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Toronto Public Library Pilgrimage of 100 Branches

Sunny Jane/Sheppard (2009)

2012
2012

Recently relocated from a mall down the street, Jane/Sheppard now occupies the site of a former police station. I missed the grand opening in April 2009, so I was excited to finally visit the branch in September of the same year and enjoy its refreshing newness. Even the carpet smelled new!

2012

When I returned three years later for a photography visit, I noticed some nice tufted grasses that I had previously overlooked. Some of the furniture looked more careworn than in 2009, but the building itself still seemed fresh.

Built in the shape of a glass cube by Cannon Design, the simplicity of Jane/Sheppard’s visual statement appealed to me. Despite a floor space of only 7,000 square feet, the interior felt uncluttered, calm, and airy. Abundant glass, sunlight, and subtle whites and greens made it the perfect translucent paperweight for a classy giant who likes books and key lime pie.

2012

Unaware that they were inhabiting an imaginary paperweight, a small number of patrons dotted the libraryscape on my first visit. It wasn’t hard to find a place to sit and look around, so I chose an innovative long booth with a wide table designed to accommodate laptops.

2012

In addition to the booth, a broad range of seating options were available at Jane/Sheppard, including chairs for magazine readers facing Sheppard Avenue, a window seat on the west wall, and cushioned blocks in yellow, red, and green for the smaller kids. (On my 2012 visit, there was only one block left).

2012

Crouched near the savanna grasses by the south windows were three solid, low-to-the-ground animals in dark grey leather: an elephant, a hippo, and a rhino. They had gathered to contemplate a wire and bead toy, perhaps hoping it contained water.

2012

After finishing up my notes, I rose from the comfortable booth and departed Jane/Sheppard with a sense of appreciation for its quietly regal presence that glowed with light from the outside in.

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