Ann Morden was granted land by the Crown in 1798, including this site where the Carnegie Gallery is now located.
Blacksmiths worked at their trade for nearly fifty years on this site. In 1830, Matthew Camp operated a smithy here which he sold to the Enright brothers who, in turn, leased the frame buildings to various blacksmiths, wagon makers, carriage makers and a pork butcher. Fire on March 12, 1882 destroyed shops and dwellings along this side of King Street.
By the early 20th century another 2 storey frame building housing shops was located here. This was demolished about the time that Col. J.J. Grafton purchased the property. Prior to construction, the vacant lot was a “goose pond, too deep and too dirty to paddle in, but an excellent place for breeding mosquitoes”. Citizens complained that it was “just a dirty, green, slimy slough, a thorough disgrace to the community”.
Col. Grafton’s interest in a library for Dundas became reality when the Andrew Carnegie Foundation donated $10,000 toward the building, one of 111 in Ontario. Dundasians raised funds to match the donation.
On July 22, 1909 Mayor J.W. Lawrason laid the cornerstone of the Carnegie Library.
By 1970 the Library was too small and a larger adult facility opened a few doors away, while the old library was used by children until 1979. The Carnegie Gallery opened in 1980 as a not-for-profit, artist-run gallery and gift shop operated by the Dundas Art and Craft Association.
The Carnegie was designed by Toronto architects Chapman and McGiffin in the Greek style. It features a variety of Classical elements: giant Doric pillars, thick fluting, and a cornice with huge dentils, all proclaiming the builder’s name more proudly than any triumphal arch. It was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1980.