Toronto Public Library’s new $15M Albion branch opens

By Aquicon
June 12, 2017

“It’s really, really cool – way cooler than the old library”

That sentiment, expressed by six-year-old Khapelle Kabiah, was one shared by many in attendance at the grand opening of north Etobicoke’s brand new, $15-million Albion library this week.

The colourful and airy 28,000-square-foot space – designed by architecture firm Perkins+Will and built in the parking lot of the branch’s original circa-1973 library – opened to much fanfare on Monday, June 5, with special guest Mayor John Tory helping to cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of a crowd numbering in the hundreds.

“I remember going to the library when I was a kid, and it’s way different today … Back then you had to be absolutely quiet, you couldn’t even talk to the librarian, except in a hushed tone,” Tory recalled.

“This library is going to be a very different kind of place — a place where people can come and be together after school, a place where people can come to learn English … and a place where people can come and use technology, because not everybody has access to that. And what that means is, this is at the very centre of building a strong, fair community.”

Monday’s unveiling of the newest of Toronto Public’s Library’s 100 branches spotlighted a number of special features at the new and improved Albion branch, including a KidsStop early literacy centre, a Discovery Zone for kids aged six to 12, a youth hub for youth aged 13 to 19, a new Digital Innovation Hub with virtual reality, robotics and 3D printers, 36 public access computers, several outdoor reading gardens and an art exhibit space.

The library, located at 1515 Albion Rd., also features a 107,000-strong collection — including books in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Punjabi, Persian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Telegu, Tamil, Urdu and Vietnamese.

“This library reflects the diversity and the character of our community. It is designed to meet your needs now and well into the future, and I am confident that this facility will stand the test of time, serving our community seven days a week for many, many years to come,” said Etobicoke North Coun. Vincent Crisanti, noting that the library project came in “on budget, on time, and, most importantly, without any interruption of service.”

Crisanti explained that when plans to replace the Albion library were first went to public consultation in 2010, there was public outcry from many who feared that the popular branch would have to close down during construction, leaving residents without service.

That’s when city and library officials came up with the solution to build the new library in old library’s parking lot footprint, allowing the original branch to remain open for business throughout the development.

“Etobicoke North is finally receiving a lot of attention — attention and investment that it needs and it deserves. Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to know that this is the first of many, many more good things to come,” Crisanti promised. He continues to advocate for a new multi-sport complex in the area, as well as improved transit.

For more information about the new Albion library, go to http://bit.ly/2s1uSqw

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