Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Toronto Public Library St. Lawrence Branch is moving to 125 The Esplanade, a new location that is about six times bigger than its current facility.
Planning for the 30,000-sq. ft. site will happen in the second half of 2022, with construction in 2025 and public opening in 2027.
Originally set to relocate to First Parliament at 271 Front St. E., plans changed when the site was expropriated by the province for “transit-oriented communities” to be developed over the next 15 years.
“Working with our colleagues in the city’s corporate real estate management division, the team at CreateTO was able to identify an alternate site within the city’s own real estate portfolio to meet the needs of the Toronto Public Library, which will result in a new branch being constructed in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood in the near term, as opposed to a decade from now. This is great news for the library and the community,” said Vic Gupta, CEO of CreateTO.
Switching location shortens the development timeframe to six years and reduces the construction cost to $34 million – $3.4 million less. Funding of the new branch will be incorporated into the 2023-2032 TPL capital budget and plan submission.
The relocation and significant expansion will allow for expanded services and create accessible, inclusive public spaces that are flexible and sustainable.
Enhanced library services will include:
- Expanded public and community spaces that are multi-functional, welcoming and well-maintained
- New environments that connect neighbourhoods and communities, and offer opportunities for partnerships, civic engagement and resident participation
- Access to digital services and technology, including eLearning opportunities
- Design will happen through the library’s planning and public consultation processes.
“Not only does this new location present an exciting city-building opportunity, it means that the new St. Lawrence Branch will be built years sooner than the previously planned location. I look forward to the process of bringing this important project to life,” said Councillor Joe Cressy.