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New Year, New Photos

Happy 2015! The Museum is celebrating the start of the New Year with demolition and construction! Today I’ll show you some of the big changes we’ve undergone since I last wrote.

Rudolph P. Bratty Hall

Large hall with two Canadian flags hanging over several rows of wooden benches and a desk with the word Immigration written on it.

In July 2014, the Rudolph P. Bratty Hall was filled with our exhibits showcasing the Pier 21 years. Here you can see the Pier 21 model, the immigration hall benches and immigration desk and (very faintly) the ship façade of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Theatre.

In order to replace the exhibits, contractors had to deconstruct the entire exhibition. In this picture, you can see that the benches and model have been removed providing clear sight lines from the entrance of the exhibition to the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Theatre.

Large hall undergoing major construction with tools, boxes and machinery strewn over the floor.

Neato fact:

Prior to demolition, our Exhibitions, Collections and Research team donated items that could no longer be used to organizations throughout the region. Items that have new homes include projectors, lights, sound equipment, benches and cases. A total of 16 organizations participated in our “new to you” donation program. We can’t wait to see what they do with their “new” items!

Piles of planks that had been used for framing.

The removal of the fabricated railcar was a huge job. After the electrical components were disconnected, our contractors had to remove the train structure. This picture shows what was left once the train was removed. That’s a lot of framing!

Neato fact:

We weren’t entirely sure what was underneath the train prior to removing it. The original railcar structure was installed in 1999 and had a sealed bottom that connected to the concrete floor. In the planning stages, the team had concerns that the floor under the train wasn’t finished and that we would have to pour and seal concrete. This would be an expensive and time consuming addition to the project. Luckily, the concrete was finished and once the railcar was removed, we found ourselves with what appeared to be a brand new floor! In Kenneth C. Rowe Hall, we weren’t as lucky. Details below.

With the train and exhibits removed, contractors were left with the big job of recycling and disposing the debris.

Before and after comparison of the same room, one showing lots of construction, the other shows after construction is almost complete.

After sorting through the materials (remember the 3 Rs?) the largest pieces of debris were removed first. Contractors loaded as much as they could on carts and transported materials to the garbage shoot from the second floor (where the exhibition spaces are) to a truck in the parking lot below. Once the trucks were full, they took materials to be recycled or, if materials could not be reused, to the waste disposal site.

A clean space! Can you spot all of the differences from the first picture?

Large empty room with façade of a ship at the back.


Kenneth C. Rowe Hall and Chrysler Canada Pavilion

The changes have been even more dramatic in the current Kenneth C. Rowe Hall and Chrysler Canada Pavilion!

July 2014 was a great month for weddings and daytime events.

Nicely decorated banquet table on a stage with decorated round tables on the floor, and flags of the world hang from the ceiling.

The removal of the stage started with the deconstruction of the stage walls and access to the stage floor. Similarly to the railcar, our team wasn’t entirely sure what would be underneath the stage once it was removed. The plywood flooring was removed and a sound insulation was discovered. Between the insulation and the floor there were cinder blocks to hold the stage up. None of this was a huge surprise, until we discovered just how many blocks were used...

Before and after photo of same room, showing cement floor intact, then all the cement blocks piled high.

If you wanted to walk an elephant (or plane) on the stage, you probably could have!

Large demolished room with tons of bricks, metal materials and yellow tape with the word caution.

The demolition of the stage included removing the walls that led towards Shed 22 (our expansion space). Here you can see all of the cinder blocks that were used to hold up the stage, as well as a peek into the expansion space.

Large demolished room with tons of bricks and metal materials.

Unlike the railcar, the flooring underneath the stage was the original steel/concrete mix from when the shed was first used to move goods off of ships. Once all of the cinder bricks are removed (including the half wall you see in this photo), a new floor will be poured to level with the existing floor.

Interior of large room with work men moving about.

The new Kenneth C. Rowe Hall has been framed and drywall is going up.

A red scissor lift sits in the middle of a large room.

In order to reach the ceiling, there are a number of scissor lifts onsite.

Neato fact:

After a careful review and inspection by a structural engineer, we discovered that the second story concrete and steel could support a train’s weight! We have had 20 scissor lifts (averaging around 5000 lbs!) in the future Canadian Immigration Story Hall at one time!

We have to give a big high five to our general contractor and all of the folks who have been working behind the scenes. The project is well underway because of the cooperation and teamwork amongst the work groups. I look forward to sharing more photos and updates with you soon!