Description of Historic Place
The Qu’Appelle Town Hall is a Municipal Heritage Property located in the Town of Qu’Appelle. The two-storey, buff-brick building, designed in the Romanesque Revival style, contains a second-floor opera hall and basement jail. The building is distinguished by its secondary fire hall entrance and decorative brickwork, including a crenellated tower and heavily corbelled cornice.
The Qu’Appelle Town Hall is of heritage value for its historic and continuous function as the administrative office for the Town of Qu’Appelle. Built in 1906, the substantial Town Hall was designed to contain the town’s council chambers and courtroom, fire hall, opera hall, police department with living quarters, and jail. The opera hall subsequently became the heart of the town’s social and cultural life hosting all varieties of concerts and entertainments. The fire department remained in the building until 1959, while the office of the town constable occupied the building until 1968.
The heritage value of the Qu’Appelle Town Hall also lies in its symbolic importance, serving to recall the status that Qu’Appelle formerly held as an important trading and commercial centre. Prior to 1911, when the new Grand Trunk Pacific Railway bypassed Qu’Appelle, diverting trade and traffic, growth and optimism had characterized Qu’Appelle, which was manifest in the Town Hall.
The Qu’Appelle Town Hall is also of heritage value for its architectural significance, being one of the pre-eminent and earliest remaining examples in Saskatchewan of a multi-use civic structure. The Town Hall is notable for its substantial size, high-quality brick construction, unique design and high level of integrity. Planned by William Dodd, a prominent architect who designed landmark city halls in Regina and Calgary, and associate E.C. Hopkins, the building is influenced by the Romanesque Revival style. Characterizing the exterior is a distinctive crenellated tower, heavily corbelled cornices, and belfry. Two large round-headed doorways dominate the front of the building, with one of the doorways originally used for the fire hall, and the other serving as the public entrance. The earthen ramp leading to the fire hall door recalls this historic function. Unique features of the interior include the double-height, second-floor opera hall with its decorative tin ceiling that was added in 1921, and the two-cell, basement jail. Other interior features include a wide staircase finished in maple and stained-pine detailing and mouldings throughout.
Town of Qu’Appelle Bylaw No. 10/84.
The heritage value of the Qu'Appelle Town Hall resides in the following character-defining elements:
-architectural elements of the Town Hall’s construction and exterior design, such as its square, two-storey form; brick and heavy-timber construction with buff-brick cladding and scored, fieldstone foundation; decoratively laid brickwork forming crenels, corbelled cornices, window and door heads, roundels and sign plates; ‘TOWN HALL’ lettering above the public entrance; fenestration with long, one-over-one, wood-sash windows; large, round-headed doorways; battened, double doors and assembly; hip roof with pyramidal tower roof and louvered, belfry cupola;
-architectural elements of the Town Hall’s interior, such as its interior arrangement with second-storey opera hall, stair halls, basement jail, first-storey clerk’s office and former council chambers; the opera hall’s double-height space and tin-clad ceiling, built-in stage and hardwood floor; wide staircase with maple balustrades; pine wainscoting and mouldings throughout; the austere, partially finished basement with wood-plank flooring, exposed brick walls and two jail cells with heavy wooden and iron-bar doors;
-those contextual elements of the Town Hall which contribute to its prominence and use as a centre for local governance, such as its elevated situation, street setbacks and unobscured character, and those elements that recall its fire hall use, such as the earthen ramp leading to the fire hall door.