Calgary’s New Central Library opened to the public on Thursday and a grand opening ceremony was held to commemorate the event.

Calgarians lined the block on opening day to get a glimpse inside and the mayor, councillor, library officials and a number of special guests were on hand for the opening celebrations.

“This is my first time in this building. I came in here when it was under construction and many, many people have tried to give me a tour and I said no because I wanted to come in for the first time with all of you today,” said Mayor Nenshi.

The library at 800 3 Street S.E. has been in the works since 2004 and an extensive engagement program was undertaken to collect input from the public on the project.

Construction on the building began in 2014 and was challenging as it was built over an active LRT line.

“It is because of the work of so many people that we are here in this magnificent space today,” said Nenshi. “To the women and men who have been on this construction site everyday using their skills and their hands and their strong backs to build a modern cathedral, the people of Calgary have nothing but gratitude for every one of you.”

The 22,000 square metre library has about 600,000 items in its collection spread over five levels.

The project was estimated to cost about $245 million and Nenshi says it was delivered on time and under budget. “I am very pleased to announce today, $10 million under budget.”

For more information on the New Central Library, click HERE.