New Thunder Bay Courthouse Officially Complete

THUNDER BAY, ON, April 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Construction of the Thunder Bay Courthouse is complete, improving justice services for local residents.

Madeleine Meilleur, Attorney General of Ontario, was joined by Cathy Rodger, Councillor, Fort William First Nation on behalf of Georjann Morriseau, Chief, Fort William First Nation; Stan Beardy, Ontario Regional Chief; Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Thunder Bay – Superior North; Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and MPP for Thunder BayAtikokan; Keith Hobbs, Mayor of Thunder Bay;  and other local dignitaries, at a ribbon-cutting celebration today to mark the completion of the project.

The new facility, located between Brodie and Archibald streets, south of Miles Street, in Thunder Bay's downtown south core, consolidates the Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice, previously operating in separate locations. The multi-storey building has space for 15 courtrooms, including a multi-accused, high security courtroom and four judicial conference rooms, including one Aboriginal Conference Settlement Suite.

Construction of the new facility began in November 2010. At the peak of construction, there were an estimated 320 construction workers on site daily. The new courthouse was fully operational on April 14, 2014.

The design and materials used throughout the new courthouse reflect Thunder Bay's natural environment. Stone and wood are used at the building's base for durability and to represent the natural elements of the Thunder Bay region. The textured glass tower on the building's south face is designed to evoke the region's many waterfalls.

Infrastructure investments like the Thunder Bay Courthouse are part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow.

Infrastructure Ontario partnered with the Ministry of the Attorney General in the development of the new Thunder Bay Courthouse. Infrastructure Ontario is a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario that delivers large, complex infrastructure renewal projects on time and on budget. Over the last six years, the province has applied Infrastructure Ontario's Alternative Financing and Procurement model to 83 major projects valued at approximately $38 billion, saving taxpayers an estimated $3 billion.

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Madeleine Meilleur, Attorney General
"This modern and accessible facility brings together all court services in the region under one roof. The Thunder Bay Courthouse is another example of our commitment to building courthouses that meet the highest standards for accessibility, sustainability, security and technology, including an Aboriginal Conference Settlement Suite, the first of its kind in Ontario."

Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan
"I'm pleased we were able to deliver a project that Thunder Bay has been seeking for a very long time. Consolidating courts services will help create a more efficient justice system and provide some much needed stimulus for our south core rejuvenation."

Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Thunder Bay – Superior North
"Our new courthouse is a prime example of our government's commitment to investing in infrastructure across the province and right here in Thunder Bay. The completion of this project is great news — not only for the justice community, but for local businesses, community agencies, and residents."

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Highlights of the New Thunder Bay Courthouse

The new Thunder Bay Courthouse is located at 125 Brodie Street North, in the south core area of Thunder Bay. Once operational, the new facility will improve access to justice in the city by consolidating the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice – previously operating in separate locations - within one modern building.

Highlights of the new facility are listed below.


  • Construction began in November 2010 and the facility was fully operational on April 14, 2014
  • Six-storey, 255,000 square foot building
  • 19 judicial hearing rooms (15 courtrooms and 4 judicial conference rooms)
  • Plenary Justice Thunder Bay was the consortium selected to design, build, finance and maintain the new Thunder Bay Courthouse. The Plenary Justice team includes: Plenary Group, Bird Design-Build Construction Inc., Johnson Controls LP, Adamson Associates Architects, Ricci Green Associates and TD Securities.

Features include:

  • A multiple accused high security courtroom to handle large or high-profile trials. The courtroom will include monitors for remote testimony as well as separate security screening
  • A glazed atrium that will bring natural light into the building
  • A commitment to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard, which focuses on energy efficiency, healthy indoor environments and reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • A design that can adapt to future needs.

Accessibility features include:

  • Barrier-free public/staff spaces
  • Barrier-free ramps
  • Seven of 15 courtrooms are barrier-free
  • Automatic door operators at main entrance
  • Accessible judicial entry door beside the main revolving door
  • Detectable warning indicators at stair landings
  • Braille signage
  • Barrier-free parking (e.g., designated stalls, aisles and barrier-free parking for vans)

Building Design Highlights:

  • Architects looked to Thunder Bay's natural environment for inspiration when designing the courthouse and choosing materials, including:
    • Stone and wood at the building's base for durability and symbolic value, to convey an impression of substance and permanence that affirms the dignity and authority of the courts
    • A textured glass tower on the building's north face, designed to evoke the region's many waterfalls
    • A building form that echoes the landforms of the Canadian Shield that surround Thunder Bay.

Aboriginal Design Elements:

  • Elements of the courthouse design also represent Aboriginal traditions, such as:
    • The front entrance of the courthouse and the main entrance of the Aboriginal Conference Settlement Room face east towards the rising sun to symbolize the beginning of life
    • A garden in the courthouse civic plaza acknowledges "Mother Earth" and has an open circular sitting area that can be used for smudging
    • Exterior art engraving represents the Seven Grandfather teachings: different animals embody the values of truth, respect, humility, courage, love, honesty and wisdom.
  • Courthouse also features the province's first Aboriginal Conference Settlement Suite. The Suite:
    • Includes a dedicated settlement room and support spaces including native court workers' offices and a spiritual room
    • Is a culturally and architecturally relevant space where Aboriginal traditions are acknowledged and understood and where court matters such as case conferences, pre-trials, and family and civil hearings can be dealt with in a way that supports the healing process.
  • The Suite was designed in consultation with members of Aboriginal communities, including an Elders Committee, which have been involved since the early stages of the building's design.

SOURCE: Infrastructure Ontario

For further information: Tom Boreskie, Infrastructure Ontario, 416-212-6447; Brendan Crawley, Ministry of the Attorney General, Communications Branch, 416-326-2210

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