Annotated Flickr Gallery of Catherine’s TPL Pilgrimage!

Gathered in this post are 100 photos with 100 links to meditations on my gratitude for the Toronto Public Library system. I hope you enjoy this on-line gallery of my photography exhibit at North York Central Library (July-August 2015).

Evening and Morning at Parkdale Library (1964)

On my way to see a friend’s exhibit on Queen Street West one winter evening in 2008, a blue and white TPL sign stopped me in my tracks. Not wanting to waste a library-visit opportunity, I took a quick art detour to Parkdale Library, which was the 45th branch on my pilgrimage. (Four years after […]

Forest Hill (1962): A Library with a Crest

Forest Hill branch presides on a rise of land located on the north side of Eglinton Avenue West, just east of Bathurst. It has a wide central aisle flanked by four large arches that span rows of shelving. Each arch contains a wavy piece of metal, and silver mesh occupies the space between the curved […]

Welcome to Saint Clair/Silverthorn (1981)

To reach Saint Clair/Silverthorn, I travelled to Saint Clair West subway station and caught the westbound 512 bus. Then I rode along Saint Clair West until I heard the automated announcement for Silverthorn. Familiar blue TPL lettering on a white sign soon caught my eye, making feel at home in a neighbourhood that was unknown. […]

Hello New Toronto (1994)!

To enter New Toronto Library, I passed under a silver scaffold in the shape of a steeple. Then I emerged into one lovely long hall that looked like the nave of a modest yet funky cathedral with giant orange slices arching overhead. Potted palms standing tall in so much open space created a very upbeat […]

Once Upon a Long Branch (1955)

The moment I stepped into Long Branch Library, I was drawn to the “Once Upon a Time” display in the lobby. A librarian had painstakingly assembled large colorful storybooks that rested on stands, and underneath them lay a magical collection of characters and objects from the collective unconscious. With auburn hair flowing wild, Sleeping Beauty […]

Alderwood Library (1999): Dispatch from the Southwestern TPL Frontier

Sharing residence with a community centre and French-immersion school, Alderwoodbranch is located across a wide hallway from Alderwood Pool. A huffing fairy-tale loup could never hope to blow down this huge open rectangle of a library, as its exterior walls are made of giant bricks. At first I couldn’t identify why this branch seemed so […]

Humber Bay Library (1951): A Jazzy Cabin with an Ivy Nook

Humber Bay, the 69th Toronto Public Library on my quest, came packaged in a compact square building with dark wooden siding on part of its exterior. I liked how the siding created a jazzy-cabin effect. The wood motif was repeated inside the library, most prominently in the sturdy check-out station. There, several librarians were performing […]

Lively Danforth/Coxwell (1989)

From the moment I walked in the door of Danforth/Coxwell branch, its compelling energy was palpable. Kids raced around to gather books, strollers abounded, and every corner of the building hosted a patron. Danforth/Coxwell was the most popular place to be seen reading on a summer weekday afternoon. Surveying the busy Children’s section on the […]

York Woods (1970) is Library #75

My husband Stewart was with me when I first visited York Woods Library, the 75th branch on my quest. When he saw the thick exposed concrete of the interior, he said, “This Brutalist style reminds me of my local library in Scotland in the 1970’s.” Brutalism was new to me, but research confirmed that York […]

Sunny Jane/Sheppard (2009)

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! When I returned three […]

Site of Catherine’s 80th Toronto Public Library Visit: Maria A. Shchuka (1951)

Residing in the thick of urban bustle, Maria A. Shchuka Library‘s tall windows offered views of the swirl of traffic at the intersection of Eglinton Avenue West and Northcliffe Boulevard. From a continuous bench that hugged the west and north walls, readers could browse the newspaper as transient groups of bus passengers and pedestrians passed […]

Disco Branch: Albion Library (1973)

Located near the intersection of Albion Road and Kipling Avenue, Albion Library‘s gritty branch-on-the-edge vibe reminded me of Eatonville Library, which also presses against the outer limits of the Greater Toronto Area. Eatonville was built in 1967 and Albion in 1973: two survivors of groovier times. True to the non-conformist decade that produced it, Albion’s […]

Handsome George H. Locke Library (1949)

George Herbert Locke was the Toronto Public Library‘s second Chief Librarian, a position he held from 1908-1937. According to Margaret Penman’s A Century of Service: Toronto Public Library 1883-1983, Locke defended fiction’s right to be in the library, created National Story Hours for children, and gathered materials in Russian, Yiddish, Italian, and Lithuanian for new […]

Davenport Library (1988): 1246 Shaw Street at Last

When I studied the TPL map before I set out for Davenport Library, I incorrectly assumed that Shaw Street extended as far north as Saint Clair Avenue West, causing me to overshoot the desired streetcar stop. In fact, three unnecessary stops passed me by before I realized I’d gone too far. Deciding to try my […]

Journal Entry for Runnymede Library (1930)

I’m journalling live from the south room of Runnymede‘s upper story, which doubles as a study area and art gallery. For me, this attic has the ideal combination of austerity and artistic style, placing it on a par with Gerrard/Ashdale and Main Street‘s dramatic attics. A simple hearth lies a few yards in front of […]

A Repeat Visit to Pape/Danforth (1929): Libraries Make Us More Interesting!

Now known as Pape/Danforth, Danforth Library joined the Toronto Public Library family in 1929, one year before Runnymede branch. Together, the price tag of the two libraries came to $100,000. Pape/Danforth’s distinctive Tudor Revival look was an expression of Chief Librarian George Locke’s desire to re-create a British shop of olden times: “The front facade […]

Elmbrook Park (1988): Library on the Municipal Edge

My seventieth Toronto Public Library was Elmbrook Park, the most westerly of all the branches. A modern building on the edge of a small neighbourhood park, Elmbrook Park library was blessed with  sunlight that filled the interior. The light illuminated an arresting picture window behind the checkout desk. Its glass was divided into six panes, […]

McGregor Park Gets the Blogger’s Eye Treatment

A striking building located on Lawrence Avenue East, McGregor Park Library is the second-closest library to my home. I have visited it many times as a regular patron, but in 2010 I returned to view it anew with a blogger’s eye, which is like having a large plastic eyeball on a stick to wave about […]

Thoroughly-Carpeted Albert Campbell (1971): The Second Visit

It was raining heavily when I drove into Albert Campbell’s lot on a Saturday morning in 2010. I paused to listen to the rain on the car roof for several minutes while enjoying the view of an empty field bordered by trees. Then I made a mad wet scurry to the lower back entrance and […]