Blessing ceremony on the site of the new Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility signals preparatory construction work to beg


Earlier today, Elders from Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation led a blessing ceremony on the site of the new Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility, ahead of the start of preparatory construction work. The ceremony included prayers and a smudging of the entire site.

Due to COVID-19, the blessing was attended by a limited number of participants, comprising of Elders and representatives from the two Algonquin communities and the project partners.

The idea of a community public library and national library and archives on this site presents an opportunity to examine the nature of knowledge transfer and learning that will take place in the building, and how it relates to the local Algonquin Anishinabeg People as well as other First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation People in Ottawa and across the country. The identity and vision of the project has been made richer by the inclusion of traditional Indigenous knowledge.

The blessing of the site is important and signals the commencement of preliminary construction work that will prepare the site for construction of the facility. The public may notice activity on the site beginning mid-October.

PCL (one of three pre-qualified general contractors for the project), has been awarded the Early Works construction package.

The City will be releasing the tender for the main project construction to the three pre-qualified general contractors in early 2021, with construction of the facility to begin next summer.

For more information about the Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility, visit

Background information

The new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility is the result of unprecedented partnerships and community engagement. The story of this groundbreaking project is about two major public institutions coming together to build a place where—when its doors open in late 2024—Ottawa residents, Canadians and visitors from around the world will come together to connect to learn, discover, and create.

Ottawa Public Library

Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is the largest bilingual (English/French) public library system in North America. The OPL extends public access to information and services through the library’s 34 branches, physical and virtual (, as well as two mobile libraries and a vending machine-style lending library service. Serving close to one million Ottawa residents, OPL’s mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people.

Library and Archives Canada

As the custodian of our distant past and recent history, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is a key resource for all Canadians who wish to gain a better understanding of who they are, individually and collectively. LAC acquires, processes, preserves and provides access to our documentary heritage and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

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