Libraries are a great place to get to know a city. They're cultural and community hubs, where you can discover local events, and they also provide stacks and stacks of books to get lost in on a rainy afternoon. Besides that, many libraries across Canada provide stunning architectural accents to already vibrant cityscapes. Here are some of the most striking ones to visit.
British Columbia: Vancouver Public Library Central Branch
The Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library has become an icon of the city. The building designed by architect Moshe Safdie is a postmodern take on the Roman Coliseum. It's a beautiful place to explore, offering airy atriums and spiral staircases.
Ontario: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city of Toronto. It hosts some of the rarest books on earth – Shakespeare is among its “resident” authors. We think the stunning lines mixed with old books is a perfect combo.
Quebec: Centre d’archives de Montréal
The Old Montreal branch of the Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec is housed in a beautiful early-1900 beaux-arts-style building that used to be the home of one of the city’s most renowned business schools . In addition to storing documents dating back to the 17th century, this library is home to public exhibits that make for the perfect rainy day reprieve.
Nova Scotia: Halifax Central Library
With a rooftop patio that overlooks the city of Halifax below, a theater than can welcome up to 300 people, two music studios, and a gaming station, it’s no wonder the Halifax Central Library has been nicknamed “the city’s living room.” And yes, they also offer row upon row of books.
Ontario: Library of Parliament
This Victorian Gothic style library is the Library of the Parliament of Canada. When the parliament was built in the late 1800s, librarian Alpheus Todd insisted on having iron doors at the entrance of the library to protect books and government documents in case of a fire. When a fire erupted in the Centre Block on February 2, 1916, a quick-thinking employee ordered to have these doors shut, saving this precious room. It’s the only room that survived the fire and we're certainly thankful because it's gorgeous!
Quebec: Maison de la littérature
Libraries can be the perfect place to start or end a day of adventure. Plus, they usually have a place to sit down for a rest, bathrooms, and wifi! The perfect travel pit stop.
Discover more vibrant city attractions across Canada.