Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced the opening of its new state-of-the-art Preservation Storage Facility in Gatineau, Quebec.
“This new building will ensure the safekeeping of documents that bear witness to our collective past, giving us the chance to continue to learn important lessons from them. We are proud today to officially open the latest federal infrastructure built in accordance with new Canadian environmental requirements. Thank you to LAC and all those who helped make this project possible,” said Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Completed earlier this year, the new facility enhances LAC’s storage capacity and provides optimum environmental conditions for the long-term preservation and safekeeping of Canada’s documentary heritage. For example, the overall design of the building provides the storage conditions required to preserve the documents for 500 years. In other words, a new piece of paper stored under these conditions in 2022 should still be readable in 2522.
“Twenty-five years ago, LAC was opening its Preservation Centre. Today, we are proud to continue our tradition of excellence by adding this state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly building that meets the highest international standards and norms for preservation. The new Preservation Storage Facility will help LAC to effectively preserve Canada’s significant documents for current and future generations,” said Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
The simple, sleek design of the new facility belies a technological and ecological gem. This facility is the first net-zero carbon archival preservation facility in the Americas, the first special purpose federal facility built to meet the requirements of Canada’s Greening Government Strategy, and the largest automated archival facility in the world. Each of the six vaults is equipped with an automated storage and retrieval system. This system consists of a lift and a crane, and it ensures that the archival containers being removed or returned are safe, secure and accessible.
Located beside and linked to LAC’s renowned Preservation Centre, the new Preservation Storage Facility reinforces the reputation of LAC as a global leader in the documentary heritage community. Together, the two buildings now form the LAC Preservation Campus. Visitors and passersby can now learn more about the two buildings and the work being done inside, through interpretative signage installed along the highly used pathway in the surrounding greenspace.
“On behalf of the Plenary Properties Gatineau team, we are honoured to be partnering with Library and Archives Canada to preserve Canadian heritage. The state-of-the-art Preservation Storage Facility delivered under the Gatineau 2 PPP Project has set a new benchmark for archival facilities worldwide. Congratulations to the entire team for their steadfast commitment to this exceptional project,” said Brian Budden, President and CEO, Plenary Americas.
- The cubic shape of the facility minimizes its footprint and maximizes the storage space. The vaults have storage space equivalent to eight and a half Olympic-size swimming pools.
- More than 590,000 containers of published and archival materials (hard copy), microfilms and motion-picture films are being moved into the facility.
- The Gatineau 2 project is the result of a public-private partnership with Plenary Properties Gatineau. This project aims to allow LAC to increase its storage capacity, improve its preservation infrastructure and reduce its total environmental footprint.
- The construction of the Preservation Storage Facility is part of the Gatineau 2 project, which also includes the enhancement of some of the Preservation Centre vaults, and the maintenance and management of both buildings for 30 years.
- Construction of the new facility began in August 2019 and was completed in June 2022.
- The texture of the 416 concrete panels that cover the facility represents the geological composition of the ground on which the building sits.
- The Gatineau 2 project received the prestigious Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships’ 2022 Gold Award for Innovation and Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships in the Infrastructure category on Nov. 21, 2022, as well other design and construction awards.
- The cost of the implementation of the Gatineau 2 project and the construction of the Preservation Storage Facility is estimated at $330 million.
Featured image: (Library and Archives Canada)