Halifax – Memorial Library

5381 Spring Garden Road

World War II was not long over and some families were still under shock learning that they would have to cope without a husband or brothers or sons for the rest of their lives. Nothing could compensate for their sadness and stress to support the families and surely not the upcoming 200th anniversary of the foundation of the city. The losses were devastating to the community.

It was decided to build a dual function building: a memorial and a place to share knowledge. The Halifax Memorial Library became an approved project with special thought to the lost lives to soften the grief.

Whenever you are walking on Spring Garden Road or Grafton Street, you will see the flat grey solemn stone structure that was unconventionally erected diagonally on the lot providing access from both streets. Next to the trees, almost at the corner of the lot, is the colossal statue of Sir Winston Churchill.

The first public library in Halifax was opened in 1951 and it combined some symbolic items. The most notable were the two (2) hand-made books: Books of Remembrance in which the names of all lost souls during WWI and WWII are respectfully finely written.   Other items, with meaningful motives, included a silver cross, murals, flags, and standards.

The popularity and the enthusiasm toward this place surpassed the anticipated capacity.  It was in 2014 that a new library was available to support the higher demand: the Halifax Central Library.  Special attention and a ceremonial event surrounded the respectful transfer of the Books of Remembrance to the new library’s dedicated room. We believe that there was probably a lot of preparation but the gesture surely touches our hearts. Adequate actions to preserve and continue the tribute to the lost love ones during wars were surely appreciated.

Now, without activities at the site of 5381 Garden Spring Road, the future of the building and the land it occupies is difficult to find. In addition, searches have brought new sights of importance to this site which goes way back in time. From 1870-1949 it was a park: Grafton Park.  It is the period between 1760 and 1869 that makes us sad.  In the early days of the foundation, the 1750s, the city was walled.  This part was just outside of the city limits and was used as a burial ground. It is believed that maybe 4500 bodies of the less fortunate were buried here, often without even a sign. Today, there is a plaque mentioning the high probability that this place was the burial place of Philippe Aubert de Gaspe (fils). He is credited to be the first French novelist author for the book entitled “L’influence d’un livre”, translating to “The Book Influence”.

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