Winnipeg's Cornish Library celebrates 100 years

Named after the city's first mayor, Francis Evans Cornish, the Cornish Library first opened its doors on June 15, 1915.

Author and women's rights activist Nellie McClung used the Cornish basement for lectures

The Cornish Library, named in honor of Winnipeg’s first mayor, Francis Evans Cornish, opened June 15, 1915. (Google Street View)

Winnipeg's Cornish Library is celebrating its centenary on Monday.

Named after the city's first mayor, Francis Evans Cornish, the library first opened its doors on June 15, 1915.

To mark the celebration, a number of activities are being hosted there today, including:

  • Historic displays.
  • Croquet on the front lawn.
  • Refreshments.
  • A magician.
  • Barbershop quartet.
  • Jazz duo.
  • A display of preliminary architectural plans for the library renewal.
  • Showing of the film, Cornish Library.

The library is at 20 West Gate, just inside the gated entrance to Armstrong's Point.

The Cornish is one of two Winnipeg library branches built with grants from the Carnegie Foundation, the other being the St. John's Library.

According to the City of Winnipeg's history on it, the basement of the Cornish was used by Canadian novelist, prohibitionist, and women's rights activist Nellie McClung for lectures.

Planning the future

The Cornish is part of widespread improvements to Winnipeg libraries throughout the next five years, as part of the city's strategic plan.

More than 5,200 Winnipeggers provided input during community consultations and online surveys as the city developed its plan for library system's future. Input was received on collections, programs, space and service delivery, and the community and social role of the library.

"Through the 2015-2020 libraries strategic plan, libraries like Cornish will get the improvements they need to foster a love of reading and to offer important literacy programs in the future," said Brian Bowman.

Upgrades to the Cornish Library will include meeting room enhancements, new shelving and adding more study and leisure reading spaces, stated a news release from the city.

"Reaching 100 years of service to the community is a major accomplishment," said Rick Walker, manager of library services.

"We look forward to an exciting future and will work to ensure the priorities of Winnipeggers will be reflected in upgrades to libraries like Cornish."

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