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About the Project

Set to open in 2026, Ādisōke, the new Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada joint facility, will be a modern, welcoming and inclusive place where people will come together to explore, learn, create and connect through the power of stories.

Ādisōke is built on the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinābe People. The name Ādisōke means “storytelling” in Anishinābemowin Algonquin language. 

The building will serve as Ottawa Public Library’s Central Branch, as well as the main location for Library and Archives Canada’s services. Ādisōke will offer a unique customer experience through public services, exhibitions and events that will showcase Indigenous stories and histories, as well as Canadian culture and heritage.

The architectural design of Ādisōke is the result of a unique public engagement process that asked thousands of residents, Indigenous Peoples, and Canadians from coast to coast to provide inspiration. As a net-zero carbon facility, Ādisōke is leading the way in sustainable infrastructure development.

Funding for Ādisōke will come from multiple sources, with the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Library contributing $170 million toward the construction of the facility, with the City contributing an additional $28 million for a 200-space parking garage. The Government of Canada is contributing $136 million for its portion of the construction.

Construction of Ādisōke is currently underway.

Project Timeline

Browse some of the major planning and construction milestones for Ādisōke.

Name Story

Beginning in 2019, members of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinābeg and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, with representatives of the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada, came together to discuss the new building that would overlook the Kichi Zìbì Ottawa River lands. They shared their ideas and hopes for this unique space that would welcome every person to share the stories of our past, present and future.

As the process unfolded, it became apparent that this new building, designed to be inclusive and welcoming to all, could also be given a name in Anishinābemowin Algonquin language.

After thoughtful consideration, the Host Nation and the OPL-LAC Project Team, chose the name Ādisōke — an Anishinābemowin word that refers to the telling of stories. Storytelling is the traditional means by which Indigenous peoples share knowledge, culture and history over generations. 

“The name of new Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility, Ādisōke represents partnership, commitment and respect. Every day in our communities, stories are being told about our families, our history and our culture. Storytelling connects our past with our generations.” 
- Della Meness
Manager of Education, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation

Public Engagement

Since 2013, more than 7,000 people have provided valuable input that has helped inform and inspire all aspects of the Ādisōke facility – inside and out.

2013

Ottawa Public Library (OPL) began its public engagement for a new central library. Over three years, more than 3,000 people provided valuable input into the new library’s vision. This feedback was used at every stage of the development and design process to inform the facility’s design.

2016

City Council and Ottawa Public Library Board approved a collaborative project with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to explore how the two partners could move ahead with a new joint facility. More than 1,300 people provided input into the selection criteria for a location for the joint facility, as well as the facility’s joint functional programming.

2018

Award-winning Diamond Schmitt Architects and Ottawa-based KWC Architects were selected to design the new joint facility. In December 2018, the architects made their first public appearance, and stated that, in line with OPL and LAC’s direction, they would connect and collaborate with the public in the development of the new facility’s architectural design.

2019

More than 4,000 members of the public participated in in-person and online engagement activities– billed as the “Inspire555 Series.” These activities helped shape the design of the joint facility.

Indigenous Engagement

For the architects and members of the Ādisōke Project Team, engagement with Indigenous communities is of the highest importance. Below is a summary of the Indigenous engagement activities to date. The Project Team will continue to engage with the Anishinābe Algonquin host nation and local and national First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation individuals and organizations to inform the programs and services that will be offered in the joint facility.

The Project Team consulted, collaborated, and engaged significantly with the Anishinābe Algonquin Host Nation, as well as Indigenous communities in Ottawa and across the country. The identity, architectural design, and vision of the project has been made richer by the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge.

The land surrounding the Chaudière Falls is a sacred meeting place for the Anishinābe Algonquin Nation and other First Nations, associated with a portage and trade route for Indigenous people along the Kichi Zìbì Ottawa River.

The idea of a community public library and national library and archives on this site presents an opportunity to examine the nature of knowledge transfer and learning that will take place in the building, and how it relates to the local Anishinābe Algonquin People as well as Indigenous communities in Ottawa and across the country.

Early 2019

The Project Team and the architects worked with an Indigenous consultation specialist to begin engaging with the Anishinābe Algonquin Host Nation.

March 2019

The Design and Project Teams travelled to the Host Nation communities of Kitigan Zibi Anishinābeg and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. These initial meetings were dedicated to listening, understanding, and developing relationships.

May 2019

The Design and Project Teams met with Library and Archives Canada’s Indigenous Advisory Circle.

June 2019

The Design and Project Teams invited interested Elders and community members to Ottawa to provide creative input at design-focused workshops. Topics discussed included identifying preferred locations within the facility and the landscape where Indigenous design elements could be incorporated.

October & December 2019

Two design-focused workshops were held with the communities of Kitigan Zibi Anishinābeg and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. You can read more about the design feedback received from the Anishinābe Algonquin Host Nation here.

September & October 2020

Engagement sessions took place for local and national Indigenous organizations to hear about the architectural inspirations for the facility’s design, the initial concepts for integrating Indigenous art into the facility, and the early thinking on the programs, collections, and service.

November 2020

A virtual engagement session with the Ottawa-Gatineau urban Indigenous community members was led by Indigenous facilitators. Participants learned about the architectural inspirations for the facility’s design, asked questions about the programs, services and other features of the joint facility, and provided input and recommendations to ensure the new joint facility is an inclusive space for local First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation individuals, families and organizations.

November 2020

An online Indigenous engagement was launched. This survey provided Indigenous peoples in the Ottawa area and across Canada a way to provide ideas, suggestions and input into the new joint facility, including the design of the indoor and outdoor spaces as well as the programs and services offered.

August 2021

The facility was given the name “Ādisōke” by the Anishinābe Algonquin Host Nation. Ādisōke is an Anishinābemowin word that refers to the telling of stories. Read the news release and name story to learn more.

January 2022

Commissioned Indigenous artists met with Project Team members, as well as Host Nation Elders and community members to discuss their visions for their artwork. Read more about the Indigenous Public Art program here.

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