Description of Historic Place
The Town Hall/Opera House is a Municipal Heritage Property located on a 2549-square metre corner lot in the Town of Battleford. Constructed in 1912, the two-storey building is a Classically-inspired, red-brick structure with a prominent Classical entablature.
A symbol of town optimism, the Town Hall/Opera House is valued for its association with the historical beginnings of the Town of Battleford. In 1911, town council approved $25,000 for the building's construction, which was designed to accommodate town business, official functions, and productions of musicals and concerts. Completed in October 1912 at a final cost of $40,000, the building was a symbol of community pride. The building housed various administrative offices, including an RCMP detachment and jail, public library, Parks & Recreation Department, civic departments such as fire and water, and municipal offices for both the Town of Battleford and the RM of Battle River. The opera house accommodated school plays, high school graduations, live theatre, musical talent nights, Christmas concerts, dances, and firemen's banquets. In later years, only council chambers and the town clerk's office were regularly used, with the occasional concerts and meetings in the Opera House. Though a fire seriously damaged the ground floor in 1965, which closed the Opera House, the town hall was repaired and completely restored in the late 1970s. It continues to house the town office, council chambers, and the Mayor's office.
Heritage value also resides in the building's architecture, which reflects a Classical influence that was common in public buildings of that era. Designed by Saskatoon architect W.W. LaChance and built by Pigott and Son of Hamilton, Ontario, the Town Hall/Opera House is marked by its red-brick construction, decorative Tyndall Stone detailing, and prominent entablature with projecting cornice. Two-storey, evenly-spaced pilasters and ordered windows emphasize the building's formal arrangement and symmetrical massing. At some point, the original vaulted roof was modified from an arched surface with galvanized metal roofing and concealed gutter to the current sloped, shingled surface with exposed metal gutter. This prominent roofline continues to contribute to the building's stature in the community. The entryway, surmounted by a metal cornice with municipal signage and crest, evoke the qualities of tradition and strength associated with Classical buildings. Interior elements, such as the seven metre-high ceiling, stage, and large open space in the opera house, reflect the building's original use as a cultural centre for the Town of Battleford.
Situated on its original location, the Town Hall/Opera House is surrounded by landscaped green space and remains a prominent structure in the community.
Source: Town of Battleford Bylaw No. 3/82.
The heritage value of the Town Hall/Opera House resides in the following character-defining elements:
-elements that reflecting the building's Classical style of architecture, including the symmetrical form and regular massing, decorative stone detailing, rounded-arch windows set in recessed bays, metal entablature with projecting cornice, metal hip roof;
-those elements reflecting the administrative function of the building, including exterior signage and crest;
-Opera House space on the second floor, including the vaulted ceiling, stage, and open space;
-the location of the building on landscaped green space on its original site.