Gairloch Gardens Initiative


In 2009, the Oakville Galleries commissioned a Facility Plan Audit which concluded that the Galleries’ needs have long outgrown the home on Gairloch Estate. Oakville Galleries is evaluating options regarding its future needs to determine an operating size and model in a new, unified location that would dramatically expand the kinds of programs it can offer. This report is anticipated to be completed in 2013.

On October 29, 2012, Council heard from public delegations, and received the Gairloch Gardens report regarding future uses of the prime real estate lakefront property given the Oakville Galleries’ plans to leave.

Council directed staff to further investigate:

  • Option 1 — keeping the entire site intact, completing all necessary repairs to the property, and using the estate house for municipal/public uses (arts centre, satellite site for community centres, camps, etc.). The estate requires approximately $1,000,000 in maintenance over the next 10 years to bring it into a state of good repair.
  • Option 2 — keeping the entire site intact and leasing out the estate house (restaurant, Montessori, etc.). The Town of Oakville would retain ownership of the entire property, while leasing out the estate house to a tenant. This would retain the heritage value of the intact historic lakefront estate, while providing an opportunity for a public-private partnership relating to the use and maintenance of the building (see Expression of Interest below).

Council also directed staff to:

  • report on cost estimates of shoreline improvements and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance; and
  • report on the Paletta Mansion’s cost of restoration, capacity, size, and the financial aspects of its operation and contemplated future work.

Staff undertook the work as directed by Council.

Expression of Interest

On May 1, 2013, the town issued an Expression of Interest (EOI) to solicit viable options from interested parties regarding Option 2 — leasing of the estate house(s) at Gairloch Gardens.

Gairloch Gardens update

On October 28, 2013, Council received a Gairloch Gardens update staff report outlining that:

  • The Expression of Interest (EOI) regarding possible uses for Gairloch Gardens did not generate any responses from the public;
  • Oakville Galleries does not expect to be in a position to move within the next five years and is content to remain in its current location;
  • The town’s Facilities and Construction Management department will proceed with scheduled maintenance and rehabilitation projects as outlined in the capital budget at a cost of $502,100 over the next five years;
  • Parks and Open Space are proceeding with landscape rehabilitations to the lands adjacent to the building, including repairs to stairs and pathways, adding exterior lighting, etc., at a cost of $245,000;
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) barrier removal projects are currently on hold pending decisions of the final use for the facility;
  • Repairs to the seawall are not considered a priority at this time and maintenance estimates for future works are not yet estimated.

Staff also provided Council with information on the City of Burlington’s Paletta Mansion.

For more information about the Gairloch Gardens initiative please contact:

Gord Lalonde
Commissioner, Community Services
Town of Oakville

About Gairloch Gardens

Gairloch Gardens, consisting of a park and gallery in an old homestead, is located south of Lakeshore Road near Morrison Road. The gallery is an old home on the estate of the late James Gairdner, who, in 1971, bequeathed his estate to the Town of Oakville, without imposing any trust or legal obligations upon the town, with the wish that the residence, and the land immediately adjacent to it, be used as an art gallery and public park. This land became the gardens/public park and his home, the gallery, which later was amalgamated with the Centennial Gallery to form Oakville Galleries.

About Oakville Galleries

Oakville Galleries is a not-for-profit charitable public art museum where contemporary art is the impetus for advancing imagination and self-reflection. Through two sites, the Galleries serves communities in Oakville, Halton Region and wider audiences nationally and internationally. Oakville Galleries is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Corporation of the Town of Oakville, along with our many individual, corporate and foundation partners. Originally two separate entities, Centennial Gallery and Gairloch Gallery were amalgamated on 27 June 1980 to form Oakville Galleries, each bringing its own distinct history.

Visit the Oakville Galleries website to learn more.