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Visiting the Annette Street Public Library, The Junction, Toronto, Ontario: 1909 Beaux-Arts Building by Ellis & Connery

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Endowed by the Carnegie Foundation

At 145 Annette Street, Toronto, Ontario, in the suburb known as The Junction, is a public library dating from 1909, executed in brick, with stone facing, in Beaux-Arts style, with its origins in Neo-Classicism.

Features of Annette Street Public Library include a striking entrance at the Annette Street elevation, which includes pillars, pilasters and a small but prominent pediment. The architectural firm of Ellis & Connery (1) was responsible for the design of the building.

The library underwent a number of renovations in the course of the 20th century and again in 2013-14 (2).

Annette Street Public Library was one of the many institutions which received a significant endowment from the Carnegie Foundation (3).

The library had its origins in the West Toronto Junction Mechanics' Institute, founded in 1888, which was opened at the — recently restored — Campbell Block at the intersection of Dundas Avenue West and Keele Street in 1889.

Annette Street Public Library has particular strengths in children's books and local history, among other fields of knowledge. Since 1999, West Toronto Junction Historical Society Archives have been based at the building (4).

A local Book Discussion Group is based at the Library.

January 15, 2021

Notes

(1) James A. Ellis (1856-1935), in architectural partnership as Ellis and Connery from 1906 to 1914 and separately both before and after these years, was known for his many educational buildings in the Toronto area; he also designed buildings in Northern Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan. (See also: http://dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/node/1556 ) He was also responsible for many commercial and residential properties. James A. Ellis went into partnership with his son C. Howard Ellis in 1915, but after the latter's premature death in 1922 he continued in practice alone for a number of years subsequently. Interestingly, James A. Ellis notably resided in The Junction neighbourhood of Toronto, where the Annette Street Public Library is located.

(2) See also: https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/annette/

(3) Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), from Scotland, later naturalized American, created his Foundation from his enormous steel industry profits, and was responsible for endowing huge resources on many — especially public educational — projects. He would be rightly described as the quintessential philanthropist. Many years ago I also visited the Carnegie Library in the philanthropist's birthplace of Dunfermline; I have included a link, below, which recalls the visit.

(4) I myself recall spending hours at this branch library researching local church history.

Also worth seeing

In Toronto itself, historic educational buildings abound; some of these at the University of Toronto, include: Annesley Hall; the Lillian Massey Building; Victoria College; Trinity College; Falconer Hall. Other highly noteworthy buildings include: the Legislative Assembly building of the Ontario Parliament; Queen's Park: Old City Hall, Campbell House, Osgoode Hall, and numerous others.

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How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. However, visitors to Downtown Toronto will find many sights to be easily walkable. The general vicinity of Annette Street Public Library at 145 Annette Street, The Junction, Toronto, may be accessed via TTC services #26, #30, #40 and #89. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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