The main new branch for the County of Brant Public Library will be built on the site of the Bawcutt Centre.
The Bawcutt Centre, located in Paris, Ontario, was built in 1854 as the Paris Town Hall and is one of the oldest civic Gothic Revival-style buildings in Canada. Once at the heart of its community, the building will be restored as a cultural cornerstone for County of Brant residents. It was designated a National Historic Site in 2020.
“The County of Brant Public Library has been searching for a site for its new Main Branch Library since 2013,” explained Library Board Chair Fred Gladding. “This location allows us to create a community hub that embraces diversity and encourages curiosity, discovery, and literacy. We are honoured to preserve its history and build a central library that reflects our community’s growth and needs.”
The new Main Branch Library will feature a blend of old and new elements. Accessible, open community spaces, quiet study rooms, and technology labs will blend with heritage features like original brick and stone. The original opera hall will be restored to its former glory and equipped for modern performances and live events.
“There is a wonderful synergy with combining these two projects” said David Bailey, Mayor for the County of Brant. “A main library with a performance space like this will be a huge asset for all County residents, and will kick start the rejuvenation of Paris’ upper town.”
Work on the project will begin this fall with the search for an architectural design firm. Construction is anticipated to start in 2022 and be completed by 2024.