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Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall National Historic Site of Canada

55 King Street West, Cobourg, Ontario, K9A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1959/11/25

Corner view of the Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall, showing the front elevation and the central, temple-fronted pavilion, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1990.
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)

Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall National Historic Site of Canada
Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall
Victoria Hall / Hôtel de ville de Cobourg

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1856/01/01 to 1860/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall is a large, three-storey, stone public building, constructed in the mid-19th century. It Neoclassical style presents as well a variety of eclectic details. The building is topped by a prominent clocktower. The plenty ornate building houses well-preserved court rooms, meeting space, offices, and a concert hall. Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall is prominently sited on King St. in front of the former fire hall and market square. The formal recognition consists of the building on its legal property.

Heritage Value

Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall was designated a national historic site in 1959 because it is a good example of a public edifice of mid-19th-century Canada.

Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall is one of a group of municipal buildings built in Ontario after the passage of the Municipal Act in 1849, which altered and augmented the responsibilities of municipal government. It is typical of these mid-19th-century municipal buildings in its immense scale, elaborate detailing and the inclusion of multiple functions under one roof. Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall, however, is one of the more extravagant examples in terms of scale and detailing. Designed by Toronto architect Kivas Tully, its monumental scale and Victorian Neoclassical design reflect the prosperity and tremendous optimism of Cobourg during the 1850s. Victoria Hall / Cobourg Town Hall retains much of its original layout, which included space for the county courts, two levels of government (town and county), a concert hall, a Masonic Hall, private offices, and commercial rental space.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1959.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements which relate to the heritage value of Victoria Hall/ Cobourg Town Hall include:

- its prominent siting on King Street in downtown Cobourg;
- its setting at the head of the former market square, set back slightly from the streets on three sides;
- its large scale, consisting of almost 0.5 hectares of floor space;
- its three-storey symmetrical massing with central, temple-fronted pavilion flanked by wings and end pavilions;
- its smooth ashlar stone facing and construction of Cleveland sandstone;
- its Italianate styling, notable in its symmetrically placed openings, pedimented portico with giant Corinthian columns, rusticated ground storey, ornate roof-top cupola, elaborate and varied stone detailing including window surrounds, cornice, shaped chimneys;
- the generous proportions of the multi-pane sash window and door openings;
- surviving remnants of its original layout, including a courtroom and judge’s chambers on the first floor, a two-storey concert hall on the second and third floors, offices and meeting space;
- surviving original interior features and detailing.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Governing Canada
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type


Town or City Hall


Architect / Designer

Kivas Tully


William and David Burnet

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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