Government Invests in the Future of Atwater Library of the Mechanics' Institute of Montréal

OTTAWA, Oct. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, on behalf the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada will be investing $94,954.23 in the conservation of the Atwater Library of the Mechanics' Institute of Montréal National Historic Site of Canada. The investment is funded through the National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places which ensures the protection of national historic sites, heritage lighthouses and railway stations.

The conservation project will aim to preserve the large arched windows on the principal façades of the Atwater Library, original to the building's construction in 1918-1920. The Atwater Library traces its origins back to 1828, when the first mechanics' institute established in continental British North America was formed in Montreal. Today, the Atwater Library and Computer Centre is the sole survivor of the many mechanics' institutes established in Canada in the 19th century. This funding will help ensure the site remains vibrant and supports tourism and job creation in the community.

National historic sites reflect the rich and varied heritage of our nation and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history. As we near the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to experience and learn more about our environment and our heritage.


"Our Government has taken a leadership role in the protection and promotion of Canada's invaluable and irreplaceable heritage such as the Atwater Library of the Mechanics' Institute of Montréal. This new funding will ensure the preservation of one of Montreal's treasured national historic sites for future generations while supporting local economies and the tourism sector."

The Honorable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

"The Atwater Library is eminently deserving of public and private support – both for the charitable organization's vibrant programs and for conservation of its heritage building. The Government of Canada designated the building a national historic site in recognition of its fine architectural qualities and the organization's remarkable history of community service since its founding in 1828 as the Montreal Mechanics' Institution."

Hon. W. David Angus, Co-Chair, Atwater Library Capital Campaign

"The Atwater Library's heritage building is a hub of community life in the Montreal region and attracts 100,000 user visits a year for a great variety of educational and cultural activities. It is essential that we conserve the building and equip it to serve the population for decades to come. That requires ongoing contributions by private donors and governments."

Richard W. Pound, Co-Chair, Atwater Library Capital Campaign

"We are very grateful to the donors and funders who are paying for essential upgrades to our well-used building. The building houses thriving community programs and services, and is the centre from which we do outreach work. We operate frugally with the help of a great number of volunteers, and need more support to fulfill our charitable mission."

Lynn Verge, Executive Director, Atwater Library and Computer Centre

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2016 is investing an additional $20 million to expand the National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places. In addition to national historic sites, federally-recognized heritage railway stations and heritage lighthouses are also eligible for funding for the first time.
  • Funding under this program is available to all heritage places that have been formally recognized, but are not administered, by the federal government. Eligible applicants include not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, and provincial, territorial, regional, or municipal governments who are either owners or long-term lessees of heritage places that have been formally recognized by the federal government, including associated lands, or parts of a heritage place or national historic site district.
  • Atwater Library and Computer Centre is a community library, digital learning centre and meeting place located in Montreal's downtown west by the Atwater metro station.
  • Atwater Library and Computer Centre attracts over 95,000 user visits a year. They do extensive community outreach and partner with a host of groups and schools. The centre is also a registered charity with a mission to foster learning and contribute to the development of the Montreal community.

Associated Links
National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places   
Atwater Library and Computer Centre   


SOURCE Parks Canada

For further information: Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-997-1441 ; Media Relations, Parks Canada, 1-855-862-1812,


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