From the Archives: The Library turns 40!

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cposynick
Library 1974 photo album RRMC RRU Archives

The Royal Roads University Library is forty years old! The building was opened on November 1, 1974, by the Honourable Walter S. Owen, B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor, who ceremoniously placed the first book. (To see how the other books got in the building, check out this Crossroads post.)

first book Library opening 1974 photo album RRMC RRU Archives

Although there had been an early suggestion to name the library after James Dunsmuir, it was called the Coronel Memorial Library.  This name was chosen to honour the first casualties of World War I in the naval Battle of Coronel, four of whom were from the first Canadian naval college, located then in Halifax. The Library opened on the 60th anniversary of that battle; this year marks the 100th anniversary.

The architect for the Library was Robert F. Harrison, who also designed a number of buildings at Simon Fraser University, including the library. The glass and concrete design was lauded for blending well in the wooded setting, and not competing with the architectural significance of nearby Hatley Castle. 

Library site 1970s RRMC RRU Archives
From the garden path, circa 1970, looking back over the pond towards the where the Library now stands.

Do you have any tales to tell about this building? Come visit the RRU Archives office - which is in a corner of the Library that used to be part of the general seating area!

Caroline Posynick
RRU Archivist
rruarchives@royalroads.ca