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'Topping off' ceremony held for Ottawa's new central library

City officials and Indigenous leaders mark the 'topping off' of the new main branch of the Ottawa Public Library, which is a joint venture with Library and Archives Canada. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa) City officials and Indigenous leaders mark the 'topping off' of the new main branch of the Ottawa Public Library, which is a joint venture with Library and Archives Canada. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa)
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Ottawa's new central library has reached a concrete milestone, as construction continues on the $334 million new facility at LeBreton Flats.

City officials and Indigenous leaders celebrated the completion of the pouring of all five floors at Ādisōke on Wednesday morning, officially known as the "topping off" of the joint facility with the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada.

"If you're going to build a beautiful building, make it a library. Everyone can go. Everyone has access. It is a truly public, democratic, accessible space," Sonia Bebbington, Ottawa Public Library CEO, said Wednesday.

With the pouring of the floors now complete, work will soon begin on the iconic curved roof of the facility, constructed by PCL Construction.  During Wednesday's ceremony, the partners involved in the project each signed a piece of structural steel that will be placed within the facility's interior.

Officially named Ādisōke, which means "storytelling" in Anishinaabemowin, the new library being built on LeBreton Flats is a joint Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada facility.

"Ādisōkemeans telling of stories," Chef Greg Sarazin, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, said. "It’s significant in that, that is how knowledge has been passed on from generation to generation in the Algonquin Nation. Through oral histories and storytelling."

The foundation for the new multi-million dollar project was officially laid in 2022. Construction has continued on the facility with the goal to open it in 2026.

The new library and its parking garage were originally expected to cost $192 million to build, but costs have since jumped to $334 million, blamed on escalating prices in the construction industry.

The facility, once complete, will be more than a book depository. It will also have exhibition and event spaces and places for the community to gather.

"The Anishinābe Algonquin Nation looks forward to a positive path forward via Ādisōke," said Band Councillor Frankie Cote of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg.  "We fully expect that our Nation's members will be engaged as active Knowledge Keepers by the Ottawa Public Library within Ādisōke."

"It more than doubles the space that we have currently at our central branch at Laurier and Metcalf, and it's designed, you know, in partnership with the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation," Bebbington said.

"We've been very fortunate with the partnership there. So the building is very much informed by the natural surroundings, by community input. And by that partnership with the host nation, we're really, really proud of that."

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Josh Pringle

Correction

An earlier version of this article said the facility was originally supposed to cost $175 million, but that did not include the additional costs for the parking garage, bringing the total to $192 million. The updated $334 million cost also includes the parking garage.

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