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City of Ottawa to host series, looking for public input on new central library branch

Residents can attend design workshops, pop-up events, expert lectures, and participate in online activities regarding the project.
2018-02-28 City of Ottawa1 MV
Ottawa City Hall, February 28, 2018. (Photo/ Mike Vlasveld)

The City of Ottawa is inviting the public to inspire the design of the new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada joint facility.

The national engagement process for the architectural design of the facility has been labeled the "Inspire555 Series," in a nod to its address -- 555 Albert Street, at the western edge of downtown Ottawa, five blocks from Parliament, and on the new LRT line at Pimisi Station. 

The Inspire555 Series includes design workshops, pop-up events, expert lectures, online activities and engagement (local and national), and knowledge sharing with Indigenous communities, all planned for 2019. The first in-person design workshops are set for February 28. 

Diamond Schmitt Architects and Ottawa's KWC Architects have been retained to design the joint facility. At the first design workshop, the city says the public will hear world-renowned architect Don Schmitt explain why this is one of the most exciting sites he has ever worked with.

Workshop participants will be asked to provide feedback on preliminary concepts and to share hands-on ideas for how the new joint facility could take shape on the site. The public will have the opportunity to view preliminary outlines, share ideas regarding how to make the most of the panoramic views, and inform the physical orientation of the building. 

All Canadians, and those unable to attend the workshops in person, will be invited to engage online at

The City of Ottawa says a series of visits and meetings are planned with local Algonquin communities, as well as with local urban and national Indigenous communities. Activities include community visits, design-focused meetings, knowledge sharing events, and engagement with National Indigenous Associations.

The Inspire555 Series is the latest in an ongoing engagement program for this project. From 2013 to 2016, more than 3,000 people provided input into the spaces and uses for a new central library. In 2016, following the decision to explore a partnership with Library and Archives Canada, the public provided input into the selection criteria for a site for the joint facility, as well as its functional programming.

Set to open in 2024, the joint facility is expected to become a landmark destination, built on the shared values of the partner institutions. The joint programming and services will make this a truly unique offering in Canada. It will be a modern, iconic facility that will respond to rapidly developing technology, growing customer expectations and changing demographics.

The Inspire555 Series

Participants will be invited to register for one of two design workshops on how to make best use of the site for the new joint facility:

·         Thursday, February 28, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Jean Pigott Place, Ottawa City Hall

·         Saturday, March 2, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., location to be determined

Starting Friday, February 8, the public is invited to visit to pre-register for one of the two workshops.

In early March, all Canadians are invited to visit to view the three concepts presented at the design workshop and provide input into how to make best use of the site for the new joint facility.

The Inspire555 Series will continue throughout 2019 with three additional phases of engagement on a variety of design topics.

For more information on the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada joint facility, and the Inspire555 Series, please visit


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Village Media Community Editor,
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