Wanting to gain a sense of the exterior of Leaside Library before it opened for the morning, I began to circle the perimeter. However, an ancient boulder soon stopped me in my tracks. According to a nearby sign, this “Precambrian erratic was slowly transported to the Leaside area by a glacier more than 10,000 years ago.” I loved the rock’s dignified presence, which was like a grandfather elephant resting after centuries of geological movement. When I looked more closely at the cracks and patterns on the erratic, I found one that looked like a giraffe.
Next, I trotted along a boot-made trail in the snow and took in Leaside Tennis Club and Traces Mane Park before ducking into the warm library. (In addition, on my most recent visit in 2015, I encountered an equine creature made of sticks who stood its ground on the north side of the building).
As I was getting my bearings in the lobby, a group of preschool kids trooped through the door in a jolly burst of noise and colourful hats. Their teachers ushered them into the program room to the right of the entrance, where a sliding door created a separate space for the duration of the program.
About an hour later, I noted the expansive south window that suffused the place with pure winter light. I also liked the clever storage area for flat cushions in primary colours. (When I was in Brownies in the States, we called them “sit-upons” but I’m not sure if they’re called that in Canada).
The rest of Leaside’s interior was pleasingly rectangular. I loved the high windows on three sides, especially in the places where dark tree branches held steady behind the panes. Most of the space was open plan, with the Children’s Room demarcated by a portal that contained display cabinets on either side. A bank of computers formed most of the outer barrier of the kids’ zone, with a gap serving as a second entrance.
Guarding the cabinet-entrance was a non-threatening Yeti, and on the other side of the barrier was a deer in a long stocking cap. I was very taken by one of the display books, The Cow Who Clucked, for I support a cow’s right to cluck instead of moo if she so chooses.
As I continued my self-guided tour, I found the French collection and some window seats. A patron was contentedly seated on one of them with her laptop. She had set her galoshes carefully to one side and was typing in her stocking feet.
The north window bank also had its fans, as did the local history room near the checkout desk. When I explored the Leaside Room, I discovered a signed copy of Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss and a framed example of Mayoral bling with lots of gold maple leaves clasped together.
Refreshed by sunlight and shadows, I left Leaside with a spirit of gratitude for its distinctive boulder, contented Yeti, friendly staff, and classy decor.