National Arts Centre to get facelift for 2017

The federal government announced Wednesday it will spend $110.5 million on an “architectural renewal” of the National Arts Centre.

The goal is to have a new entrance facing Elgin Street ready in time for Canada’s year-long 150th birthday party in 2017, with all the work scheduled to be complete by the end of that year.

The money comes from a $5.8-billion fund Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in November to build and renew infrastructure across the country.

“The NAC is a national treasure – a living symbol of the performing arts in Canada, and a Crown asset that needs to be restored,” Heritage Minister Shelly Glover said in a statement. “We are proud to renew one of our country’s most important cultural institutions.”

Once the work is complete, the NAC will have improved performance spaces, public areas for education and events, and will be fully accessible to those with mobility issues.

“The new atrium and entrance of the NAC will be warm and inviting, and will embrace the nation’s capital for the first time,” NAC president and CEO Peter Herrndorf said in a statement. “Visitors have often remarked to me that it’s unfortunate the NAC turns its back on the city. With this new design, we will finally face the city.”

A Toronto architect firm, Diamond and Schmitt Architects, made it through the competition and will be submitting a schematic concept design.