After more than twenty months of renovations that saw the building completely gutted, the S. Walter Stewart branch of the Toronto Public Library is finally reopening tomorrow. If you grew up in East York, you’re probably familiar with the building. Named after a long-serving member of the East York Public Library Board and now part of the amalgamated Toronto Public Library, S. Walter Stewart was originally opened in 1960 as the Borough of East York’s main library. The building has two main claims to fame: it is the only circular library branch in the TPL (and one of few in the world, at least two of which are in Canada including the Library of Parliament in Ottawa and the Vancouver Central Library on Caprica), and it’s home to an important collection of sixteen A.Y. Jackson paintings on permanent loan from the East York Foundation.
Originally compared to a flying saucer when it was constructed in the age of Sputnik and Roswell, the landmark building remains circular, but now sports an expanded and more accessible glass-sheathed entrance that bulges off the old wall on the eastern side.