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Home Woman business Toronto Public Library’s St. Lawrence branch to relocate to new, larger location

Toronto Public Library’s St. Lawrence branch to relocate to new, larger location

The City of Toronto says one of the Toronto Public Library (TPL) branches will be relocated and expanded.

In a press release issued Monday, the city, along with TPL and CreateTO, announced that the St. Lawrence branch will be relocated to city-owned land at 125 The Esplanade.

The branch was previously slated for the First Parliament site on Front Street East.

Once it is relocated to the site on The Esplanade, it will be approximately 30,000 square feet.

According to the release, that is “more than six times the size of the current location.”

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The city said planning for the new branch will begin in the second half of 2022. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2025, for a public opening in 2027.

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“The current St. Lawrence Branch at 171 Front St. E. is 4,833 square feet,” the release reads. “The relocation and significant expansion of the branch will allow for delivery of important services to residents in the St. Lawrence area, and help TPL achieve many of its strategic priorities – in particular, creating accessible, inclusive public spaces that are flexible and sustainable, and provide opportunities for residents to come together in a welcoming environment.”

The map outlines the location of the new site of TPL St. Lawrence Branch at The Esplanade and Lower Jarvis Street. City of Toronto / Provided.

Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press

According to the release, the new branch will have “enhanced library services,” including more access to in-branch services, programs, collections and spaces and more “responsive service hours.” The branch will also have expanded public and community spaces that will be “multi-functional,” and environments that “connect neighbourhoods and communities, and offer opportunities for partnerships, civic engagement and resident participation.”The new site will also have greater access to digital services and technologies, including eLearning opportunities and additional services for equity-deserving groups, the release said.According to the city, the site change will allow the new branch to be operational in “a condensed timeframe of approximately six years.”Toronto Mayor John Tory said “libraries are a gateway to knowledge and culture.”

“They provide important services and resources to families and youth that shape the future of our city,” he said in a statement in the release. “The relocation and major expansion of the Toronto Public Library’s St. Lawrence Branch will enhance this energetic neighbourhood and add much needed public spaces for residents and visitors from across the city.”

Officials said the project will cost around $34 million. This is $3.4 million less than the proposed branch at the First Parliament site.

The release said funding for the new branch will be incorporated into the TPL’s 2023-32 capital budget and plan submission.

“The First Parliament site continues to be an important and strategic location for the City,” the release reads. “The space previously identified for the library at First Parliament will be used for other key City programs.”

Vickery Bowles, a city librarian, said TPL is “thrilled that this new district branch will better serve the changing needs of the growing St. Lawrence community, with better access to inclusive, welcoming spaces and expanding programs and services.”

“We’re looking forward to consulting with the community and our partners as we plan for this vibrant new space where Torontonians can come together in their neighbourhood to work, learn and relax,” Bowles said.

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Vic Gupta, CEO of CreateTo, called the announcement “great news for the library and the community.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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