The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) will contribute to Ottawa’s status as a world-class city by creating a modern, iconic, and inclusive Central Library that responds to our changing city and customer needs.


A number of key commitments and approvals led us to recommendations on where, what, and how to build:

  • In April 2015, the Ottawa Public Library Board committed to developing an inclusive, dynamic Central Library enabling creation and learning;
  • In June 2015, the OPL Board approved a new build as the preferred option for the Central Library;
  • In July 2015, Ottawa City Council approved the Central Library Development strategic initiative in its 2015-2018 Term of Council Priorities; and
  • In March 2016, the Board approved staff to pursue two planning paths – a stand-alone facility, and a joint facility with Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

The Board has also approved a site selection process and a public engagement framework.

Since 2015, we have heard from more than 4,000 members of the public on the project overall.

A Fairness Commissioner was appointed in July 2015 to oversee the site evaluation process and to ensure due diligence. External consultants have also been engaged to provide expertise and oversight over technical aspects of the project.

The Report and Recommendations

The report (pdf) to the OPL Board for January 31, 2017 includes recommendations to:

  • Work with Library and Archives Canada to build a joint facility of 216,000 gross square feet (approximately 133,000 sq. ft for OPL);
  • Locate the Ottawa Central Library at 557 Wellington Street;
  • Use a Design-Bid-Build procurement method for the design and construction of the facility;
  • Approve, in principle, $168 million project, with a funding share of $99 million for the OPL portion.

All supporting planning and technical reports that led to this decision are listed below.

Upon the Board’s approval of the Ottawa Central Library OPL-LAC Joint Project, the report will be forwarded to Ottawa City Council for consideration on February 8, 2017.

The Government of Canada will make a decision regarding Library and Archives Canada’s participation in the joint facility in early 2018.