Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ottawa kills portrait gallery

TheStar.com Canada Ottawa kills portrait gallery

The Toronto Star reports today that the Conservative government has ended the project for a National Portrait gallery that had been launched by the then Liberal government in 2001. Since 2001 the National Portrait gallery has been suffering from bureaucratic ineptitude and cost overuns (as pointed out in an earlier post of mine on "The Art of Rant" here).

The death of the National Portrait gallery is not surprising since all that has come about after last year's federal request for private developers to tender ideas for the gallery was silence. Basically the idea was for private developers propose how a city like Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and others would host the National Portrait gallery with the federal government choosing the best idea and funding it from there. This was despite the former United States embassy, sitting directly across Wellington Street from Parliament Hill, sitting empty and originally slated to host the gallery.

Before the Conservative govenment floated that idea, the Portrait gallery had been slaighted for the old US embassy which the Americans vacated in 2001 to their new digs on Sussex Drive in the Byward Market of Ottawa. The gallery, as announced by the Liberal government at that time was supposed to be open in 2005 in the embassy, but nothing ever came of it except the old American flag being lowered and a Canadian flag going up and some overpriced paintwork on the walls.

In the end, it seems all the idea of a National Portrait gallery turned out to be was a waste of a couple million of taxpayers dollars and valiant dreams that went nowhere.

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