Monday, October 4, 2010

Heritage: Riverdale Library Turns 100

The Riverdale Library branch at Gerrard and Broadview in Toronto, Ontario re-opened for its 100th anniversary on 2-October-2010

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Only three library branches in the 99-branch Toronto Public Library system have made it to age 100--Annette, Yorkville, and now Riverdale. The Riverdale Library, designed by city architect Robert McCallum in the Georgian Revival style, opened in 1910 and was renovated in time to open for its 100th anniversary this past Saturday.

A series of cakes helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Riverdale Library in Toronto, Ontario as seen on 2-October-2010

While the Riverdale branch was the last of four libraries built in Toronto using funds from Andrew Carnegie, it doesn't look like a typical Carnegie Library. Because of the shape of the property (a former garden of the Don Jail Governor's House), the entrance is at the corner (of Gerrard and Broadview) instead of the middle of the building, adding yet more interest to a building that would be notable for surviving this long serving its original purpose regardless.

City Librarian Jane Pyper and City Councillor Paula Fletcher held up the certificate honouring 100 years of service at the Riverdale Library on 2-October-2010

Ceremonies to honour the milestone were held on Saturday at the library, immediately after a Heritage Toronto walk which started at a previous library site (to be covered in a future post). A variety of dignitaries from Toronto Public Libraries and the city were on-hand to speak about the first one hundred years and about the new features that had been added during renovations.

A variety of Chinese food provided by the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce provided refreshments after the formal ceremonies at the Riverdale Library on 2-October-2010

Being Toronto, there was of course a strong multicultural element to the event. The Riverdale branch is located near Toronto's "second" Chinatown, and the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce sponsored the catering of the event. The diversity of faces was typical of Toronto, with all kinds of skin tones found wandering the library, from the new children's section to the new bank of computers near the entrance to the new self check-out stations.

Self check-out, like at this station, was one of the new features of the Riverdale Library when it re-opened on 2-October-2010

The Riverdale Library is now open for its normal business hours, and seems well-positioned to serve its community for another century.

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