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Ontario Public Library Week(16-22): A Brief History of the Holland Landing Branch

Next week, we will be celebrating something special: Ontario Public Library Week! Considering this, we are going to do a short profile of the history of the Holland Landing branch. The library has changed so much since the Holland Landing branch was first established, and we wanted to share a little bit of that with you; in this way, we can all appreciate the hard work and dedication that helped our little library system grow into the community hub it is today.

Having a library in East Gwillimbury is nothing new. We know there was a library operating in Queensville on Leslie Street in the 1890’s, and a library opened in Mount Albert by Wright Fogg in 1893. These were very small libraries and served their communities for many decades, mostly through volunteer help. What changed was the amalgamation of the towns of Holland Landing, Queensville, Holt, Mount Albert, and Sharon under the auspices of the Township of East Gwillimbury. Now, they needed a newer, bigger library branch to serve the growing population.

In 1974, the East Gwillimbury Council appointed a library board to help to steer library services for the entire township, effective January 1st, 1975. Then a new branch was established at Holland Landing, officially opening to the public on April 24th, 1975, located on 8 Bradford Street (see photo below of the interior).

Figure 1: Interior of the Holland Landing Branch on 8 Bradford Street, c. 1975.

It eventually moved over to 18272 Yonge Street in 1983, where the Dutch Settlers Plaza remains, across the street from the current library building. That library was only 5,800 square feet in size. By 1985, the collection had grown to such a size that another relocation was necessary. When the library branch closed, library staff had to move “30,000 books, 150 video discs, 89 16 mm films, and boxes of periodicals across Yonge Street into the new library/recreation complex”.[1] It officially opened to the public on October 31st, 1985. And here we have remained ever since that time. . There have been many changes, such as the use of an automated check-out system using a computer starting in 1989, the installation of computers in the kid’s area in 1995, and most recently, the self checkout systems in 2019. What has not changed is the sense of community and dedication that is fostered by every single person on our library staff team.

We have special programs happening during that week which highlights all the possibilities that are open to you when you have your own library card. From all-ages story-times to tech help, Cricut crafting demos to Youth Task Force, there is so much to do at your library, knowing that you belong here.

Check out all our special offerings on our Eventbrite page! We hope to see you at our mighty little library sometime soon!

[1] The East Gwillimbury Communicator, October 23rd, 1985.

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