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Registry Office, North York

134 Main Street South, Newmarket, Ontario, L3Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/05/04

Main Entrance of Original Building; Heritage Newmarket
Main Entrance
South Elevation of Building; Heritage Newmarket
South Elevation of Building
View of the Original Building; Heritage Newmarket
View of the Original Building

Other Name(s)

Registry Office, North York
The Registry Office

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/01/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Registry Office (also known as the North York Registry Office) was constructed in 1884, and is located at 134 Main Street South in Newmarket’s Historic Downtown. This Classical Revival single storey solid brick office with its principal entry on the gable wall sits angled slightly on its site.

The Registry Office has been designated for its historical and architectural significance by the Town of Newmarket, By-law number 1987-72.

Heritage Value

The North York Registry Office was the second registry office built in Newmarket. Constructed in 1884, it is located directly north of where the first office was situated and is the only 19th century registry office remaining in York Region. Built as a repository for land title records and registers of births, deaths and marriages for the area north of Toronto encompassing the former County of York. The building was designed to house these records for the County of York, independent from the Toronto jurisdiction. When constructed it was expected to fulfill the needs of the county for fifty years; the building served as a registry office for nearly a century from 1884 to 1980, when the records were moved to a new courthouse/registry office complex.

Both registry offices were designed by John T. Stokes, an architect of regional importance, who served as an engineer for the County of York and later for the City of Toronto. A standard design for registry offices was issued by the Ontario provincial Department of Public Works in 1868. The 1884 North York Registry Office follows the provincial standard in form and detailing but Stokes had already applied a similar format for his earlier (1863) registry office in Newmarket. The Region of York administrative offices occupied the property until 1993; it now houses the Elman W. Campbell Museum.

The North York Registry Office follows the formal Classical Revival style, featuring the unique use of a front gable plan and the introduction of the principal entry on the gable wall. This prototype design of John T. Stokes, a prominent County of York architect and engineer, illustrates the unique architectural styling used for the administrative buildings of Ontario’s registry offices. Situated in a prominent location on a main street it is angled slightly on its site and in its function as the depository for land title records and registers of marriages, births and deaths, was designed to be fire proof.

In 1938 an addition extended the building to the rear for sixteen feet, and continued with the same characteristics of the original structure. Another addition in 1954 was not as sympathetic in design to the original structure.

Sources: Town of Newmarket heritage designation by-law, 1987-72 May 4, 1987 and Heritage Newmarket file: 134 Main Street South.

Character-Defining Elements

The character defining elements that reflect the heritage values of the North York Registry Office include its:
- monumental pediment at the gable end
- projected gable entryway
- semi-circular drip labels with keystones, suggest niches
- curved inscription stone above the front entrance
- curved labels, providing a balanced approach of a semi-circle within a triangle.
- decorative stepped brickwork on the side elevations
- mock pilasters.
- fire proof construction materials including slate, brick and stone
- long single storey rectangular plan with a narrow facade flanking Main Street
- gable end forming a monumental pediment, with an enclosed and projected entry, which repeats the roofline and window trim of the main body, suggesting a portico where none exists.
- foundation of quarried stone
- two-foot thick brick walls
- solid brick and mortar ceiling
- slate roof and iron doors
- window sash and window bars
- rafters composed of wood.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type




Courthouse and/or Registry Office

Architect / Designer

John T. Stokes


Page and Harris

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Newmarket Historical Society 134 Main Street South Newmarket, ON L3Y 3Y7 Heritage Newmarket c/o Elman Campbell Museum 134 Main Street South Newmarket, ON L3Y 3Y7

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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