Have you ever wondered how our Canadian documentary heritage is protected and preserved? Library and Archives Canada's mandate is to maintain this heritage to benefit present and future generations. The goal is to contribute to all Canadians' cultural, social, and economic futures by facilitating the acquisition, preservation, and diffusion of knowledge while preserving history and memories.
The Library and Archives Canada Preservation Centre, located in Gatineau, Quebec, opened in 1997. Its sole purpose is to preserve Canada's documentary heritage. This facility provides optimal storage with forty-eight vaults, each measuring 350 metres designed to protect documents from fire and contaminants. Installing airtight-watertight flush access doors tested for air infiltration and water penetration is ideal for use in laboratories where an airtight/watertight seal is required. Fire-Rated Insulated Access Doors can help to protect essential documents and archives should fire break out. Dedicated lab technicians and preservation experts work to protect documents, publications, and archival records. Preservation experts work in laboratories directly above the vault structure, providing conservation treatment, preservation copying, and digitization services. The team continues digitizing its collection to achieve greater accessibility.
A new state-of-the-art expansion project will provide additional preservation and storage space for archiving purposes due to space requirements. The ultra-modern facility will offer increased capacity to store Canadian archives and resolve anticipated critical storage space issues.
This new facility will set a global standard, similar to the existing Preservation Centre, Canada's pride, and an example to memory institutions worldwide.
The new Preservation Centre will have high-tech automated archive storage and retrieval system that will preserve our national collection under optimal preservation conditions.
What's unique about this structure is that it will be the first federal building constructed according to Canada's Greening Government Strategy, a net-zero carbon facility dedicated to archival preservation. The new preservation centre will feature:
- Minimal carbon emissions
- Building design and efficiency measures to minimize carbon emissions
- Use of carbon-free fuel for energy needs
- Building materials using minimal embodied carbon
By prioritizing its sustainable, green approach, Library and Archives Canada have already reduced its environmental footprint over the past decade. It has successfully optimized the space used and cut back its total area by 113,000 square metres.
Work got underway in August 2019, and construction continued through 2020 with a completion date slated for 2022.
Total costs are estimated at $330 million to complete the new facility's construction and optimize the current vaults, not including operating and maintenance costs for both centres for the next three decades.
Plenary Properties Gatineau (PPG) consortium is managing the project. They will handle the new facility's design and construction, enhance the existing Preservation Centre, and maintain both buildings for thirty years.
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