Government officials were all smiles during a tour of the much-anticipated new downtown Halifax library on Friday morning.
“What a wonderful asset for the city of Halifax, for the entire municipality, for our province and for our country,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay.
MacKay says the library is an investment in the future and for growth in the city and believes the building will grow to become something special for more than just Halifax.
“This building will attract young people to come to the city, and more importantly to stay and make a future.”
The total estimated cost of the project is $57.6 million, with the federal government providing $18.3 million and the provincial government another $13 million. The remaining funding will come from the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Mayor Mike Savage reminded the crowd that well-designed public spaces really matter.
“They inspire and they attract people, and they make a statement about community values,” Savage said during a news conference on the fifth floor of the building.
“It’s not simply something that’s nice to have, it is important and critical to the future of our city,” he said.
No one is more thrilled about the opening of the library this fall than Bruce Gorman, director of central library services for Halifax Public Libraries.
“You can’t believe how excited I am, what this library is going to do for our city is really remarkable,” he said.
Gorman thinks the building will be a hub of activity and expects the library to become a social gathering place.
“Architecturally, it’s stunning, but what’s going to go on the inside of the building is really the storyline.”
He says he doesn’t have one favorite area in particular, but says there are many interesting aspects the new library will offer the public.
“The music studio is a favorite, the Paul O’Regan Hall is a favorite, the outside deck on the top floor and the coffee shops are all favorites,” he said.
Gorman says the music studio is a place where people of any musical talent level can ply their craft.
“A lot of time teens are making too much noise in their basements, and this is a sound-proof space that they (or anybody else) can come and create music.”