Library celebrates 150 years  - celebration this Saturday

By Staff

September 15th, 2022



This is a little short on the notice side but …

On Saturday, September 17th, Burlington Public Library will celebrate 150 years of service to the community.

The Library is marking its sesquicentennial with a big birthday bash at its Central Branch on New St.

“We are so excited to be able to celebrate with the community,” says CEO, Lita Barrie. “The pandemic put so many things on hold, and we are grateful that we get a chance to acknowledge this incredible milestone with a great big party.”

Designed by Hamilton architect Charles Mills and built in 1906-1907 on the west side of Brant Street, south of Ontario Street. Its construction was funded by a $1000 donation by John Waldie, Burlington’s first Reeve and former Member of Parliament. Waldie had moved to Toronto after the death in 1884 of his wife Mary Ann (and the mother of their 13 children), following childbirth. As the founder of the Victoria Harbour Lumber Company, Waldie became immensely wealthy, building a Rosedale mansion for his family, but he did not forget Burlington. On opening day, the new library was stocked with 6,000 books, purchased by Waldie.  The Library was demolished for the construction of a new Town Hall in 1964., 

150 years of history

The library was founded in 1872 when villagers and public-school trustees joined forces to establish a public library service.

It began in a Central Public School hallway, where villagers could stop by for an hour every Friday afternoon to borrow a book.

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the townspeople, the growing collection soon became too big for its location. For many years, local folks took turns hosting over 2,000 books in their homes and businesses until the first permanent library site opened in 1907.

Since then, the system has grown to seven branches across the city and offers programs, books, and community space to more than 100,000 members.

Bring the whole family

The celebration will run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. this Saturday. It will feature live music, games, treats, and more. Formal remarks will take place at 11 a.m.

Attendees will also have a chance to contribute to a community art project that will be installed on the third floor of Central Branch later this year.


Where and when:

2331 New St. Burlington

Saturday, September 17th

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.




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3 comments to Library celebrates 150 years  – celebration this Saturday

  • Allen James Fenton

    A very memorable event for sure! Our family since moving here from Winnipeg in 1982 have all visited our Central Park Branch hundreds of occasions! We knew the original history of course because our family home is an oldie built in 1890!
    Some new details in this report and thanks to Pepper Parr and his on line paper’s awareness!

  • This is worth celebrating!

  • Thaks for this Pepper, this is a not to be missed event. We are delegating on the Burlingto 150 Anniversary document going to Council next week. The library was opened in 1872 before we became incorporated as a village, which was 1873.