rennie museum is proud to share that Bob Rennie and his family’s historic landmark in Vancouver’s Chinatown, the Wing Sang building, will soon be home to the first Chinese Canadian Museum in the country. In a press conference held on February 11th, BC’s Premier John Horgan and the Hon. Melanie Mark, BC’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, announced the provincial government will provide funding to the Chinese Canadian Museum Society of British Columbia to acquire the building, with additional support by Bob himself. “The rennie foundation will donate a leadership gift of $7,800,000 to ensure the Chinese Canadian Museum is sustainable in its mission”, Bob said.

The Wing Sang was in poor condition when Bob acquired it in 2004 and, with local architects Francl Architecture and mcfarlane green biggar architects + design, embarked on a 5-year heritage renovation to create an award winning exhibition space for rennie collection and to serve as rennie corporate head office. “It needed somebody with passion to protect it,” he said. “You don’t protect this with a calculator, it’s with passion. It really was part of the fabric of our family, and our company.”

In describing the significance of this news, Grace Wong, board chair of the Chinese Canadian Museum Society, said “In terms of a place in Chinatown that you can say is both historic and yet restored to a level where you can feel this is museum/art gallery quality — oh my goodness. It’s a space where we can come in and start having exhibitions”. She thanked Bob “for being such a wonderful custodian for this very special building and its history.”

“The contributions of Chinese Canadians to this province have been invaluable,” Premier John Horgan said. “The Chinese Canadian Museum responds to the community’s long-standing desire for a place to share stories of achievement and shine a light on injustice. The museum will be an important place for all British Columbians, connecting the past to the present and future generations.”

As someone whose art collection “is steeped in social justice, raising voices of those who are not heard”, Bob feels to “step aside” for the Chinese Canadian Museum and “step up” with the financial gift “is just a continuum of what we do with our collection. Our family’s duty to the Wing Sang has always been to be a good custodian,” says Bob, “We are honoured and excited to have Vancouver Chinatown’s oldest structure now celebrated as home to the Chinese Canadian Museum for all Canadians to experience this piece of history and the journey of Chinese Canadians.”

Since its inaugural exhibition in October 2009 featuring Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum, rennie museum has presented rotating monographic and group exhibitions drawn exclusively from rennie collection, often with a focus on social justice. The numerous exhibiting artists included Glenn Brown, Rodney Graham, Barkley L. Hendricks, Richard Jackson, Kerry James Marshall, Yoko Ono, Lorna Simpson, Ian Wallace and Rebecca Warren.

rennie museum will present two compelling final exhibitions before it concludes its 13-year journey in our beloved Wing Sang at the end of this year. rennie collection continues to be active, visible globally and continue with artist support and art loans to museums around the world. As a private collection and a publicly accessible institution, we remain committed to sharing and engaging with our community. We will reposition in the region, faithful to our artist-centric ethos.