Andrew Carnegie is famous for his philanthropic donations in support of public libraries, and in fact, his donations resulted in 125 public libraries being built in Canada, 111 of which were in Ontario. Not all of the libraries remain in use today, but the one in Paris, Ontario still does.
Interesting tidbit: unlike many public libraries that were built near the turn of the last century, the Paris public library has been in continual use as such since it was built. A list of head librarians through the years can be found at the County of Brant Public Library Digital Collections website, along with the building’s timeline.
Voted ‘the Prettiest Little Town in Canada’ by Harrowsmith Magazine, Paris is replete with natural beauty (it lies between two rivers) and architectural delights, featuring a great many well-kept Victorian buildings.
Fun fact: both Alexandrea Graham Bell and Andrew Carnegie have ties to this little town. On August 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received the world’s first successful long-distance telephone call here; and as we know, Andrew Carnegie sponsored our featured library, tying both of these great men to the humble town of Paris, Ontario.
I hope you enjoyed this tiny library travelogue. There are several Carnegie libraries that I plan to feature in this new section of BookNotes, so please stay tuned for the next one!