Description of Historic Place
The Memorial Hall is a Georgian Revival-style structure situated in a park-like setting straddling the commercial areas found along Carman's Main Street S, as well as the quieter residential development to the west. Two storeys high and clad in red brick and limestone, the hall was constructed in 1919-20 in honour of the district's soldiers who served in the First World War. The municipal designation applies to the hall and the site it occupies.
The Memorial Hall, an elegant Georgian Revival-style building in Carman, is a fine example of a structure that integrates important historical events with daily community life. The hall is both a monument to area residents who served in the military during the First World War, including 83 who died in battles at Vimy Ridge and Mons, and a multi-purpose public building. Its commemorative role is evident in the artefacts located on its grounds, its exterior detailing and interior memorial room, which contains commemorative statuary, wreaths and memorabilia of the war. The structure's functional aspects are revealed by its substantial, well-planned design, incorporating the offices and meeting spaces of the Town of Carman and Rural Municipality of Dufferin, an auditorium/theatre, social hall and community room, as well as its past roles housing a jail and library, and a bell tower once used to summon firemen to emergencies. The building remains a landmark and valued public facility in the Carman/Dufferin district.
Source: Town of Carman By-law No. 94/1750, August 25, 1994
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Memorial Hall site include:
- its prominent and spacious location on the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue SW (Walnut Street) and Main Street S, consuming the entire block up to 1st Street SW
- the field cannons in each of the northwest and northeast corners, a commemorative stone tablet for the district's soldiers on the east lawn, mature trees, open expanses of grass, two flagpoles and two concrete light posts outside the entrance
Key elements that define the building's Georgian Revival-style include:
- the imposing scale and rectangular massing, with a high limestone base, facades of red brick and Manitoba limestone, a dominant metal cornice painted white that envelopes all elevations and a high parapet with stone coping
- the elaborately carved limestone entrance bay, centred in the symmetrical main facades, delineated by two rusticated stone pilasters and an intricately detailed parapet, and featuring a large arched window of segmented yellow and clear glass, with a central medallion of green glass, a prominent keystone and radiating voussoirs
- the elongated rectangles of raised brick encompassing first and second-floor windows
- the rectangular openings of various sizes, in pairs with keystones on the main facade and in sets of three on other elevations, with the second-level windows featuring multi-paned sections at the top, and all featuring frames painted to contrast the brick, soldier-coursed brick lintels and sills integrated into the limestone belt courses
- the rear bell tower with stepped-back corners, limestone courses, a second-level cornice supported by scrolled brackets and variously shaped openings throughout, all in sets of three, becoming smaller with height and some featuring limestone sills
- the details, including the words 'MEMORIAL HALL" emblazoned on the frieze and preceded and followed by medallions, two limestone tablets engraved with the words "VIMY" and "MONS", a cornerstone reading '1919', an intricately carved limestone cornice above the double-door entrance supported by brackets, etc.
Key elements that define the hall's functional, yet well-appointed interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the formal rectangular plan with a central hall
- the intact double-scissor wooden staircases, their undersides covered in wood panelling
- the half-circle main-floor lobby with wainscotting and picture moulding
- the intact main-floor configuration, consisting of offices, the council chambers, community room and memorial room with its original plaster and stained glass
- the second-floor auditorium with a stage, projection room, wooden seats and lighting fixtures
- the social hall in the basement; also the remnant metal sliding doors of the town's jail cells
- the practical details and finishes, including historically accurate colour palettes, wainscotting, intact hardwood floors, period doors with transoms, picture and other mouldings, etc.
- the furnishings, including the main-floor vaults found in each office, the council chamber chairs and table, a wooden filing cabinet, etc.