Description of Historic Place
The Former Pickering Township Hall consists of a one-storey wood frame structure on a stone foundation, with a gable roof, a symmetrical façade and large paned windows. Located on a narrow site facing Brock Road in the small hamlet of Brougham, Ontario, the meeting hall has served as an important civic and political space. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Former Pickering Township Hall is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Former Pickering Township Hall is a very good example of 19th-century post-pioneer rural settlement in Canada, when the emergence of urbanization and a more diverse economy transformed rural communities. The building represents a second-generation of progress, and the idea of permanence, consolidation, stabilization and maturation in rural townships. The Former Pickering Township Hall is also associated with important gatherings that took place during the fight against the land expropriation by the federal government in 1972 to make way for a new airport. As one of the oldest buildings in the area, the Former Pickering Township Hall is a very good illustration of the community’s major period of development in the 1850s and 1860s. Built after the passage of Ontario’s Municipal Act, the building derives from a genuine commitment from the local residents, who contributed their time and materials. It continues to serve the community today.
The Former Pickering Township Hall is a simple and elegant one-storey wood frame structure and is a very good example of early rural municipal halls. As a modest white clapboard building, the Former Pickering Township Hall is characterized by a classical temple form, a gable roof, a central entryway, large paned windows, and well-executed details. The interior floor plan consists of a single room with a raised stage and a small service area behind. It is a very good example of the simple and adaptable functional design of an open plan. It bears out its effectiveness in the multitude of functions that it accommodates, such as meetings and social gatherings. Constructed with very good quality materials and craftsmanship, the Former Pickering Township Hall is also characterized by a certain level of sophistication, fine proportions, fine interior finishes, and very good carpentry work.
The Former Pickering Township Hall is compatible with Brougham’s overall character composed of small dwellings aligned along major roads. Its associated landscape, consisting of mature trees on a narrow lot, has been slightly altered with the small addition in the back, but the site has otherwise retained its original character and relationship to the building. The Former Pickering Township Hall, due to the central role it played in the history of the area as a meeting place, is well known to the residents of Pickering Township and is a familiar landmark.
Sources: Andrew M. Waldron, Five Buildings: 05-036 – 05-040, Brock Road and Highway 7, Brougham, City of Pickering, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Report 05-038; Former Pickering Township Hall, Heritage Character Statement, 05-038.
The character-defining elements of the Former Pickering Township Hall should be respected.
Its role as a manifestation of the historical theme of 19th-century post-pioneer rural settlement following the passage of Ontario’s Municipal Act is reflected in:
- its simple, elegant and effective design, as a one-storey open-plan meeting hall, historically used for civic administration and as a formal meeting place, which could accommodate a multitude of functions.
Its very good aesthetic, very good functional design, and very good quality of materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
- its clean lines, scale and massing, composed of a one-storey, rectangular wood frame block capped with a broad, low gable roof and a small projecting entrance vestibule;
- the symmetrical composition of the front façade with its gable roof, central entranceway, windows on either side, and sign reading “Pickering Township Hall”;
- the white clapboard cladding and the large paned windows with simple entablature and surrounds, typical of early municipal hall designs;
- the simple, adaptable and very effective open plan with its raised stage; and,
- the interior finishes and details such as the wood wainscoting and tin-embossed paneling found on the ceiling and walls.
The manner in which the building is compatible with the rural character of Brougham as evidenced in:
- its modest scale, simple design and unpretentious presence in the hamlet;
- its physical proximity to Brock Road and its relationship with the adjacent properties, which has remained unchanged in its character;
- its symbolic landmark value and its role in defining the identity and history of the hamlet.