To celebrate 100 years since the opening of the High Park Library we had a, sometimes revealing and sometimes hilarious, look at how our High Park and Parkdale Libraries Came about. Here are the highlights.
1909 Notice about open access shelves that were implemented by the Toronto Public Libraries that year
1916 The Roncesvalles High Park Carnegie Library Opened. Beautiful and beloved by the community.
1964 The Parkdale Library Opens at last. Parkdale finally gets its library back. Unfortunately the original Town Hall did not survive. I hope to learn more about it. Can anyone help?
In 1440 German Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, opening the door to mass printing of books. Only the wealthy and institutions could afford private libraries, while the hunger for knowledge grew.
About 1731 Ben Franklin started the Library Company of Philadelphia. A paid membership allowed members to borrow books. The fee offset the cost of non-returned books but the high cost of membership excluded most people .
1810 - 1813 Elmsley House, was home of the first Toronto Library. It was a fee based library club. A number of similar clubs formed. In 1813 the American invaders took the books but returned them later.
1821 The world's first Mechanics' Institute Edinborough Scotland. This 1850 picture shows a Toronto Mechanics Institute diploma. At this time the term mechanic was prestigious. It was also more encompassing and included skilled tradesmen.
1880 Parkdale Library Association and Mechanics Institute was established. It opened in 1881 in the small school house to the left of St Marks church. It still stands on Cowan Ave just south of Queen St W. It involved the usual membership fee. Government owned and funded Libraries were yet to be created.
1887 Parkdale Library Association and Mechanics Institute Ticket. Compliments of Lost Toronto.
Built about 1880 Parkdale town hall (shown as planned) became the home to the Parkdale Library club in 1888. Refer to Parkdale in Pictures page 49, 56 and the outside back cover. The Parkdale Library Association moved into the 'old council chambers and two adjacent rooms... The Parkdale Times reported that ladies could reach the circulating library without having to go through the free reading room, and books could be signed out every ev3ning. Unlike the free city library,a borrower could examine books before charging them out. In 1888 3,418 volumes were borrowed.'Also in 1888 Parkdale town offices moved to a new building at 1303 Queen St W. This building was demolished for a newer police station in 1931 and that building still stands.
1890 goads Insurance map showing the Location of the Parkdale Town Hall that enclosed the library. In 1890 Parkdale became part of Toronto and could no longer give financial support to the Parkdale Library Association. The books were donated to Toronto on condition that they remain in Parkdale but that was not to be.
In 1900 the Parkdale books were moved to a new Ossington St Branch somewhere between Queen and d shown here.
In 1903 Andrew Carnegie offered to build libraries in Ontario. There was much controversy regards accepting the money because of some of Carnegie’s business tactics. Could someone please cue the music to ‘Stairway to Heaven”. <:
1903 One of the first Carnegie Libraries was at Queen and Lisgar. It received the Parkdale books, giving Parkdale a place in the opening of one of the first three Carnegie Libraries in Toronto.
Lance Gleich of the Swansea Historically Society kindly provided pictures of the following event: 'High Park Library Turns 100'. Brian Bertrand, head librarian of High Park Library opens the meeting. Brian publicized the event. This was one of several events to mark the historic 100 year anniversary of three Carnegie libraries in Toronto, which incudlded the Beaches, and Wychwood branches.
Mona Paris represents a mystic Mystic who predicts a future politician who will attempt to cut funding to public libraries Public Libraries. Her dire prediction is dismissed by the speaker of the house as impossible!
Meghan gets us in touch with Carnegie’s spirit played by Terry Burrell so he can be interviewed by Daryl Landau
Terry Burrell makes a 'spirited' defence of Carnegie’s questionable tactics in amassing his fortune.
Daryl and Meghan successfully conceal High Park Libraries future puppet shows from Carnegie’s ghost, just in case he might object.
Jared Eng took us through Carnegie’s complex road from a working man to massive wealth and his funding of Public Libraries. One of the attendees suggested it was his wife’s suggestion.
Megan Edmonds wrote Wrote three historically-based skits about Ontario Libraries and their development with assistance from the Carnegie Foundation. Her humourous re-enactments brought history to life
Owen Smith (at left) , left portrays here (first) the Speaker of the House preciding precising over the debate decision whether to accept Accept the Carnegie Foundation Grants
Jared Ong portrays Portrays a steelworker opposed to using Carnegie’s ‘blood money’ for public libraries. due to the aftermath of the infamous Homestead Strike.
Mona Paris represents a Mystic who predicts a future politician who will attempt to cut funding to Public Libraries. Her prediction is dismisses as impossible!
Owen Smith, then represented James Bertram who managed the distribution of Library grants for Carnegie. Bertram ensured the money went to creating Libraries and nothing else. Sylvie Bouchard represented Ottawa’s attempt to put a swimming pool in the basement of the library.
James Bertram was represented by Owen Smith as he interviews our High Park Library branch representative, played by Daryl Landau.
Jack Gibney portrays a representative of the town of Hanover as he conceals a flask of whisky but fails to conceal Dancing and drinking at the new library.