Dundas

Dundas Town Hall

Dundas Town Hall - Front View

Dundas Town Hall - Front View

Dundas Town Hall - Plaque

Dundas Town Hall - Plaque

Venue Name *

Town Hall

Type

Multipurpose

DATES

From

1849

Location

"Town Hall, Dundas, Wentworth (wentdund00_001) (492685)"

Overview

Address: 60 Main St, Dundas, ON

Dundas was incorporated as a town in 1847 by a special Act of the legislature of the Province of Canada. The following year the town council accepted a tender from a local builder, James Scott, to erect a stone town hall and voted £2000 to cover the cost. Designed in a version of Roman Classic, by Francis Hawkins of Dundas, the building was completed by July, 1849, and was said to have cost £2500. Except for a small Italianate wing added later, the exterior has been little altered, although a thorough renovation was carried out in 1946. It is one of the most handsome, pre-1850, municipal buildings surviving in Ontario.

Brown, Alan L. "The Dundas Town Hall Plaque". April 2004. Ontario's Historical Plaques. www.ontarioplaques.com/Plaques/Plaque_Hamilton21.html

* Recognized as one of the few remaining early town halls and public buildings in the province. "The Dundas Town Hall is perhaps the most appealing architecturally of the modest-sized buildings," according to the city's planning and development department.

* One of only five municipal buildings remaining in the province with heritage designation to be constructed before 1850. Most municipal buildings of that era were torn down and replaced because the towns outgrew them and larger facilities were needed.

* When the building was first opened in 1849, the town hall not only hosted municipal government meetings, the building also featured a farmers' and butchers' market, Alfred Bennett's Crystal Palace Saloon and a jail.

* Sometimes the saloon -- or at least other town drinking establishments -- was used by elected officials to the detriment of civility at council meetings. In one heated meeting in the 1870s, in an event unearthed by local historian Brian Henley, an unruly councillor was forcibly removed from the meeting and thrown in one of the nearby jail cells to cool off and dry out.

* The cell block was also in the news February 1948 when a Hector McKinnon, alias Harold Helm, managed to escape by crawling 10 metres through a 1/2-metre square ventilator. He was being held for vagrancy and public intoxication charges. The basement jail was closed sometime after the incident.

* In 1972, a new council chamber was added in an addition made to the western end.

* Today, the former town hall is used as a municipal service centre. Councillor Russ Powers keeps his ward office there. The former council chamber is used for public meetings.

"Dundas Town Hall at a Glance" Hamilton Spectator, Feb. 19, 2008.

www.thespec.com/news-story/2120888-dundas-town-hall-at-a-glance/

Current Status

City of Hamilton municipal service centre.

Sources

Brown, Alan L. "The Dundas Town Hall". April 2004. Ontario's Historical Plaques. www.ontarioplaques.com/Plaques/Plaque_Hamilton21.html

"Dundas Town Hall at a Glance" Hamilton Spectator, Feb. 19, 2008. www.thespec.com/news-story/2120888-dundas-town-hall-at-a-glance/