The Newmarket Town Hall and Market Building
Old Town Hall
Links and documents
1882/01/01 to 1883/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Old Town Hall (also known as The Newmarket Town Hall and Market Building) was built in 1883 and is located at 460 Botsford Street, in the original downtown core of Newmarket. This two-storey buff brick building was designed in the Italianate style, with a projecting frontispiece, a crested central square bell-tower, tall narrow windows and a heavily bracketed cornice.
The Old Town Hall has been designated for its historical and architectural significance by the Town of Newmarket By-law number 1999-120.
The Newmarket Town Hall and Market Building played a pivotal role in Newmarket’s early days, housing a farmers’ market on the first floor and a meeting hall/ auditorium on the second floor. Newmarket’s first farmers’ market was held 1871, in a small shed with a dirt floor located in the Market Square, to the north of the present building. Over the next decade the market grew to such proportions that Mayor William Cane advocated for a “modern building” to accommodate the new market. This was one of the first buildings paid for by the community through a loan. The town hall's inauguration was on Dominion Day, 1883 (now Canada Day).
The market’s business was increased with the 1899 opening of the radial line (electric rail) from Toronto to Newmarket. Located across from the market square, this close proximity allowed many goods to be assembled and distributed rapidly and cheaply to other markets. Although the radial line ceased operating in the early 1930s, the market continued for another decade, until wartime shortages forced its closure.
The town hall has been an important element in the community’s civic and social life from its construction right up to the present day. It served as the political and administrative centre for the Town of Newmarket until the 1950s, at which time the Town’s police department moved into the vacant market area, dispensing its services from this location until the 1970s.
The meeting hall/ auditorium was converted into a municipal courtroom and used for this purpose from 1975 to 1980. The town hall continued as an auditorium where a local acting troupe staged theatrical productions. Today, the building continues to be used for similar social events.
In accordance with Mayor Cane’s desire for a modern building, the architectural firm of Mallory and Sons chose the Italianate style to illustrate the building’s significance to the community. The town hall has a striking similarity to the Grand Opera house in Toronto, which was located not far from the offices of Mallory and Sons. By choosing not to include the more elaborate features of Italianate ornamentation, the architects gave it a modern feel by using cleaner lines. Constructed of local cream coloured buff brick by local builder Walter Page, it encompasses the characteristic Italianate features of a rectangular floor plan, a low-pitched hip roof, wide eaves supported by decorative wooden brackets along the cornice, a square bell-tower with iron cresting and a projecting frontispiece with gable.
On the main floor, the central entrance and the secondary doorways to the side-projecting bays sport an arched voussoir with central keystone lintels. The first storey windows are arched and feature a voussoir with a central keystone, where the second storey windows have circular heads that feature a voussoir with a central keystone and are narrow in comparison to the windows on the first floor. The sense of height is accentuated on the ground floor as the toppers of the doors and windows are aligned at the same height. The front gable contains a roundel. Horizontal brick stringers run across both storeys at their mid-point.
Sources: Town of Newmarket heritage designation by-law 1999-120, October 4, 1999 and Heritage Newmarket file: 460 Botsford Street.
Character defining elements that illustrate the cultural heritage values include:
- its permanence as an administrative centre and market place
- the physical relationship between the market and the radial line
- use for community and social events and association with cultural organizations
- its two-storey, rectangular floor plan with two bay projections (one on each side elevation)
- its walls constructed of local cream-coloured buff brick
- the horizontal brick stringer surrounding the building at the mid level of the top windows on the first and second floor
- the slender and well proportioned wood windows, with slightly cambered brick arches over the ground floor windows and circular arches over the second-storey windows
- the central keystone lintels over the doorways and windows
- the center gable end and interruption of the perimeter of the hipped flat roof
- the decorative bell tower atop the gable
- the local rubble granite masonry foundation
- intact original chimney and the brick pier remains of 7 other chimneys
- the minimal decoration
Local Governments (ON)
Ontario Heritage Act
Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club
- Commerce / Commercial Services
Architect / Designer
Mallory and Sons
Location of Supporting Documentation
Newmarket Historical Society
134 Main Street S.
C/O Town Clerk,
Town of Newmarket Municipal Offices
395 Mulock Drive
P.O. Box 328 STN Main
Cross-Reference to Collection