Home / Accueil

London Mechanics Institute Building

229, Dundas Street, London, City of, Ontario, N6A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/02/05

Of note are the building's symmetrical design and ornate detailing.; Martina Braunstein, 2007.
Façade, London Mechanics Institute Building, 2007
Featured is the central tower flanked by pilasters topped by capitals.; Martina Braunstein, 2007.
Tower, London Mechanics Institute Building, 2007
Featured are the decorative dormer windows and the cornice supported by brackets.; Martina Braunstein, 2007.
Window Detail, London Mechanics Institute Building

Other Name(s)

London Mechanics Institute Building
Majestic Theatre
Bennett's Theatre
Scott's of London
229-231 Dundas Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/12

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The London Mechanics Institute Building is located at 229 to 231 Dundas Street, on the south side of Dundas Street, east of Clarence Street, in the downtown area, of the City of London. The four-storey white-brick library building was constructed in 1876.

The property was designated, by the City of London, in 1988, for its historical or architectural value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law L.S.P. – 2982-79). The London Mechanics Institute Building is also protected by a municipal heritage easement agreement.

Heritage Value

The scale and opulence of the London Mechanics Institute Building makes it an impressive landmark within the City's downtown area.

The Mechanics Institute originated as an idealistic enterprise in Great Britain in the late 18th century and found fertile ground in Upper Canada. Its goal was the technical and cultural enrichment of the working man. The London Mechanics Institute Building is associated with its namesake organization, the London Mechanics Institute. The London Mechanics Institute was originally established in 1841. The London Mechanics Institute Building, at 229-231 Dundas Street, was the third and final building it operated from. It was constructed in 1876 under a design prepared by Thomas Tracy of the London architecture firm of Robinson, Tracy and Fairbairne. Despite this worthwhile goal, the objectives of the London Mechanics Institute were not realized and it eventually faded out of existence and its educational functions were taken on by the public library system.

The London Mechanics Institute Building is a prominent example of the Second Empire architectural style as applied to commercial design. Characteristic of Second Empire architecture, the Institute exhibits a mansard roof atop the central tower and the fourth-storey, which also features ornately decorated dormer windows. Other decorative elements which typify this style include the brackets below the cornices on the façade, the pilasters which are terminated by capitals that frame the upper-stories and the extended window sills.

Source: City of London, By-law L.S.P. – 2982-79.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the London Mechanics Institute Building include its:
- symmetrical design
- white-brick construction
- central tower
- mansard roof atop the tower and attic
- four dormer windows with end blocks which punctuate the fourth-storey
- cornices on façade
- brackets beneath cornices
- pilasters terminated by capitals on façade
- pediments with oversized keystones above the capitals




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1988/01/01 to 1988/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building



Architect / Designer

Thomas Tracy (Robinson, Tracy and Fairbairne)



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of London Planning and Development Department 300 Dufferin Avenue London, Ontario N6A 4L9

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places