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Goderich Public Library

52, Montreal Street, Goderich, Town of, Ontario, N7A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1978/02/02

Of note is the prominent corner location at the intersection of two downtown streets.; Chris Mahood, Ministry of Culture, 2007.
Southwest Corner, Goderich Public Library, 2007
Women receiving cooking lessons in the basement of the library.; Reuben R. Sallows, (1855 – 1937), n.d.
Basement, Goderich Public Library, date unknown.
Featured is the round tower and its peaked roof.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
Tower, Goderich Public Library, 2007

Other Name(s)

Goderich Public Library
52 Montreal Street
Goderich Carnegie Library

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1903/01/01 to 1904/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/10/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Goderich Public Library, located at 52 Montreal Street, is situated on the southwest corner of Montreal and Lighthouse Streets in downtown Goderich. The property consists of a one-and-a-half-storey red-brick library with finished basement that was constructed between 1903 and 1904.

The property was designated by the Town of Goderich in 1978 for its historical or architectural value under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 50 of 1978).

Heritage Value

The Goderich Public Library is associated with American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie had a life-long interest in the establishment of free libraries as a means to self education, and provided funds for a total of 2,509 libraries, 125 of which were in Ontario. The Goderich Public Library was made possible through a grant of $10,000 from Carnegie. The building has been continuously used as a library since its construction.

The Goderich Public Library is a fine example of the Romanesque style of architecture, typical for public buildings at the turn of the 20th century. Designed by architect, J.A. Fowler, the one-and-a-half-storey red-brick library features a, finished basement and three towers. The largest tower sits at the intersection of Montreal and Lighthouse Streets and is the focal point of the building. It is a round tower topped by a peaked roof and features a special reading room on the interior. The other two towers are square and located at the Montreal Street and Lighthouse Street corners of this irregular, triangular plan building. Characteristic of the Romanesque style of architecture are the rugged construction, the hip roof with gables on the façade and the second-storey round-headed windows with radiating stone voussoirs. Also of note are the one-storey projecting stone porch and heavy double doors on the Montreal Street elevation. In 2003, a sympathetic, one-storey addition with a mezzanine was completed to the south and west of the original building. The main level and finished basement were also renovated at this time, with the exception of a partially finished attic space, that retains some original wall paper and had once been the living quarters of the caretaker.

Located on the triangular-shaped corner of Montreal and Lighthouse Streets, the Goderich Public Library is a familiar landmark to Goderich residents. The large tower facing the Courthouse Square is the focus of the structure and adapts well to its corner lot vista location.

Sources: Town of Goderich, By-law 50 of 1978.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the design or physical value of the Goderich Public Library include its:
- triangular plan
- red-brick construction with rock-faced-stone base
- irregular hip roof
- gables on the façade
- three towers, one on each corner
- peaked roofs on towers
- reading room in the main tower
- one-storey projecting stone porch on the façade
- heavy double doors in the entranceway
- round-headed windows
- radiating voussoirs
- stone sills
- decorative banding
- exposed rafters in the partially finished attic space
- views to the library from Courthouse Square
- location on an irregular, triangular-shaped lot at a prominent intersection in downtown Goderich




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1978/01/01 to 1978/01/01
2002/01/01 to 2002/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type




Architect / Designer

J.A. Fowler



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Goderich Town Hall 57 West Street Goderich, Ontario N7A 2K5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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