Years (and tens of millions of dollars) in the making, the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan opened its doors to Saskatoon’s art lovers on Saturday.

“This takes its place not only in Canada as being a direction-setting gallery and museum, it’s going to take its place in the whole continent,” Gregory Burke, the Remai Modern’s executive director and CEO, told CTV Saskatoon.

With four storeys spanning nearly 130,000 square feet, the museum features 11 exhibition galleries for the display of modern and contemporary art. The stunning facility plans to exhibit both local and international works while also keeping a dialogue with indigenous artists and communities.

The massive building, designed by Toronto-based architecture firm KPMB, was made possible through grants from all three levels of government as well as through substantial private donations.

In total, it cost almost $85 million -- a deal, says Burke.

“This building, if it was built in New York, would probably cost $300 million,” he said.

The federal government contributed over $16 million towards the project while the province of Saskatchewan and the city of Saskatoon contributed $17 million and over $30 million respectively. Private donors also covered roughly 30 per cent of capital costs, or almost $15 million.

The museum’s namesake -- the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation -- has also pledged $1 million each year for the next 25 years for the purchase of art. The foundation says that it will also match donations each year, up to another $1 million per year for 25 years.

With a report from CTV Saskatoon’s Albert Delitala