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Blue Mountains Public Library Gets a Facelift 155 years in the Making

VIDEO: Town of The Blue Mountains, ON – Following a six-month renovation, the Craigleith Heritage Depot, a branch of The Blue Mountains Public Library (BMPL) and a historic rail station, was reopened on Friday, June 23rd. The Craigleith Station was opened in 1868 as a stop along the Grand Trunk Rail Line and was instrumental in developing the Ski Industry in the region as the “Ski Train” brought tourists every Sunday from Toronto to the slopes.

After more than a century and a half, the building was reverted back to the original two-toned Grand Trunk colour scheme and included major repairs. BMPL received $406,250 through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure’s (ICIO) Community Culture and Recreation (CCR) Funding Stream, a joint Canada/Ontario grant for the renovations of the heritage community museum. BMPL also celebrated the work done with a $20,700 Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that was awarded last July to hybridize the main branch’s Gallery and Boardroom. The result of this funding has meant that programs can now be attended in person as well as broadcast. Programs have been offered for hybrid attendance as well as for later viewing. Community members are also using these hybrid spaces to host their own meetings, including community groups such as Toast Masters.

Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson in conversation with Dr. Sabrina Saunders, CEO of the Blue Mountains Public Library

“Today’s funding announcement is great news for our region. This investment in the well-loved and historic Craigleith Heritage Depot will breath new life and purpose into a fantastic space,” said Brian Saunderson, MPP for Simcoe-Grey. “Libraries have always been inclusive centres of community. I am excited to see that crucial resources and services will now extend from the main Thornbury site to this new satellite location in Craigleith.”

Our motto is to Connect, Explore, and Create, and these two grants are imperative to meeting that end,” said Dr. Sabrina Saunders, CEO of the Blue Mountains Public Library. “Our community has had so many questions about the new colour and many are surprised to know the building had been anything other than red since it changed hands in the 1920’s and the colour followed,” added Saunders. “The hybridization of our two meeting spaces through the support of the OFT has been a game changer for us. So many community members are still uncomfortable participating in a room full of people and we can now offer opportunities to watch and participate from home. Our boardroom users are also finding we can offer spaces and technologies that go well beyond the zoom meeting.”

Craigleith Heritage Depot Museum Curator Alessia Farris conducted a guided tour of the museum and library

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grant-making in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund.