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New Place des Pionniers construction project, a home for the Lucy-Faris Library
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New Place des Pionniers construction project, a home for the Lucy-Faris Library
New Place des Pionniers construction project, a home for the Lucy-Faris Library

Project description

Located in the heart of the Aylmer sector, the new three-storey building will house the library (two storeys) and the Aylmer service centre.

Gatineau seized the opportunity to replace an aging building. The current one at 115 rue Principale will be demolished and replaced.

Its architecture and strategic location will make the new Place des Pionniers a beacon in the community, and will help revitalize rue Principale. The new building will have its very own identity and character, and will include all of the required elements for a 21st century library.

An architecture competition will be held this fall with a two-fold objective:

  • build a signature building that will be a source of pride; and
  • help protect the environment with a LEED certified building.

While the work is underway, the current library will be relocated, and most of its services and schedule will be maintained.

The new building's inauguration and the reopening of the Lucy-Faris Library are planned for 2025.

Why build a library?

The needs of the users of the Lucy-Faris Library are growing and vastly exceed what the current building can offer.

The Lucy-Faris Library in a nutshell:

  • 40% of the residents in the Aylmer sector have memberships;
  • 115,000 documents are available;
  • 248,000 users annually (ranked second among the 10 libraries); and
  • 459,000 loans or renewals annually.

Even though the library is very popular, the building no longer fully meets users' requirements:

  • the shelves are 20% over capacity, which limits the purchase of new documents;
  • the lack of space makes it impossible to create proper lounging areas for all categories of users (adults, teens and children);
  • there is no multi-purpose room; and
  • the aisles are too narrow for comfortable movement.

Libraries are increasingly becoming places where people gather and share, an adjunct to the neighbourhood community.

A new net 2,700 m2 surface area will enable the Lucy-Faris Library to fulfill its mission as a resource library. The library will include:

  • a more extensive collection of books, documents, videos and games;
  • more variety in its programs and services;
  • designated areas for each category of user (children, teens and adults);
  • work (individual or team), conference, activity and multimedia areas;
  • reading rooms and quiet areas; and
  • extended hours.

Why build this library on the site of 115 rue Principale?

The current site of the Lucy-Faris Library is the optimal location for this new resource library.

The choice of a three-story building with a two-storey library and offices on the main floor has several advantages. The offer of municipal services will be maintained. In addition, it will be able to accommodate any future expansion of the library.

Gatineau seized the opportunity to replace an aging building. The current building at 115 rue Principale will be demolished and replaced. Built in 1987, the building has several structural issues:

  • it has undergone 19 studies, reviews and structural inspections since 1999;
  • the ground floor slab had to be reinforced in 2001;
  • the floors have capacity restrictions;
  • the floors have a significant slope;
  • there are significant load limitations indoors because of the layout; and
  • only 74% of the building's 6,660 m² is usable.

As you know, on June 28, 2018, the Municipal Council resolved to demolish and rebuild Place des Pionniers.

Why hold an architecture competition?

Gatineau wants to hold an architecture competition to build a signature building that will help protect the environment with a LEED certified building that will be a source of pride.

Holding an architecture competition carries many advantages, specifically by:

  • providing an overview of the possibilities for the architecture project's operationalization, formalization and expression on the selected site;
  • ensuring the transparency and rigour of the process for selecting professionals based on the concept they created;
  • giving all architects an equal opportunity to present their ideas;
  • enhancing the client's visibility and reputation;
  • involving several parties in the planning process and gaining local acceptance for the project;
  • adding value to the resulting project; and
  • improving the project's architectural quality.

What are the next steps?

Dialogue and brainstorming with residents

  • setting up the working group of residents: 2020
  • Gatineau will work closely with the local residents and merchants to minimize the impact of the work.

Architecture competition

  • competition launch: fall 2020
  • choice of finalists: winter 2021
  • analysis and selection of the winner: spring 2021
  • development of the plans and specifications: 2021-2022


  • temporary move of the Lucy-Faris Library: summer 2021
  • demolition of Place des Pionniers: fall 2021
  • call for tenders for the construction: spring 2022
  • start of construction: summer 2022
  • completion of construction: summer 2024
  • move: fall 2024
  • inauguration of the new building: 2025

The current timeline is an estimate, and will be revisited at every stage of the planning and implementation process. As with any construction project, adjustments may be required, which could lead to a revised timeline.

Public consultation

On May 6, 2020, Gatineau consulted residents about the construction of the new Place des Pionniers building, which will house the Lucy-Faris Library. Consult the Civic activities page for more details


Current photos of Place des Pionniers

Who was Lucy Faris?

Born into one of the first families to settle in Aylmer, Lucy Faris (1855-1924) lived there her whole life. An avid reader who firmly believed that every member of her community should have access to books and education, in her will she provided for the establishment of a library in Aylmer. It is thanks to her community spirit and her generous contribution that the Aylmer library saw the light of day in 1938.

Banque de toponymes, Gatineau – Lucy Faris Library

Additional information

About Gatineau

Recognized for its quality of life, Gatineau is a city of 285,000 inhabitants. It is located on the north shore of the Ottawa River, and extends east and west of the Gatineau River.

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