Maritime Museum of B.C. won't be moving to new complex in Langford, after all

The Maritime Museum of B.C. has pulled out of plans to establish a new location in Langford, citing an economic climate that no longer makes it feasible.

The museum had hoped to build a new 80,000-square-foot space on McCallum Road that would have been part of a complex that includes a 1,200-seat performing arts theatre, conference centre and office tower, but now says it will look for a location on the water near downtown Victoria.

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“Langford offered the museum land and municipal staff support in the effort to provide the museum with a permanent home. Langford’s innovative and bold approach to this development is greatly appreciated,” said museum president Jamie Webb in a statement. “The museum believes in Langford’s bold vision to develop a cultural complex that includes a performing arts centre and strongly supports them in this initiative.”

The museum has been leasing a small, temporary space in downtown Victoria since it was forced to leave its home in Bastion Square in 2015. It currently operates from 3,000 square feet at 634 Humboldt St., meaning most of its 35,000-artifact collection is in climate-controlled storage supplied by the province.

Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, it has shifted its programming online and has created digital exhibits.

Executive director David Leverton announced his retirment in March. Leverton, who was with the museum for five years and spearheaded the partnership with the City of Langford to establish the $87-million performing arts centre and museum near Costco, told the museum’s board he wanted to pursue other interests.

Langford had agreed to provide the land and services and pay for the $30-million theatre through fundraising and amenity fees charged to developers. The museum would have been responsible for financing the $57-million exhibit space.

“The City of Langford looked forward to welcoming the Maritime Museum to Langford, however we understand and support their decision to seek out a waterfront location.” said Mayor Stew Young. “We wish them all the best with this project moving forward.”

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