Toronto Public Library Pilgrimage of 100 Branches

Neoclassical Library Adventure at Queen and Saulter (1980)


On my first sojourn to Queen and Saulter Library, I walked right past it after I disembarked from the streetcar on Queen East. Doubling back, I looked up at a massive Neoclassical building in light brown, marvelling at its bulk and scale. Standing on the sidewalk in an overt display of gawk, I read an inscription about the history of 765 Queen Street East.


Designed by E. J. Lennox, the building was completed in 1913. Huge stone columns testified to its seriousness of purpose, which befitted an edifice that served as Postal Station G from 1913 to 1975. In 1980, Queen and Saulter Library became the new occupant of this substantial and venerable structure.


Heavy wooden doors that opened to reveal a second entrance confirmed the impression of gravity, as did the marble floor and check-out counter. However, the high windows brought dramatic life to the interior, offsetting the more subdued colours of the exterior and entryway.


To further soften the formality, pots of plants populated the broad windowsills, a glass case displayed cat figurines, and a belled toy dragon inhabited a ledge.

Small tapestries illustrating nursery rhymes and fairy tales warmed the south wall of the library, including one in which a wolf lurked in a fabric valley, his eyes focused on the top of a hill where a little pig was holding his ground in an arc of cloth.


On more recent visits to the library, I noticed that the tapestries had been taken down. Nevertheless, the welcoming character of Queen and Saulter remained as striking as ever, making me thankful that this old building still stands tall and serves the community as it has for over a century.


One reply on “Neoclassical Library Adventure at Queen and Saulter (1980)”

Hi Catherine, love your blog!! finally got a chance to browse through your library tour – amazing at how many you’ve covered, woohooo! I am sure the TPL team would be thrilled to know about this blog…or do they already know 😉 hugs, Noreia

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