Cornish Library is a neighbourhood gem


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/02/2018 (1945 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Cornish Library, located at 20 West Gate in Armstrong’s Point and near West Broadway, serves various west central areas of Winnipeg. The library’s history goes back over 100 years.

“The Cornish Library was opened June 15, 1915. So this year will be our 103rd anniversary. It’s a Carnegie Library so it was built with money from the Carnegie Foundation back in 1915,” said Rick Watkins, manager of the Cornish Library.

The Carnegie Foundation gave capital grants to build libraries throughout North America in the early 20th century. Cities would then take care of operating expenses, such as staff and maintenance as well as building and maintaining the book collections. 

Photo by Dylon Martin The Cornish Library, at 20 West Gate, was built with funds from the Carnegie Foundation and opened in June 1915. A major renovation and addition is planned.

The Cornish Library was opened two weeks after the St. John’s Library on Salter Street. This library was made to serve what was south Winnipeg in the early 20th century while St. John’s served north Winnipeg.

“Our main customers are from (…) the Armstrong’s Point Gates area, then the nearby streets, so West Broadway, Furby and also an awful lot of people from Wolseley,” Watkins said. Many people walk over the Maryland Bridge from River Heights.

Watkins said the Cornish is a neighbourhood library and most of the patrons commute to the place by bike or walking, though it is also near a few bus stops. One of the pleasant features of a neighbourhood library is that staff know many users on a first-name basis.

“We do story times for young children, we provide a place for people to come in, we have the internet, we have about eight computers that the public can book and use,” Watkins said.

The library has a red-brick exterior with stone columns around the doorway. The southwest side faces the Assiniboine River. The library contains a considerable collection of books, a classical globe and the Wolseley Quilt, among other items. The quilt was made in the early 2000s to represent the Wolseley neighbourhood.

While the library has windows facing the Assiniboine, they are high up — at seven feet. There are plans to address this lack of riverside view, however. 

“The Cornish Library is going to have a major renovation, starting sometime in the spring, we hope,” Watkins said. This will include the addition of an all-glass reading room with a clear view of the river. There are also plans to add an elevator to make the library accessible to people with mobility challenges.

Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for West Broadway.

Dylon Martin

Dylon Martin
West Broadway community correspondent

Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for West Broadway.

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