The Freshwater Institute (FWI) was officially opened in 1972. Over the years, the Freshwater Institute has evolved into a complex that now includes the main building, an annex, a Small Craft Harbours facility, a solar warehouse and a wastewater treatment plant.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, also known as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), occupies the major portion of the FWI that contains administration offices, research laboratories, and two auditoriums. There is also an aquatic research library that is open to the public. Two other federal departments, Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, share the facilities with DFO. Scientific experts, lecturers, consultants and graduate students also frequent the Freshwater Institute.