Public consultations open for new Ottawa Public Library and Archives

The national engagement process for the architectural design of the facility has been labeled the “Inspire555 Series,” in a nod to its address. 555 Albert Street is at the western edge of downtown Ottawa, five blocks from Parliament, and on the new LRT line at Pimisi Station. The Inspire555 Series includes design workshops, pop-up events, expert lectures, online activities and engagement (local and national), and knowledge sharing with Indigenous communities – all planned for 2019. The first in-person design workshops on Building Blocks are set for later this month (details below).

Diamond Schmitt Architects and Ottawa’s KWC Architects have been retained to design the joint facility. At the first design workshop, the public will hear world-renowned architect Don Schmitt explain why this is one of the most exciting sites he has ever worked with.

Workshop participants will be asked to provide feedback on preliminary concepts and to share hands-on ideas for how the new joint facility could take shape on the site. The public will have the opportunity to view preliminary outlines, share ideas regarding how to make the most of the panoramic views, and inform the physical orientation of the building. All Canadians, and those unable to attend the workshops in person, will be invited to engage online at

A series of visits and meetings are planned with local Algonquin communities, as well as with local urban and national Indigenous communities. Activities include community visits, design-focused meetings, knowledge sharing events, and engagement with National Indigenous Associations.

The Inspire555 Series is the latest in an ongoing engagement program for this essential city-building project and national destination. From 2013 to 2016, more than 3,000 people provided input into the spaces and uses for a new central library. In 2016, following the decision to explore a partnership with Library and Archives Canada, the public provided input into the selection criteria for a site for the joint facility, as well as its functional programming.

Set to open in 2024, the joint facility will become a landmark destination built on the shared values of the partner institutions. The facility will deliver a rich customer experience through the Ottawa Public Library’s Central Library and Library and Archives Canada’s public services, exhibitions and events, which highlight Canada’s heritage. The joint programming and services will make this a truly unique offering in Canada. It will be a modern, iconic facility that will respond to rapidly developing technology, growing customer expectations and changing demographics.