Addison Hall houses the oldest library west of Quebec, a collection that would have been typical of an English clergyman’s library in the eighteenth century. It consists of 1500 volumes, which were brought to Niagara-on-the-Lake by the Reverend Robert Addison in 1792.
Some of the volumes bear the name of Richard Atkinson, Addison’s father in law and vicar in Whittlesey, England, as well as of William Beale and Thomas Topping, predecessors in that parish. The books were housed in Addison’s home, Lake Lodge, outside of the town. Consequently they escaped damage when the town was burned in 1813. They remained in that house until the death of Mrs. Addison, when the grandsons inherited them. They retained the books they wished to keep and presented the rest to the rector of St. Mark’s “in perpetuity”. A catalogue of the books as well as an analysis of the collection was completed by Dr. William J. Cameron of the University of Western Ontario in 1967.
The Parish Hall has been named in honour of the founding rector of St. Mark’s, Robert Addison. The collection is presently housed in a room, designed by the noted Canadian artist, Campbell Scott and constructed by local craftsman, Bill German.
Access to the library may be arranged through the Church Office.
A complete catalogue of the Addison Library’s 1500 volumes is available for searching here.