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Winnipeg opens Bill and Helen Norrie Library in River Heights

The new Bill and Helen Norrie Library opened on Poseidon Bay in Winnipeg Monday. Jordan Pearn/Global News

A new library named after a long-serving Winnipeg mayor and his wife has opened in River Heights.

The Bill and Helen Norrie Library will replace the former River Heights Library.

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“It is an honour to officially open the Bill and Helen Norrie Library in recognition of the Norrie family who have been championing Winnipeg for decades,” said Mayor Brian Bowman, in a city release.

“Especially with their commitment to libraries, I’m pleased to honour the Norrie family with this incredible new library that will serve our community for decades to come.”

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Bill, who died in 2012, served as Winnipeg from 1979 to 1992 and Helen worked as a teacher/librarian in Winnipeg schools.

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“This is a beautiful new library in an ideal location and I’m thrilled to have Bill’s and my name associated with it,” Helen said in the city’s release.

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Construction on the $9.3 million facility at 15 Poseidon Bay was started in the fall of 2019.

The 14,000-square-foot library includes a multi-use public space, tutorial and programming rooms, improved study and leisure areas, and a 24/7 book return chute.

T. Jordan Pearn/Global News

The city says the building’s design elements are also intended to recognize the history of the area formerly known as Rooster Town, a predominately-Métis community that included the land where the library is now located.

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After consulting with the families of those who lived in Rooster Town, the city says the library was designed with a pitched roof, wood panelling and earth tones, and also features images of Rooster Town, interpretive panels, artifacts, and books.

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“Being able to honour those who lived in Rooster Town as well as recognize Bill and Helen’s long-time commitment to Winnipeggers with this new accessible, state-of-the-art space in our ward means so much to me,” said John Orlikow, councillor for River Heights-Fort Garry.

“I know it’s destined to become just as beloved and full of memories as its previous location.”

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