Library timeline

Click on the dates below to see our history timeline. A special thank you to the Town of Grimsby's Doors Open team for collecting the information below with the support of the Grimsby Historical Society and Archives.

Photo Gallery: Library History will appear here on the public site.


1871 to 1900

The first library in Grimsby was located in the home of village councilor Sam Mabey at 99 Main Street West. This library opened in April 1871 and was a Mechanics Institute Library and funded by the federal government.

After the fire

A fire at a nearby basket factory damaged the Mabey house and so the collection of 1,000 books moved to the space above the old fire hall. People paid $1 for a yearly subscription to a catalogue from which they would choose books and then submit their requests to a librarian through a wicket.

1900 to 1970

On February 7th, 1900 town council approved a recommendation that from that point on the use of the library would be free to any tax payer in the village of Grimsby, as well as hiring a new librarian who would be paid $10 a month.

The Andrew Carnegie Foundation grant

In 1902 at an annual meeting it was decided that a committee be formed to contact the Andrew Carnegie foundation to request a grant for $10,000 to build a new public library. When the committee did not hear back from Carnegie many members lost interest. However, their secretary Mr. Aitchison took matters into his own hands by sending Grimsby post cards to Carnegie on a regular basis.

A new public library is built

These efforts paid off when the town finally received a grant of $8,000 to build a free public library building in Grimsby. In 1911 the new Grimsby Public Library opened to the public and remained in this typical Carnegie building for almost 100 years.

1970 to 2004

During the 1970s the Carnegie building was expanded and the Grimsby Public Art Gallery was opened in the basement. Renovations in 1977 included the instillation of a wheelchair ramp entrance, a new gift shop, and a temperature controlled exhibition and storage space.

The sculpture

In 1978, the Klosso Eloul sculpture ‘Double is One' (the two tipped cubes) was installed and remains on the grounds to this day.

2004 to present

In 2004, a new state of the art facility was commissioned to architects Shore, Tilbe, Irwin and Partners and Reich and Petch to jointly house the Grimsby Public Library and Art Gallery.

Construction of the new building

After demolishing the 1970's Art Gallery addition, a new building was built directly next door to the original Carnegie building. This older building then became the Grimsby Historical Society and Archives. Looking out the windows of our new modern facility to the classic architecture of the old one, you really get a sense of the progress that has been made over the last hundred years.



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