Monday marked a major milestone in the construction of Ottawa’s new central library.

City officials as well as Algonquin elders celebrated the setting of the foundation for Ādisōke, the new Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada joint facility.

“This is a significant milestone," Mayor Jim Watson said. "It's a very exciting project for the city of Ottawa."

“Libraries have become these iconic buildings. They aren’t just the old-fashioned libraries, but places to gather, places to meet, to think and to act.”

The building at Albert Street and Bronson Avenue will be called Ādisōke, an indigenous word for storytelling.

Grand Chief Savanna McGregor of the Algonquin Anishinābeg Nation as well as Councillor Dan Kohoko, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation attended the event and called the project “a strong partnership for the future.”

“Ottawa is at the heart of the Algonquin Nations and this is an example of the beauty that is of the heart- adisoke- to share stories and working together and creating a new vison together," McGregor said. "It is an example that can set precedents across this country.”

Officials placed tokens of significance into a concrete slab that will become part of the site’s foundation. Tokens included a shovel, a city of Ottawa proclamation, a library archival photograph, a coin, and an Algonquin carving of a bear.

“This is symbolic that we are leaving some gifts for future generations to discover, maybe a thousand years from now," watson said. =

Construction continues at the site, with excavating, drilling, and work on the foundation walls of the parking garage.

According to Tracy Condie, a senior superintendent with PCL construction, the project is on time, despite a setback last month when crane operators as well as carpenters went on strike.

“The crane strike impacted us in that, the drill rigs that you see, the mobile crane, the excavator, they are all part of the operating engineers, so that had some impact for a few weeks.”

Cowdie says, “We are a little ahead of schedule when it comes to the concrete work, so overall it should be mitigated.”  

“We are hoping that by Christmas we will be at grade level which you would approach off Albert Street.”

The budget for the new central library ballooned to $334 million due to rising inflation and soaring construction costs during the pandemic. But Matt Luloff, councillor and chair of the Library board, says the budget is now fixed and says the city won’t be on the hook for any more extra costs.

“It is a fixed cost, so that was part of the contract negotiation. So if it ends up costing more, that cost is born by the proponents and if it ends up costing less, that is a savings to them," he said. "Sso whether inflation continues , that is all built in. the project team did a great job to ensure that was built in, so the cost is the cost and it is not going anywhere.”

The library is set to open in 2026.


The budget for the new Ottawa Central Library is $334 million. An earlier version of this story had an incorrect figure.