On Wednesday May 20th, the Toronto Public Library is set to celebrate a major milestone as the system opens its 100th branch. Already one of the largest networks of public libraries in North America—boasting the highest ratio of branches per capita in the world—the Toronto Public Library system continues to expand, following the much anticipated opening of the Fort York branch last year.

The new branch, designed by LGA Architectural Partners, is located at the Scarborough Civic Centre, and will feature over 42,000 titles, as well as a Digital Innovation Hub which houses two 3D printers. Digital Innovation Hubs (which currently only exist in the Toronto Reference Library and the Fort York branch) feature a range of advanced and innovative technologies—from cutting edge video editing facilities to 3D graphic design software—as well as classes and workshops aimed at a wide spectrum of ages and interests. These exciting new spaces serve to foster widespread community involvement, transforming Toronto's libraries into more engaging public spaces.

     The main entrance of the Scarborough Civic Centre Library, image by torontopubliclibrary.ca

Architecturally, the Scarborough Civic Centre Library stands out as a rare urban homage to Canada's wilderness and natural beauty. Though situated in a busy and rapidly developing part of Scarborough, the library—which features a green roof, outdoor reading garden, high wooden ceilings, and large, welcoming windows—looks set to become a calming oasis in the hectic urban landscape. Surrounded by reading gardens and an eco-friendly green roof, Toronto's newest library offers a sustainable yet technologically driven space, honouring Canada's timeless natural beauty while simultaneously helping drive our increasingly digital future.

Taking a look inside, the main space is bright and open. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide ample natural light while the high, bright wood ceiling (made from Canadian back spruce) creates an airy and welcoming environment.

        A look inside, image by torontopubliclibrary.ca

So far, the outdoor features and amenities have yet to fully take shape, though a recent photo (below) shows the green roof well under way, with the first plantings in place on the soil. Meanwhile, the cherry blossoms immediately across the street have begun to bloom, as if in anticipation of the library's first guests on May 20th.

     The green roof under construction, image by torontopubliclibrary.ca

Although the construction work on the library is almost entirely finished (with books and digital facilities now being moved in), it will take some time before the trees and plants of the reading garden and green roof fully mature, meaning it will be a little while before we see the flora in its full majesty. In the meantime, a rendering of the completed project offers a glimpse of what to expect in the very near future.

        A rendering of the completed project, LGA Architectural Partners/Philip H. Carter Architects

We will be on hand to provide an update of the project following the grand opening next week, with new photos chronicling the opening ceremonies on May 20th. Until then, here is a link to the library's official page here, with information about the opening day festivities—featuring dancing, musical performance, and spoken word reading—all of which are open to the public.

Finally, we leave you with this video from LGA Architectural Partners (also found on the library's official page), which gives us a fun, time-lapse look into the construction process:

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