Northern District Library (Pre-Renovation)

Earlier in the week I paid a visit to Northern District Library. The vast main floor of this 1975 building reminded me of a university library, and to wander among its extensive shelves took a pleasingly long time. An hour passed before I realized I’d better wrap up my notes and go fetch some salad for dinner.

The grid pattern of the main level’s white ceiling looked like an upside-down waffle. The flat lights were the waffle’s indentations and the beams which framed the light-grids were the raised ridges. As I walked under the pale waffle, I passed big leather couches near the entrance and headed over to the large Children’s Area in the southeast corner. Reading benches were placed near the tall windows, creating handy places to perch when the call to read struck. I liked the inclusive display of books propped on top of a non-fiction shelf: Goddesses, Heroes and Shamans, Sikhism, and Many Ways: How Families Practice Their Beliefs and Religions.

I was also impressed by a large piece of functional art in the Children’s Area. Titled “Appleapes” and made of wood, it featured a red border that framed an apple tree and five apple-loving apes. The apple tree was on the left side and hosted a woodpecker on its trunk. A big mama ape occupied the majority of the composition, filling the lower middle and right portions. Clutching an apple in the digits of each lower limb, she also had a row of coat pegs and hooks integrated into her body. Above the mama primate were four babies hanging from the red wooden border overhead. They, too, had apples in their clutches.

As I meandered through the rest of the library, I marvelled at the size of the foreign language collections: French, Serbian, Chinese, and Estonian. There used to be a Japanese collection as well, but a notice advised that it had been moved to North York Library. ESL and Literacy materials abounded, and a North Toronto Local History Section was available for researchers to dig into.

The Skylight Gallery upstairs consisted of a semi-circular stretch of wall that curved underneath (surprise!) a grand skylight. Nothing was on display when I visited except one piece near the washrooms. I had some difficulty making out the artist’s name painted in the bottom right corner, but it looked like Tom Lane. With a distinctively tactile appeal, the large canvas was covered in tinted tree bark, and its three-dimensionality was enhanced by protruding mushrooms. Refraining from touching the bark, I trotted back down the stairs and emerged into the afternoon busyness of Yonge and Eglinton.

6 replies on “Northern District Library (Pre-Renovation)”

Did you know there is actually underground parking for this branch? Well hidden. And not much.

And it’s the only place where I’ve been told, as an adult, to take my feet off the furniture! This was some years ago. And I later observed I clearly was not the only miscreant as signs popped up on all the low tables advising patrons not to rest feet on them.

Thank you for writing this wonderful blog. Northern District is enjoyed daily by members of my community and you captured this library branch very well. Your support for Toronto’s public library system is inspiring.



You’re welcome, Councillor Matlow! I really appreciate your comment and support of the blog.

I’m so happy that you read my musings! I really appreciate your comment, Jenn!

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