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Winnipeg Public Library

Renovation of Cornish Library

Rendering of Renovated Cornish Library Exterior

About this project

Cornish Library has served the community for over a century. Renovations - including an accessible entrance and an accessible washroom - will ensure the library meets the needs of today's library users. Plans include a complete redesign of spaces with adult, children's and teen areas on the main floor, a computer area, and study and leisure spaces. An extension to the south of the building will include a bright and open reading area. The lower level will be completely renewed with program and meeting rooms, and renovated washrooms. Furnishings will be updated and the building will undergo needed repairs.


Located in historic Armstrong Point, Cornish Library opened on June 15, 1915. The upper level holds the collections and services. The lower level has a program room and washrooms. The library loaned 108,136 items in 2016 and offered 66 free programs and workshops. Public consultations on the renewal of the library were held in 2012 and 2015.

As part of the Cornish Library Renovation Project, the City of Winnipeg contracted a geotechnical consultant to complete an engineering study to resolve ongoing riverbank erosion issues behind the library. Riverbank erosion control is needed to protect the Cornish Library as a historical community asset. A riverbank failure occurred in spring 2017 and since then, the City and the consultant have established the best course of action to address this issue. The City awarded a contract to DJN Services Ltd for the initial phase of erosion protection on February 14, 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why are renovations needed?

Cornish Library has served the community for over 100 years. The building is not currently accessible and is in need of a redesign to maximize floor space and enable services in demand by today's library user. The building's structure will also undergo needed repairs. The addition to the library will result in a fully accessible building and add 780 sq. feet to the existing 7,000 sq. ft.

How was input provided on this project?

An Open House was held in July, 2012 with preliminary plans shared in June, 2015. Feedback from that event led to the final plans for construction.

When will construction begin?

Construction is anticipated to begin in the Spring 2018. Details and date will be announced through media when known and posted here.

What work is planned for the riverbank behind the Library?

Installation of erosion protection on the riverbank at Cornish Library will be completed prior to the start of the library construction and renovation work. This work must occur in the winter months when the river levels are at the lowest. The City awarded a contract for the initial phase of erosion protection to DJN Services Ltd on February 14 and work will commence February 26, 2018 until mid-March 2018.

How was this project funded?

In celebration of their 100th anniversaries, the Winnipeg Library Foundation launched a fundraising campaign for the renewal of Cornish and St. John�s Libraries. The Cornish Library Renovation Project budget includes approximately 2.8 million dollars allocated for the survey, design, construction, furniture, fixtures, and IT components. Funding includes approximately 1.58 million from the City and 1.25 million from the Winnipeg Library Foundation�s fundraising contribution. These amounts do not include the riverbank stabilization project.

Where can I learn more about the heritage of this building?

Cornish Library is one of two branches built with grants from the Carnegie Foundation (the other branch being St. John's Library). The library has been designated a Grade II heritage building. Learn more at . The Friends of Cornish Library's booklet Leafing through Our History: Cornish Library 1915-2005 is available at several library branches to borrow.

Date added: May 12, 2017


The Cornish Library is located at 20 West Gate

Related Links

This renewal project was spearheaded by the Winnipeg Library Foundation, which has worked to raise funds for Winnipeg's public libraries for twenty years.

For information on the Library Redevelopment Strategy, please see Standing Policy Committee on Protection and Community Services - July 5, 2012

Last update: January 28, 2019