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Meet Engine 23


Library donors bring retired fire truck to life as immersive learning experience 

Calgary, AB (April 15, 2024) — Engine 23 is officially open at Fish Creek Library. The decommissioned fire truck will help children play together, learn life-saving fire safety tips, and create their very own Engine 23 adventures.  

Originally part of the Early Learning Centre at the old Central Library, Engine 23 has been polished up, re-inspired, and is ready to welcome children to its new location. Engine 23 is part of a long-standing partnership with the Calgary Fire Department that also involves everything from safety training and school programming, to regular storytimes, and activity booklets. Engine 23 is generously supported by donors to the Calgary Public Library Foundation. 

“This longstanding partnership with Calgary Public Library presents us with another way to connect community to firefighters,” says Steve Dongworth, Chief of the Calgary Fire Department. “Not only are we encouraging reading and literacy as a lifelong skill, but we are giving children a fun and engaging way to learn about everything from basic fire safety to navigation skills and even potentially a future career path.”  

Engine 23 is an interactive experience for children, where they can sit in the driver’s seat, listen to pre-recorded emergency calls, and explore real switches and levers in the back cab. Timed challenges like “Beat the Clock” will have kids dressing up in fire gear, crawling through a tunnel, and participating in an imagination area to role-play as firefighters. Climb up to the top of the truck and visitors will find a neighbourhood map to practice their navigation.  

In addition, an accessible cab will provide an authentic experience for children and parents who may have mobility challenges, ensuring all who visit Fish Creek can participate in the joy and wonder that is Engine 23. 

“Engine 23 will nurture creativity and innovation and cultivate a love of reading through this immersive early learning experience,” says Sarah Meilleur, CEO of Calgary Public Library. “It will serve as a platform for celebrating the power of community through building connections and creating a sense of belonging for all who visit. We are grateful for the partnership with Calgary Fire and the support of our donors who have allowed Engine 23 to ride again at Fish Creek Library.”  

Engine 23 was moved into storage as the Library opened the new Central Library in November 2018. The Library has been waiting for the right opportunity to bring it back to the public. 

The expanded learning experience is part of an extensive renovation at Fish Creek Library, the largest community library location in the system. Fish Creek Library opened in 1985 and became a local landmark thanks to the iconic glass roof and unique architecture designed to resemble the Rocky Mountains.  

Engine 23 was carefully moved into place at Fish Creek Library last spring. Weighing over 20 tonnes, the truck was lifted by crane and slid into a small opening between the peaks of the glass roof. 

Visitors to Fish Creek Library will also enjoy features that include a new quiet study area, 10 new meeting rooms, a new welcoming service desk, and a fresh look and feel throughout the entire space, with new flooring, paint, and finishes.  

The Engine 23 Experience was made possible through support of generous donors through the Calgary Public Library Foundation, including Firehouse Subs, Troy Life & Fire Safety, and the Cannon-Walker family. The brick-by-brick campaign has sold more than 300 bricks to help build out the Engine 23 learning and literacy experience at the Library. Bricks are still available; visit libraryfoundation.ca/engine23-brick/ to learn more.   

“Engine 23 is a made-in-Calgary learning experience like no other, and we’re grateful to the Engine 23 ‘crew’ of donors for answering the call and helping return this unique Library fixture to service,” says Tracy Johnson, CEO of the Calgary Public Library Foundation. “Creative and innovative spaces like Engine 23 are possible because of donor generosity.” 

Engine 23 is located on the second floor of Fish Creek Library between the existing Early Learning Centre and Questionarium, establishing 9,600 square feet of space for children. Engine 23 is easily accessible with extensive parking during regular Library operating hours.  

Opening Celebrations 

Engine 23 will be the star of the party at Fish Creek Library on Saturday, April 20 as we welcome the community to see the fire truck, engage in the experience, and visit the newly renovated Fish Creek Library. 

Activities will begin at 10:00 am and will include a visit from the Fire Hound Mascot, face painting, live music, and Family Storytime.  

For more information visit calgarylibrary.ca/engine23


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