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A History of the Oshawa Public Library
McLaughlin Public Library
The Gift of R.S. McLaughlin – A New Library

The answer came on June 20, 1952 in the form of a letter written by Colonel Robert Samuel McLaughlin to the Oshawa Public Library Board whereby he offered the City of Oshawa the generous gift of a brand new library building. His only stipulation was that the building be attractive, spacious and well-equipped to provide the city with an aesthetically pleasing cultural centre.


The Oshawa Public Library Board responded to Colonel McLaughlin’s offer on July 24, 1952:


“At a recent meeting of the Oshawa Library Board, it was my privilege and honour to acquaint the members with your munificent offer to erect the greatly needed new home for the Library. The news of your generous offer to make it possible for us to do what we have so long dreamed of doing was an overwhelming experience for the Board.”


The McLaughlin Public Library was opened on December 6th, 1954, with Premier Leslie M. Frost officiating at the formal ceremony. The building was an immediate success. It was built at a cost of $450,000 and formed the third unit of a group of buildings erected in Oshawa’s then new civic square.


Inside, the vestibule included walls of Italian marble and a graceful circular staircase that spiraled down to the auditorium and children’s department. Above the staircase, in gold lettering inscribed in the green marble wall, was an inscription to our generous donor:


“This library completed in the year 1954 was the gift of Colonel R. Samuel McLaughlin LLD whose vision and interest in his fellow citizens created this means of access to the wisdom and culture of all ages”

LH0424 McLaughlin, R.S
LH0424 McLaughlin, R.S Details
McLaughlin Library Water Colour Painting
McLaughlin Library Water Colour Painting Details
LH2983 OPL- Exterior
LH2983 OPL- Exterior Details
LH2997 OPL- Foyer
LH2997 OPL- Foyer Details
McLaughlin Public Library Spiral Stair Case
McLaughlin Public Library Spiral Stair Case Details
LH3000 McLaughlin Branch- Reading Room
LH3000 McLaughlin Branch- Reading Room Details
LH2996 OPL- Circulation Desk
LH2996 OPL- Circulation Desk Details
LH2966 Oshawa Public Libraries, McLaughlin Branch: Main Reading Room, 1958
LH2966 Oshawa Public Libraries, McLaughlin Branch: Main Reading Room, 1958 Details
LH2969 Oshawa Public Libraries, McLaughlin Branch, 1958 - Youth Reading Room
LH2969 Oshawa Public Libraries, McLaughlin Branch, 1958 - Youth Reading Room Details
LH2987 OPL- Reference Room
LH2987 OPL- Reference Room Details
LH2967 Oshawa Public Libraries, McLaughlin Branch, 1958: Youth Reading Room
LH2967 Oshawa Public Libraries, McLaughlin Branch, 1958: Youth Reading Room Details
LH2985 OPL- Children's Reading Room
LH2985 OPL- Children's Reading Room Details
LH2974 Oshawa Public Library, McLaughlin Branch, 1958 - Children's Story Hour Room
LH2974 Oshawa Public Library, McLaughlin Branch, 1958 - Children's Story Hour Room Details
LH2963 Oshawa Public Libraries, McLaughlin Branch: Children's Room, 1954
LH2963 Oshawa Public Libraries, McLaughlin Branch: Children's Room, 1954 Details
McLaughlin Library Sketch
McLaughlin Library Sketch Details
McLaughlin Library at Night
McLaughlin Library at Night Details
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