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Project Description

U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay on Coromont Island, BC is a facility built in 1980 with a Big House, exhibit galleries and support spaces. The building was expanded in 2000 in order to accommodate a larger gift shop and administration area.

The long-term plan is to add two additional Big House style structures to cater for expanded cultural programs and conferences. The new Exhibit Hall as described below, is one of the two planned. The addition will include interactive cultural displays and adjoining support spaces.

Space List Summary - Addition

Exhibit Hall @ 40’ x 50’ =
2,000 SF
Kitchen @ 15’ x 20’ =
300 SF
Dancer Prep @ 10’ x 20’ =
200 SF
2,500 SF
+ Net/gross multiplier @ 35% 875 SF
875 SF
Gross Building Areas  
3,375 SF +/-

Program Overview

Gatherings are likely to take place within the new Exhibit Hall facility daily between July and September, and weekly during the rest of the year. There are a few distinct groups that will be utilising the space:
Cruise Ship Visitors

Groups of 25+/- will enter the facility through the main museum entry, where they will be greeted with an introductory video screening. The visitors will then make their way down through the main gallery towards the existing Big House Gallery. They will enter the new Exhibit Hall through the Big House Gallery, where they will watch an exhibit involving multimedia, video projections, and a canoe which rises through the floor. The visitors will exit back through the Big House Gallery and then along the east wall ot the existing galleries to the main entry/ exit. Food for these groups may be incorporated into the program, in the form of a sampling of traditionally smoked salmon.

Conference Groups

Conference groups of 75-100 will enter directly into the Exhibit Hall via a new pathway along the beach-front side of the two Big Houses. During their event, conference groups will have access to view exhibits in the existing Big House Gallery, though they will not have access to the main galleries.

Once inside the Exhibit Hall, conference groups will be served a buffetstyle feast. Visitors will eat at tables and chairs arranged between the massive cedar columns in the centre of the space and will be entertained with a traditional dance performance. Some food will be prepared and cooked outside on the beach, such as salmon, clams and crabs. Salads, potatoes, desserts, coffee and tea preparation will take place in the kitchen.

Beach-front facade of existing Big House Gallery. A new path will lead conference visitors along the front to the new Exhibit Hall beyond


Locals will use the new Exhibit Hall and facilities for various purposes, including:
- A monthly or bi-monthly community feast with up to about 200 people
- Training community youth in traditions and cooking

Other Groups

School groups of up to 200 may use the new Exhibit Hall for educational purposes.
These groups will not be served food as part of their visit.

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