Departure Bay, Nanaimo, BC


BC Ferries Services Inc.


Grout McTavish Architecture

Clive Grout (Principal), Brad McTavish (Principal), Toshi Suzuki, Michael Elkan


Structural Consultants: Equilibrium Consulting Inc. 

Mechanical Consultants: Integral Group 

Electrical Consultants: WSP Group (MMM)

Landscape Consultants: Durante Kreuk Ltd.

Building Envelope: Read Jones Christoffersen

Civil Engineering: McElhanney Group of Companies

Project Manager: SNC Lavalin

Contractor: Knappett Projects Inc.

Photographer: Michael Elkan



BC Ferries have embarked upon a program of renewing their passenger facilities at all terminals. In doing so they have captured the opportunity to create a new “brand” reflective of their increasing desire to better enhance the services and experience of the traveler.

This new prototypical retail and ticketing facility at Departure Bay creates an open and inviting setting for retailers and the traveling public while accommodating over 300,000 foot passengers annually. Tasked with designing a new terminal the project team led by Brad McTavish developed a master plan to ensure continued ferry operation during the course of construction.

The final design is typified by an elegant roof structure floating above glass walls that focus on the sea vistas beyond while utilizing the very best innovative design in engineered wood to symbolically bring together the meeting of the forest and the sea. The project was developed within a strict budgetary environment that focused the project on sustainable design initiatives as well as low operating budgets. Through the use of innovative structural systems, natural day lighting, and a sophisticated Sea Loop heat exchange system, this project achieved LEED silver rating within its budget parameters and has set a new standard for BC Ferries on economical and efficient designs for their terminals.

©2020 by Grout McTavish Architecture.