1200 Atwater Ave., Westmount, Québec H3Z 1X4
Monday 10 am - 8 pm
Tuesday 10 am - 6 pm
Wednesday 10 am - 8 pm
Thursday 10 am - 6 pm
Friday 10 am - 6 pm
Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
The Atwater Library traces its origins back to 1828, when the first mechanics' institute established in continental British North America was formed in Montreal. Today, with its official name, the Atwater Library and Computer Centre, it is the sole survivor of the many mechanics' institutes established in Canada in the 19th century. The rest were either closed or merged into public library systems. The Atwater Library and Computer Centre carries on proudly, aware of its traditions, but focused on the future.
In 1828, some prominent Montreal citizens formed the Montreal Mechanics' Institution because they saw a need to educate workers for the emerging industries of the growing city. Patron of the new organization was Sir James Kempt, governor of Lower Canada and first president was Louis Gugy, sheriff of Montreal. Vice-presidents were industrialist John Molson; merchant Horatio Gates; Louis-Joseph Papineau, speaker of the Assembly of Lower Canada, and the Assembly's representative from the west end of the city; and Rev. Henry Esson, educator and Church of Scotland pastor of the St. Gabriel Street Church. Active members appear to have been mainly artisans, craftsmen and shopkeepers who were employers.
More historical articles are found below.
Text and research by Susan McGuire.