Township of Georgian Bay Public Library

The Township of Georgian Bay Public Library
There are three locations for this library - Honey Harbour, Mactier and Port Severn.

Honey Harbour Public Library
Located at 2587 Honey Harbour Rd. Box 220, Honey Harbour, ON P0E 1E0.  Phone/Fax: 705-756-8851.

The Honey Harbour Public Library was started as a Lion’s Club project in 1974 and in the spring of 1975 a trailer was purchased from the Federal Government. The trailer was moved to the Honey Harbour Public School yard and was officially opened on August 7, 1975. The Township of Georgian Bay Public Library Board became active as part of the Algonquin Regional Library System.  In October 1980 the Honey Harbour Public Library rented a building (the old liquor store) as a larger space was needed and also this building was closer to the center of town.  As times changed and progressed, the Township of Georgian Bay Public Library was no longer connected to the Algonquin Regional Library System but became linked with the Ontario Public Library System. 

The library grew and the Board again realized that more space was needed. In 1992, Mayor Dot Donnelly announced that the Township of Georgian Bay had purchased the North Shore property and that the ground floor would be turned into a library.  On July 18, 1992, the new library opened and it is in the same location today.  The Honey Harbour Enhancement Committee was formed under the Strategic Plan, 2009-2012. The Committee studied the needs of the library and applied for a Trillium Grant in November, 2010. The grant was approved in March, 2011 and in May the library was refurbished to allow a more welcoming environment and accessibility.

MacTier Public Library
Located at 12 Muskoka Road Box 541, MacTier ON P0C 1H0.  Phone/Fax: 705-375-5430.

The library was born in the mid-sixties in a building adjacent to the school which at the time was a combination laundry-mat and an electrical store owned by Fred Rickets. In the mid seventies the library moved to a room in the MacTier Public School where it stayed until 1977 when the current portable opened on August 1, located on High Street beside the Muskoka Station Store.  The open hours of the library commenced with two evenings per week and has increased over the years to 20 hours in the winter months and 25 hours in the summer months which includes one evening and Saturday mornings.  In 1999, the Township of Georgian Bay applied for a Superbuild grant to build a new library in MacTier. This application was not successful and the library in the school portable carried on. 

The major goal of the Library Board, 2004-2006 was to raise the capital to build a much needed new facility.  In 2004, The Friends of the MacTier Public Library were formed to assist the Library Board with fundraising of the capital required to build a new library.  The Ontario government announced the Rural Ontario Infrastructure Grant in December 2006. On December 21, 2006, Library Board Chair Robert Byrnes did a presentation to Council to request the the Township submit a grant application on behalf of the Library Board.  Other projects were presented to Council from Township Departments. In January 2007, Council decided to support the MacTier Public Library Project the grant application was submitted.

On April 2, 2007, Council announced that the Ontario Government had approved the grant application and the Township would be awarded $500,000.00 to build the new library.  The Friends, the Staff and the Library Board raised approximately $200,000 from Foundations, personal donations and fundraising. This money was used to assist the building project and purchase all of the new furnishings for the new facility.  A Building Committee was formed and a Project Manager was hired.  An RFP was sent out by the Township for a design build project.  Quinan Construction Company was hired in December 2007 and the construction commenced in June 2008.  The beautiful 2500 square foot new library opened its doors for the official opening on October 25, 2008.

Port Severn Public Library
Located in the Community Services Building, 71 Lone Pine Road, RR1, Port Severn ON L0K 1S0.  Tel:  705-818-7749.

In July, 2009, the Library Board Port Severn Planning Team presented a case for the inclusion of a Port Severn Library in the Port Severn development plans to the Township of Georgian Bay Corporate Services Committee. This presentation was followed by a meeting with the Mayor and Director of Administration.  The Township of Georgian Bay Library Strategic Plan called for studying and planning for a new library branch for Port Severn over the next few years.

At the same time the Township of Georgian Bay Council was working on plans to develop the Port Severn community.  Two aspects of the Council’s efforts would have major impacts on the work of the Library Board: the planned location of different community services/activities, including the library and the allocation of development fees to which the library needs access for a new Port Severn library.  In terms of location, the Library Board believed that a Port Severn library would play an important role in anchoring the geographic heart of the community and asked Council to bear this in mind.  Libraries are free community spaces and community builders.  This is a longer term vision as the development of the community is still in its very early stages.
In 2010, in the interests of bringing library services to Port Severn and area residents, the Township suggested that the Library Board consider introducing and building demand for library services in Port Severn in a temporary location.  The Library Board was very much in favor of this approach.  It would allow the library to introduce services, test them, study the community and develop services in response to community development.  The Library Board is experienced in responding to library needs of two very different communities: MacTier and Honey Harbour.  Like them, Port Severn will be unique.  All three communities contain populations with varied interests, albeit in different proportions, to which the library must respond: part-time residents of all classes; an incoming permanent middle class and the long-time permanent residents.  Age trends vary among the communities and we expect age trends to change as the population grows.  In this regard, Port Severn is still an unknown commodity.
The Port Severn Pilot Project opened for five hours on Saturdays commencing June 12, 2010 in the new Community Services Building.  The library was well received by the community.  In February, 2011, an additional five open hours on Wednesdays were approved by Council.   

Click here to access the website for the Township of Georgian Bay Public Library.