Bird’s eye view of central library location within sight

THUNDER BAY – Plans for a central library location at the Intercity Shopping Centre (ISC) are taking shape.

Thunder Bay Public Library CEO Richard Togman said in a recent interview that there are high level draft designs in place for the location and “we’re taking those to our community consultation partners.”

The design gives a bird's eye view of what the library could look like in the mall once it’s built.

“We’re now seeing if there's any feedback and ways that we can improve the design,” Togman added. “Part of the design for the space involves partnerships and multiple organizations being able to use this space.

“At its core this may be a library, but it’s also a large scale community space that you'll find a lot of different agencies operating in. We continue to engage with different community groups, and then in May those draft designs will get tweaked and formalized and be made public.”

Togman noted that they will also get the financial numbers from an architectural and engineering perspective as well as lease rates from the mall.

The central location is waiting to clear one hurdle that has to do with a bylaw amendment. It is necessary because the space that they want to assume is typically reserved for big box retailers or stores that have a regional draw.

Togman reiterated that the extensive study showed that the ISC made the most sense for this venture.

“ISC has accessibility, is a transit hub and the square footage that we need as a library system,” mentioned Togman. “The anchor spaces in the mall have been struggling to retain tenants. We also know that Victoriaville and the County Fair malls have had their own struggles.

“This is a way that we can not only provide an amazing new library experience, but also galvanize the local business community and do something that's really unique for Thunder Bay.”

The bylaw recommendation will be presented to council at the June 17 meeting, which will be followed by the library going before council on June 24 to finance the venture.

City council voted in June 2023 to endorse the Intercity branch concept, and take a closer look at two different options that Thunder Bay Public Library had put on the table to achieve, both of which include branch closures.

Kevin Jeffrey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,