum starts construction on $270M ‘state-of-the-art’ facility in Colwood

Royal BC Museum starts construction on $270M 'state-of-the-art' facility in Colwood

Construction has begun on the Royal BC Museum’s (RBCM) collections and research building (CRB), which will house the province’s collections and BC Archives in a “state-of-the-art facility,” according to the B.C. government.

The new 164,000-square-foot building, located within Royal Bay in Colwood, is a step further to fruition with construction now underway, the province said Wednesday.

In an announcement, the government says the CRB is a mass timber building that, once complete, will provide the public with a space to view collections and archives. It says about 1,000 jobs will be created during construction.

“It will improve access for the public as only one per cent of the province’s vast collection is on display,” reads the announcement.

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The collections and archives “help us to share the stories of our cultures and communities,” said Tracey Drake, acting CEO at the RBCM.

“It’s vital to ensure they’re kept safe for future generations,” said Drake in a release, while also highlighting the building’s research labs and learning spaces.

“This exceptional facility will also provide a window into the world of the museum, enabling visitors to see our paleontologists, entomologists, botanists, zoologists and more, engaged in active research projects.”

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Schematic rendering of public entry plaza. Photo:

Before construction started, Shaker Faith workers led a ceremonial land blessing, which saw Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Minister Lana Popham in attendance.

Popham said she was honoured to be there.

“It’s an important day as we move forward on a new collections and archives building that will properly store and safeguard our province’s shared history, priceless artifacts and archives,” she said.

“I look forward to working with the Royal BC Museum, Maple Reinders, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, and the City of Colwood on this important new building.”

It’s all part of the RBCM modernization project, and the province says capital project costs are estimated at $270 million.

Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd. was awarded a $204.8-million contract for the design and construction of the building, which will sit on a 3.2-hectare piece of land.

The province first announced the CRB project in 2020 and, at the time, said it would likely be complete in summer 2024.

In Wednesday’s update, the province now says it “anticipates substantial completion in October 2025 (and) total completion in January 2026…”

The CRB should open to the public in summer 2026.


Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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