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Library Expansion

by Mary Louise Ashbourne

 

Weston's Library had been a concern before amalgamation.

 

The historic Carnegie Library needed more space and updating of facilities. It fell to the new Borough of York Library Board to review and make recommendations.

Three options emerged: 

  1. The land would be purchased from the School Board and the present Library, number 2 King Street would be expanded, or, 
     

  2. The vacant Federal Building (former Post Office on the corner of Ellesmere and Weston Road) could be purchased and renovated, or, 
     

  3. Renting space on the main level of the new Eagle Mall on the corner of Lawrence and Weston Road. 

Options 2 and 3 meant selling 2 King Street. 

The Historical Society sent a letter to the York Library Board protesting the plan to tear down the existing Library. It recommended the transfer or purchase, if necessary, of additional land from the York School Board to provide for an addition to the existing library.

At the December 13, 1976, meeting, a letter was sent to the Clerk of Council of the Borough of York requesting that York establish a Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee with the power to designate heritage buildings.

 

At the WHS meeting of March 2, 1977, the Society was advised that the Borough of York Council had passed the requisite by-law.

Weston's support for the Society had continued to grow, and by the March 2, 1977 meeting, there were over 100 household memberships.

A petition was drawn up asking that Weston's Carnegie Library be designated a historic structure under the Ontario Heritage Act.

 

Eventually, the petition would be signed by over 1,000 supporters.

On May 31, 1977, the York Library Board reported it was still considering the two alternate sites.

Protests by the Weston Ratepayers, the Weston Historical Society, several local organizations and individual residents resulted in a large public meeting called by the municipality on March 2, 1978. 

A Citizen's Committee was suggested by Mayor Phil White to meet the members of the York Board of Education and York Library Board to re-open negotiations for land to extend the existing Library.

The Citizen's Committee (Howard Ashbourne, Marjorie Campbell, Barbara Jafelice, Jim Pole-Langdon, John McLeary, Al Petersma, David Thorn and Jim Trimbee) prepared and presented a brief to the Library Board and Council on April 12, 1978. 


This was followed by a meeting on May 1 with the Board of Education, Weston Ratepayers and Library Board requesting land be obtained from the Board of Education to permit the construction of an 8,000-square-foot addition to the existing Library.

On May 3, 1978, the York Library Board passed a motion to pursue the possibility of putting the Weston Library into Eagle Mall.

 

The Weston Historical Society responded with their petition rejecting a library in Eagle Mall and requesting an addition to the existing Carnegie Library.

The Weston Citizen's Committee attended a Borough of York Board of Control meeting on May 17, 1978, and presented the petition.

In the end, it came down to financing.

 

The York Council had previously approved debentures to renovate 2 King Street. They were not transferrable to the Eagle Mall site.

 

No money would be available to the York Library Board to move the Weston Library to another location. 

In the meantime, the Weston Public Library was declared a heritage structure under the Ontario Heritage Act.

 

While the building could be sold, it could not be demolished.

 

The York Library Board accepted the mandate, restored the original Library, and constructed an addition that more than doubled its space.

 

All parties agreed that the completed project was a credit to the community.

The Weston Historical Society had made a noteworthy beginning. It has never looked back.

Weston Public Library 1914
Weston Public Library 1925
Weston Public Library 1925
Weston Public Library 1962
Weston Public Library 1964
Weston Public Library 2023
Weston Public Library 2023
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