Northern District Library’s vast main floor reminded me of a university library, and it was easy to lose track of time while wandering among its extensive shelves. Idly glancing up, I noticed grid patterns on the ceiling that resembled an upside-down waffle. The flat lights were the waffle’s indentations, and the beams which framed the light-grids were the square raised ridges.
As I walked under the pale waffle, I passed 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 ready perches for when the call to read struck. An inclusive display of books was propped on top of a non-fiction shelf: Goddesses, Heroes and Shamans, Sikhism, and Many Ways: How Families Practice Their Beliefs and Religions.
A striking feature of the children’s section was a functional art piece entitled “Appleapes.” Composed of wood, it contained a row of coat pegs integrated into the body of a mama ape who was clutching red apples in the digits of each lower limb. Above the maternal primate were four babies hanging from the red wooden border overhead. They shared their parent’s love of apples, happily clasping the fruit in their hands.
As I meandered through the rest of the library, I marveled at the size of the foreign language collections: French, Serbian, Chinese, and Estonian. ESL and Literacy materials abounded, and a North Toronto Local History Section was available for researchers.
My last stop was the Skylight Gallery. Located upstairs, it consisted of a semi-circular stretch of wall that curved underneath an uplifting window to the sky. After a moment of relishing the quiet space bathed in natural light, I trotted back down the stairs and emerged into the afternoon bustle of Yonge and Eglinton.