The McCord Stewart Museum $15 million facelift, thanks to an extraordinary pledge of $15 million for a new improved museum from the Emmanuelle Gattuso Foundation. This represents the largest single private monetary donation to a Quebec Museum in over 30 years. The new establishment will expand the current site in the downtown core by building on the museum’s west flank onto Victoria Street and on a nearby lot on President Kennedy Avenue. The proposed expansion and renovation will enable the social history museum to meet its needs for additional space for over 1.5 million artifacts and create a world-class institution for generations of Montrealers.
McCord Stewart Museum situated in the Golden Square Mile
“Although I have lived in Toronto for many years, I am still a Montrealer at heart,” Gattuso said at a recent press conference at the McCord Stewart Museum situated in the nostalgic “Golden Square Mile” opposite McGill University. “This donation is in memory of my parents, Lina and Pasquale Gattuso, Montrealers of Italian origin who chose this city to raise their family and start a food business that still bears their name and has thrived across the country since 1936.” She hopes that the project will break ground very soon and different levels of government will throw their support behind it, as well as private citizens.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Madam Gattuso for her incredible generosity and for the vision and love she has shown our city,” said Suzanne Sauvage, President, and Chief Executive Officer of the McCord Stewart Museum. The planned new museum will be able to accommodate twice the number of visitors and triple the number of students each year to its educational facilities and have enough space to store and expand its historical collections dating from pre-colonial times to today, one of the largest collections in North America.
The McCord Stewart Museum has been working closely with the City of Montreal which is granting the right to build on Victoria Street. The current site was selected after conducting a feasibility study. An architectural competition will be launched for the approximately 300,000 square-foot project which will preserve the Percy Nobbs heritage building and the west façade of the McCord Museum. The new building will house three recently merged museums – the McCord Museum, the Stewart Museum, and the Fashion Museum – under one roof and is being billed as a legacy project one which the City of Montreal chose to get behind after some initial disagreements with the McCord Museum.
“Our administration believes that it is important to build this new museum,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said. “It will be a major attraction for our city and a source of pride for all Montrealers. We are pleased to be able to help advance the project by granting the right to use Victoria Street.” The McCord Stewart Museum is located in the heart of the city’s museum district halfway between the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée d’art Contemporain, as well as being near the downtown universities, the McGill metro station, the upcoming electric train (REM) station, and the future Place McGill College.
The Mille carré doré as the Golden Square Mile is known in French is a fashionable swath of downtown real estate and commerce, a magnet for tourists and culture aficionados with its numerous art galleries, high-end boutiques, and fine restaurants on Sherbrooke Street and its environs. So the planned expansion and renovation on the current site was an intuitive choice.”We truly could not have found a better site and are very grateful to the City of Montreal for its support and open-minded attitude,” noted Monique Jérôme-Forget, Chair of the McCord Stewart Museum Board of Trustees.
The new museum will be participatory and interactive in its mission and design reflecting the cultural diversity of Montreal while capitalizing on the creativity and dynamism of Quebec’s largest city.