“Building Communities” Capital Campaign

Serving the Community

The Atwater Library and Computer Centre is an educational, cultural and social oasis for the Greater Montreal region.  We provide a broad range of programs and services that build the community by:

  • decreasing the social isolation experienced by many of society’s disadvantaged people;
  • reintegrating disadvantaged people into society and working life;
  • providing a better quality of life for society’s marginalized members;
  • providing educational activities for children from underprivileged backgrounds and in danger of dropping out of school; and
  • providing support for literacy-challenged adults and children.

Our building is our home. It provides a vital physical location from which we are able to receive more than 100,000 visits annually to the Library, and serve our users through the delivery of community-based activities that are hosted within our walls.

We are the only community library and centre in Montreal’s downtown district, west of the Bibliothèque Nationale.

The Library’s Home

The Library is housed in a heritage building that is a National Historic Site. It was designed by architects Hutchison, Wood and Miller, and opened in 1920, after moving from its previous location at 360 St. James Street (now rue St-Jacques). With the proceeds from the sale of the earlier building, the present structure was well constructed of quality materials and is attractive as well as functional.

Building Communities” Campaign – Phase One

The Library’s home had not had major renovation from its opening in 1920 up to 2012 when Richard W. Pound accepted the challenge of chairing the“Building Communities” Capital Campaign. The following citizens served on a Campaign Cabinet with him: W. John Bennett, Lionel J. Blanshay, Roy L. Heenan, Mary Leslie-Aitken, Hilary Pearson, David A. Tarr and Philip L. Webster.

The Campaign objective was to raise the funds required to make the building safe, secure and equipped for decades more of community service.

By late 2013 the Campaign had succeeded in raising $1.5 million from private donors to supplement a grant of $425,000 from the Government of Canada, for a total of over $1.9 million.

The funds raised covered the following costs up to early 2015:

  • Architectural design supported by various consultants’ reports;
  • Code compliance work – sprinkler system installed throughout building, Tupper Street stairwell separation made with new partitions and fire doors, railings added to mezzanine and north stairwell;
  • Central skylight reinforced with insertion of support beams and suspended chandelier rewired and refurbished;
  • Tupper Street oak door completely refurbished;
  • Four new washrooms installed with greater capacity plus provision for people in wheelchairs;
  • Auditorium upgraded – kitchenette added in former storage room, new ceiling light fixtures and new carpet installed; and
  • New cork flooring laid in some common areas on the ground floor and the second floor.

Building Communities” Campaign – Phase Two

In late 2013, it was decided to “re-boot” the Capital Campaign and Richard W. Pound and W. David Angus agreed to co-chair an initiative to raise the additional funds necessary for completion of the building upgrading. This additional needed work includes:

  • Installing a beautiful new Atwater Avenue entrance door matching the heritage character of the building, replacing the shabby door substituted for the original decades ago;
  • Installing new ceiling light fixtures on the main floor and in the library stacks, replacing obsolete and broken lights;
  • Repairing the imposing windows to conserve their beauty, including replacing broken glass, restoring and repainting exterior wooden sashes, replacing putty, re-caulking, adding weather seals, and fixing worn cords;
  • Repointing the masonry;
  • Replacing the skylight; and
  • Installing an elevator to accommodate physically-challenged people – very expensive because of the need to insert the elevator shaft within the building with consequent onerous requirements for containment of asbestos.

Support Your Library

The Atwater Library and Computer Centre is a vibrant, busy and thriving community resource. We provide much-used services to the members of our community that would not otherwise have easy access to educational, cultural and social opportunities. By investing in all members of our community, we create a better city in which to live and work.

Please help us to continue serving and building the community in which we live.  Please donate to our “Building Communities” Campaign.


The Library receives only 11% of its core operating funding from governments, the balance coming from revenue-generating activities and private donations.

Parks Canada designated the building as a National Historic Site in 2005 and, from 2011 through 2014, paid the matching grant of $425,000 mentioned above.

Become an Active Builder of  the Montreal Community