Ottawa Public Library–Library and Archives Canada joint facility: A landmark cultural infrastructure project pointing the way to a greener future 

News release

Green roof with solar panels
Green roof with solar panels

OTTAWA, February 8, 2021

Significant enhancements to achieve net-zero carbon are being made to the joint Ottawa Public Library (OPL)–Library and Archives Canada (LAC) facility, which will soon take shape in downtown Ottawa. An update was provided today by the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Centre, along with City of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Matthew Luloff, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board.

Prior to these changes, the building’s design already complied with the LEED Gold standard, an independent certification that takes into account ecological land and water use, energy efficiency, and sustainable materials. Funding from the federal government will allow for:

  • upgrades to the building’s envelope and insulation;
  • triple-glazed windows;
  • solar panels on the rooftop and embedded in the facade;
  • additional sustainable materials; and
  • an indoor green wall.

This funding is in line with the Government of Canada effort to ensure that major infrastructure projects like this one contribute to a clean, safe and sustainable environment for present and future generations.

Scheduled to open in late 2024, with an official opening in 2025, the OPL–LAC joint facility promises to be a cultural showplace for the country’s heritage, a meeting place for local residents and visitors alike, and a prime example of the Government’s commitment to building sustainable infrastructure.


“There is great value in modern and greener cultural spaces such as the one we are building in the heart of our capital. Not only will this building showcase our collective history and heritage, it will also point the way to a more sustainable future where clean growth is the rule.”

The Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“Ottawa's amazing new super library — a partnership between LAC and OPL — will be one of the most sustainable buildings in Canada! Today we announced that the federal government is investing to make this iconic building net-zero emissions. This is good for the climate, for economic growth and jobs, and for building a cleaner, more inclusive community.”

Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament, Ottawa-Centre

“As we know, tackling climate change requires a concerted effort and collaboration across all sectors and levels of government. Our Ottawa Public Library - Library and Archives Canada Joint facility will be an iconic part of our city and thanks to this Federal funding we are able to enhance the design to be a net-zero carbon facility. This supports Council’s ambitious targets to reduce our city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050 and is a great example of collaboration that helps us proactively manage climate impacts.


Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“During the most comprehensive and extensive public engagement process we have taken to date, we heard loud and clear from our partners in the Indigenous community, our Ottawa Public Library customers, the broader community, and stakeholders at all levels that sustainability is key, and the Joint Facility should set the bar for other public libraries and institutions as well as for the broader development of Lebreton Flats. Thanks to our unique partnership with Library and Archives Canada, we will meet that high standard and build a world-class facility that will be a model for sustainability, and a testament to the power of collaboration between two public institutions. This is something all of us can be very proud of.”

Councillor Matthew Luloff, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board

Quick facts

  • Construction of the Ottawa Public Library–Library and Archives Canada joint facility in the LeBreton Flats district on the western edge of downtown Ottawa is set to begin in 2021, with its completion scheduled for late 2024.

  • In its 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada committed an additional $34.5 million to this project, most notably for significant sustainability enhancements to the facility.

  • These investments in a net-zero carbon facility will result in a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity. This represents the equivalent of approximately 170 fewer metric tons of CO2 produced per year, or taking 37 passenger vehicles off the road.

  • The new joint facility will be the result of unprecedented partnerships and community engagement, and it will bring together Ottawa residents, Canadians and visitors from around the world to learn, discover and create.

  • Located by the Confederation Line’s Pimisi Station in the heart of the capital, the new facility is a key part of Ottawa’s vision to be the most liveable mid-sized city in North America.

  • During extensive consultations in 2019 and 2020 with a wide range of stakeholders and citizens, respondents overwhelmingly expressed their support for a green and sustainable building.

  • This is the second major sustainable infrastructure project for LAC. In 2022, it will open a new net-zero carbon preservation facility, which is currently under construction next to LAC’s existing Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec. 

Associated links


Camille Gagné-Raynauld
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Library and Archives Canada

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
City of Ottawa

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