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Visiting the Town Hall, Port Hope, Ontario: sedate, 19th century building crowned by an octagonal cupola

Updated on June 19, 2013
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Town Hall, 56 Queen Street, Port Hope, ON, Canada
Town Hall, 56 Queen Street, Port Hope, ON, Canada | Source
Town Hall, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
Town Hall, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada | Source
Sir John A. Macdonald, 1890
Sir John A. Macdonald, 1890 | Source
Map location of Port Hope, Ontario
Map location of Port Hope, Ontario | Source

Recalling the era of Sir John A. Macdonald

The building housing the Town Hall, Port Hope, Ontario, was commenced in 1851 and completed in 1853. Subsequently rebuilt in 1894 after sustaining fire damage.

Among its striking features, its most well-known (and conspicuous) one is its octagonal cupola. To some extent, the image of the cupola has become identified with the town itself.

The architectural style — or, rather, styles — of the Port Hope Town Hall, designed by Merwin Austin, constitute an interesting combination. Its frontage is discernibly neo-Classical. Some of its details, however, are Italianate, such as the entrance canopy, and Greek Revival.

This sedate building is historically pre-Confederation; while Sir John A. Macdonald is known to have presided over an event held outside the Town Hall in 1889. Sir John was present in order to unveil the statue to Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Williams, MP, who led Canadian forces at the Battle of Batoche in 1885 (1). This statue underwent a program of restoration in 1995.

The Town Hall is surrounded by lush and mature gardens.

Port Hope is situated in Eastern — or Central (2) — Ontario's Northumberland County. The Town Hall's street address is 56 Queen Street.

January 22, 2013


(1) Today, Canadians of varying persuasions acknowledge the nuanced nature of events relating to the life and times of Louis Riel, and his leadership of the Métis people in what are now Manitoba and Saskatchewan. But in the 1880s much of English Canada was united in support of efforts to quell the North-West Rebellion, with little inclination to understand the series of reasons behind this and related events.

(2) Northumberland County is variously described as being in Eastern or Central Ontario, according to differing classifications.

Also worth seeing

In Port Hope itself, among the many visitor attractions are a Firefighter's Museum, and the Ganaraska Forest Centre, and trails; the Ganaraska River is popular with anglers; Port Hope's marina is situated near the Ganaraska rivermouth.

Kingston (distance: 158.9 kilometres); attractions include the City Hall, Fort Henry and Bellevue House, former home of Sir John and Isabella, Lady Macdonald.

Dewolf Point State Park , Wellesley Island, New York (distance: approx. 204.5 kilometres) has fine views of the Lake of the Isles in the Thousand Islands of the St, Lawrence; and various vacation amenities.


How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson Airport to Port Hope : 114.5 kilometres). Via Rail maintains a service to Port Hope from Ontario and beyond. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to 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.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


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