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National Library Virtual Tour

Welcome to the National Library of Canada!

395 Wellington Street

The National Library of Canada is located at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. The Library, which shares its building with the National Archives of Canada, is near the Parliament Buildings, the Supreme Court, Bank of Canada, and other major federal institutions.

Designed by the Toronto architectural firm Mathers & Haldenby, the National Library of Canada building is an impressive structure built on a 23-metre rise overlooking the Ottawa River. The outside walls are faced with grey Canadian granite to conform with the material used in the nearby Supreme Court. The small windows located in the centre block are designed to limit the amount of light coming into the building in order to protect the books and materials stored there. In front of the building is the sculpture The Secret Bench of Knowledge by Lea Vivot.

The National Library building was officially opened by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson on June 20, 1967. At that time the Library had a collection of approximately 400 000 volumes. Since then it has grown to about 18 million volumes.

The total cost of the building, including the furnishings was only $13 000 000. With a floor area of some 52 600 square metres, the National Library's collection is shelved on approximately 160 kilometres of steel shelving!

Cutaway of 395 Wellington
  • Ground Floor
  • Second Floor
  • Fourth Floor