Victoria Jubilee Hall
Celebrating its 119th Anniversary
19 Years of Renewed Life
In the beginning ...........
Victoria Jubilee Hall was built to replace Walkerton's original wooden Town Hall. The cornerstone was laid on August 15th, 1897 in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
Intended as an imposing structure suitable for the County Town of Bruce, the new Hall was designed by A. R Denison of Toronto, and constructed by contractor Henry Clark, using marl brick and local fieldstone. The cost was $10,000. A bell purchased in 1870 in Troy, New York sat in the adjacent market square until it was hoisted to its home in the tower of the new building.
Victoria Jubilee Hall has 8 different levels and contains an impressive, 300-seat theatre. In places the walls are 3 bricks thick. The first Town Council meeting was held in the Hall on February 17, 1898. The first electric installation consisted of 15 lights, which cost $3.30 per month. Municipal records show that proceeds from a concert held during the Hall's official opening were intended to purchase glass-covered faces for a clock in the tower. The windows sat empty for 109 years.
Originally the ground level was used for a farmers' market. It was later converted to a fire hall and firemen's quarters. Over the years, the rest of the building housed municipal offices, a market place, the Opera Hall, council chambers, the public utilities commission and a police office.
In 1979, Walkerton Town Council designated Victoria Jubilee Hall a building of architectural and historic significance under the Ontario Heritage Act.
In 1996, however, the Municipal Council and the Town Clerk's office moved from the building to rental quarters. The cupola and bell were taken down from the building and left on the parking lot. The following year, as Victoria Jubilee Hall was marking its 100th birthday, the Municipal Council attempted to remove the heritage designation, and in April announced demolition plans. Horrified, local residents working with the South Bruce-Grey Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario fought to save the building, and purchased it, in trust for the community.
New life .............
In 1998, as if to provide a talisman, a rare drawing of Victoria Jubilee Hall by noted Canadian artist David Milne was discovered. Milne, born in Bourgogne, was a student at Walkerton High School when he made the drawing. He later attended the Normal School, which was in Walkerton at that time.
Since then, Victoria Jubilee Hall has renewed its vital role as an integral part of the social, communal and cultural fabric of the municipality. Four phases of renovations and improvements have been carried out already. Thousands of people annually pass through the doors, to attend meetings, conferences, courses, dance classes, music recitals and performances.
To mark the arrival of the new century in 2000, First Night celebrations were held, and the restored bell rang in the new year. In addition, a stained glass window was installed in the passage beside the main stairs, and a commemorative quilt containing the embroidered names of 576 families was designed and installed.
Victoria Jubilee Hall served as the community response centre and Ontario Government headquarters in Walkerton, for 18 months, following the e-coli crisis of 2000. In 2001, beautiful stained glass windows were installed in the front foyer, to commemorate the water tragedy.
As Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2002, Jubilee Garden, with its lovely gazebo surrounded by roses, was established and has become increasingly more beautiful each year.
Finally, after 109 years, in time for Homecoming 2006, clocks were installed in the four windows of the bell tower. Now the clock chimes can be heard every day, throughout the town, celebrating 110 years of Victoria Jubilee Hall in the life of the community.
2017 Meeting Schedule for ACO Ontario
January 30, 2017 to December 30, 2017
Schedule of Executive and Council Meetings for 2017. Please open the attached pdf to see the full schedule. This document will be revised periodically as dates and locations are confirmed.
ACO Celebrates Heritage at Queen's Park
Visits with Ontario MPPs
February 27, 2017
Following on last year's successful meetings with 24 MPP's, once again Architectural Conservancy Ontario representatives will be at Queen's Park to talk about why, even with a stronger Ontario Heritage Act, we are still losing our heritage. This will be the third Heritage Week MPP Day when knowledgeable ACO members take time to approach parliamentarians at Queen’s Park with the purpose of reinforcing the importance of heritage to the province. This year’s visit will be held on February 27th, immediately after Heritage Week. Our volunteers are doing our part, but we could use some help plugging the policy and legislative loopholes that cost us important community landmarks.
ACO EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR BILL C-323
Bill establishes tax credits for rehabilitation of historic properties
ACO supports Private Member's Bill C-323, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Rehabilitation of Historic Property), which will receive second reading in the House of Commons on February 10. This bill will establish a tax credit for expenses related to the rehabilitation of a historic property. It also establishes a tax deduction for the capital cost of property used in the course of such a rehabilitation.
ACO IS SEEKING A TREASURER
VOLUNTEER COUNCIL (BOARD) POSITION
Do you have a financial background and a commitment to preserving our built heritage? ACO’s Council Executive currently seeks a qualified individual to join the Provincial Council (Board) and to assume the role of Treasurer of the organization.
Culture Strategy for Ontario
ACO stresses need to build heritage into the Culture Strategy Program
In September the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) announced a new initiative, the development of a Culture Strategy for Ontario. A series of Town Halls are planned to get our views. Click on this item to learn more.
MP Peter Van Loan Proposes Tax Credits for Heritage Properties
National Trust for Canada is organizing Response
MP Peter Van Loan has introduced a Private Members Bill proposing Income Tax Credits to assist private owners of heritage property with restoration costs. This is good news for heritage, whether or not it passes as widespread support for the initiative may result in either passage or a similar bill from government. National Trust for Canada is organizing heritage organizations across the country. ACO's Policy Committee will be developing a formal response from ACO.