The rise and fall and rise and fall of our Town Hall
1866 – Land for hall and market donated
1867 – Hall completed
1868 – Gymnasium moved to serve as Butter Market
1869 – Second storey added to Butter Market
1870 – Committee of council formed to move the stage and erect elevated seating
1871 – Alterations made to the council chamber for more convenient sitting
1873 – Hay Scales building constructed
1876 – Vote passed to convert lower floor from market use to council chambers
1881 – Council to look into the cost of improving interior decorations
1898 – Mayor Clapp addresses council, “… the time is ripe to make improvements to the Town Hall, which in its present state is a reproach to the council.” Repairs were approved.
1898 – Council agreed to lease upstairs to Lawrence Hall for use as an Opera House
1917 – Reported to be in disrepair, and a new town hall considered at a cost of $35,000
1918 – Rented by George Cook for cinema use
1922 – “considerable expense will be necessary … repairing the Town Market and the Fire Hall”
1923 – Hall is gutted by flames and calls were made to level it
1923 – Decision reached to rebuild the Hall based on damage assessment
1924 – A siren replaced the old bell
1988 – Council passed an amendment in support of restoration of the Town Hall
1988 – Town Hall restored.
1989 – Town Hall designated as a heritage building under By-Law #1566 by virtue of its Architectural and Historical significance, and renovated to include a floor plate and stained-glass window by Steven Belanger-Taylor donated to the municipality.
2017 – Council question the future of Picton Town Hall
Yes, its fortunes have many times been up and down. From 1866 until the 1880’s the market square and hall were on the rise with improvements. But by 1898 the hall had fallen into disrepair; Mayor Clapp addressed council about “the Town Hall, which in its present state is a reproach to the council.” It rose again as “The Bijou Opera House”. In 1923, it was “Gutted by fire”. and calls were made to “level it” but it again rose from the ashes. After years of neglect, the hall was restored to glory in 1988. Now its future is being questioned again.
Our community strategic plan recommends we nurture our “quality of place experience” as a big draw for residents and new business ventures. It is because of buildings like the Town Hall that we have a “quality of place experience”.
If you have information about significant events missing from our timeline, please contact us with details and references.