Visiting Old Woodstock Town Hall, Woodstock, Ontario, Dating From 1853: Now A National Historic Site of Canada
Italianate, former civic hub, with a conspicuous, octagonal cupola
This fine, Italianate structure in Woodstock, in Ontario's Oxford County, was opened in 1853. Designed by Peter Craib, and known as the Old Town - or City - Hall, the clean lines of its features have been a landmark in the Downtown area of Woodstock since before the municipality obtained its charter of incorporation as a City.
Prominent features of the structure include a conspicuous pediment at its Dundas Street elevation, and a conspicuous, octagonal cupola above it. Entrance and window Syrian arches thus somewhat contrast with the Neoclassicism of the pediment.
In 1968, the City Hall function was moved to a Romanesque Revival building, also on Dundas Street, dating from 1901, formerly serving as a post office. The original building had thus been outgrown by the civic services and activities which it had hosted since its opening in 1853.
The building is now a National Historic Site of Canada, and contains a Museum specializing in local history (1).
A former curator of the Museum included Bernadette Smith (1895-1972), who also served as Mayor of Woodstock for two terms during the 1950s and 60s, and notably hosted former American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt when the latter came to Woodstock in 1954 (2).
Permanent exhibits at the Museum include a refurbished Council Chamber, restored to its 1879 appearance, and an historical firefighting display (3).
Close to the Old Town Hall and Museum is a fine structure known as Patullo's Fountain (elsewhere described).
The Old Town Hall stands at 466 Dundas Street, Woodstock, Ontario.
April 25, 2019
(1) See also: https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=4257 ; https://woodstockmuseum.pastperfectonline.com/photo
(2) See also: https://www.archeion.ca/bernadette-smith-fonds;rad
(3) See also: https://www.cityofwoodstock.ca/en/live-and-play/permanent-exhibits.aspx The Museum actively seeks volunteers and supporters; for further details, see: https://www.cityofwoodstock.ca/en/live-and-play/support-the-museum.aspx
Also worth seeing
Woodstock itself has various examples of fine ecclesiastical architecture, including Old St. Paul's Church, dating from 1834; other buildings, including the City Hall, the Oxford County Court House, the former County Jail building, the Old Registry Office, the 1909 Public Library building and the Old Armoury, among others, are also worth seeing.
In London , Ontario (distance: 43.4 kilometres) prominent buildings and visitor attractions include: Eldon House; St. Paul's Cathedral; the Middlesex County Court building; the former Armouries; the Fanshawe Pioneer Village.
Kitchener (distance: 57.7 kilometres); Woodside, former home of long-serving Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King is a National Historic Site of Canada.
How to get there: Air Canada flies to London International Airport, from Toronto Pearson Airport, from where there are wide North American and other connections. Car rental is available at London International Airport. VIA Rail serves Woodstock, connecting with Windsor and Toronto, and other cities. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada
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- Visiting the City Hall, Woodstock, Ontario: Romanesque Revival Solidity Dating from 1901
A fine, Romanesque Revival structure is to be seen at Woodstock's City Hall — but it did not always serve this municipal purpose.
- Visiting Old St. Paul's Church, Woodstock, Ontario: Striking Eclecticism at a Venerable 1834 Structu
With a prominent tower topped by an octagonal cupola, Old St. Paul's Church, Woodstock, which dates from 1834, combines a number of interesting stylistic features.