I must say that after our visit to the Lillian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library last week, it was pretty hard to convince my daughters to go anywhere else this week. My youngest loved that library so much and she really wanted to show her big sister around. I think we’ll be heading back that way soon. However, this week took us on another great adventure. We hopped on the subway and made our way, in the pouring rain, to the Bloor/Gladstone branch.
This branch is located in the north-west end of downtown, near the corner of Bloor and Dufferin. As we walked along, with our umbrellas open, my eldest asked “Where is this place?” Then I pointed across the street to the impressive building and said “I think that’s it.” What a fabulous building.
The Bloor/Gladstone branch was renovated in 2009 and when the renovation was completed, it received a slew of international architecture awards and honourable mentions. As you can see in the pictures, the original building is still standing and has a full glass building sistered beside it. When you are inside the building you can really get the full effect of the old and the new coming together.
As for the kids section, it was awesome. It was raining outside, so the library was pretty busy. The children’s area is divided into two spaces. The younger picture book area has many comfy low seats and a couple of low computer desks with fun colourful computers. The older kid area, with chapter books and non-fiction, also houses a good number of computers and desks to work on. My girls were so impressed with the signs on the desks that read “RESERVED for children”. They felt so important.
Just outside a wall of windows in the children’s areas is the reading garden. Unfortunately, the rain meant that this area was closed. There appeared to be lovely stone benches placed under tall trees, perfect for reading a good book with the kids.
The Bloor/Gladstone branch is well worth visiting again. I’m sure that on a sunny day we’ll make the 30 minute trip over to read in the garden. What I didn’t take a picture of was the upper level of the adult section. There are a number of comfortable chairs set up along the full wall of windows overlooking busy Bloor Street. I will have to come back one day on my own and curl up in a chair with a few magazines…I do love visiting the library.
Let’s break it down….
Parking – you will find plenty of paid street parking and parking in the neighbouring streets – however, take the TTC and you will find the library steps from the Dufferin exit of the Bloor line
Washroom – located right in the children’s area…perfect
Children’s Area – a bright and friendly space, filled with enough play and quiet reading areas for kids of all ages.
Bonus features – a large collection of Spanish and Portuguese books – the reading garden is a special feature – on a sunny day you can visit Dufferin Grove Park which is just down the street and is an amazing play space…we went outdoor skating there last winter