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Matt Smith
WORDS AND BOTTOM PHOTO

TOP PHOTO, “P010257 KPL,” Courtesy of Grace Schmidt Room, Kitchener Public Library

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Originally built in 1904 with money from Andrew Carnegie, the Kitchener (formerly Berlin) Carnegie library graced the corner of Queen and Weber Streets until its demolition in 1962. Kitchener’s new central library was opening just down the street, and the aging building was demolished not long after the original photo was taken. The Commerce House office tower was later constructed on the site and remains there to this day. Commerce House’s modernist and brutalist elements stand in stark contrast with the classic lines of the old building. Fortunately other local Carnegie libraries survived the dark days of heritage neglect, for example in Ayr, Elmira, Galt, Hespeler, Preston, Waterloo, and New Hamburg.