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Visiting the Old Registry Office, Woodstock, Ontario: Italianate Structure Dating From 1876

Updated on April 15, 2019
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Registry Office in Woodstock, Ontario. Built in 1876, it operated until 1952.
Registry Office in Woodstock, Ontario. Built in 1876, it operated until 1952. | Source

In more than one way, an effusion of continuity

This simple, Italianate structure in Oxford County's Woodstock, Ontario, is the Old Registry Building (1).

Dating from 1876, the building replaced an earlier structure from 1847.

This building stands at the intersection of Hunter and Graham Streets; the previous Registry stood at the intersection of Hunter and Light Streets, which since the end of the 19th century has formed part of the grounds of the Oxford County Court House.

Features of the building, executed in yellow brick, include a number of striking Syrian arches; these rounded shapes contrast somewhat with the geometric lines of the building's prominent pediment, porch and pilasters (2).

Interestingly, the building's original function — which it served until 1952 — dove-tails with a significant historical longevity in relation to it: between the years 1800 and 1969 there were only 5 Registrars who served Woodstock. This is quite some exercise in continuity!

When I saw the building, I at first thought that its style suggested its function was to house a small, Protestant congregation. (I wonder how many other visitors have had similar thoughts?)

Other uses to which the building has been put since 1952 have included as offices of a local health unit and as headquarters of both the Oxford Historical Society and Oxford Genealogical Society.

The Old Registry Building is situated at 419 Hunter Street, Woodstock, within easy walking distance of various other historic buildings in this Oxford County town, which I have visited several times and which hope to continue to get to know more. I can certainly recommend that by foot is indeed a good way to explore this area with many interesting old buildings.

April 15, 2019

Notes

(1) See also: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMHCZ8_Registry_Office_Woodstock_Ontario

(2) I refer to pilasters since, despite their superficial resemblance to pillars, and although evidently bearing a proportion of structural weight, they appear to serve a chiefly ornamental, rather than structural weight bearing, function. (I may stand to be corrected here.)

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

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 Old Town Hall, and the Old Armoury 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

Map location of Woodstock, Ontario
Map location of Woodstock, Ontario | Source

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