Court renovation

59 Carden Street Restoration Project

City Hall at 59 Carden Street in 2005 just prior to it's conversion and renovationThe building at 59 Carden Street served as Guelph’s City Hall from 1856 to 2009, and is a National Historic Site designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. Guelph’s new City Hall is located just west of the original building at 1 Carden Street.

The rehabilitation of 59 Carden Street started in May 2010 and revealed, restored or replicated many of the building’s original features including tin ceilings, cast iron columns, windows, cornices and archways.

Judicial chambers are housed in a new addition at the rear of the building and allow barrier-free access to all courtrooms. The main courtroom is one of the first in the province to feature a barrier-free workstation for the Clerk of the Court on the same level as the Justice.

Guelph’s Provincial Offences Court began operation at 59 Carden on August 3, 2010 while work continued on the finishing touches inside the building.

The building’s interior has been renovated throughout its history. The the goals of the project were to:

  • Preserve and restore the unique heritage features of the building
  • Provide access to justice in a fully functional and accessible court facility

 

Heritage features renewed and restored

The biggest changes are visible in the main entrance and stair hall, and in the portion of the building added in 1875. Here’s a list of the renovations, restorations and replications throughout the building:

Council Chambers 

  • Ceiling restored and visible in new courtroom
  • Mural recorded in detail and encapsulated for potential future reproduction and interpretation

1856 Public Room (former Mayor’s Office wing) 

  • Window details and decorative plaster replicated on new walls
  • Ceiling restored and visible in new public waiting area
  • Insulated walls and installed new finishes up to cornice level

1875 Auditorium 

  • Ceiling restored and visible in new courtroom and ancillary office hallways
  • Window details and decorative plaster replicated on new walls
  • Views to Market Square restored
  • Insulated walls and installed new finishes up to cornice level

Stair Hall 

  • Closed opening on south side of addition built in 1875
  • Restored single run staircase in curved wall
  • Curved windows in stair hall restored as niches

Basement 

  • Insulated exterior walls and installed new finishes
  • Interior arches left exposed where possible

Tin Ceilings 

  • All existing patterns retained as samples
  • Some were too damaged to retain and reproduction ceilings were installed

Cast Iron Columns 

  • Columns were retained and remain largely exposed

Accessibility features 

The renewed building meets the City of Guelph’s Facility Accessibility Design Manual (FADM) Standards for accessibility.

  • Barrier-free entrances, elevator, washrooms, drinking fountains and service wickets
  • Wheelchair accessible routes throughout the building including judicial chamber and courtrooms
  • Infra-red hearing devices and amplification in courtrooms
  • High contrast colour scheme for walls, floors and furnishings
  • Way-finding tiles provide intuitive direction and /or cueing for those who use a navigation cane
  • High-contrast signs with tactile text and Braille

About the Ontario Court of Justice – Provincial Offences 

Since May 29, 2000, the City of Guelph has been responsible for the administration and prosecution of most provincial offence charges issued within Guelph-Wellington. The City provides administration for the Ontario Court of Justice with respect to all provincial offences and prosecution services regarding Part I Provincial Offences Act charges (“tickets”). These charges include tickets issued pursuant to the Highway Traffic Act, Liquor Licence Act and similar provincial statutes.

This transfer of responsibilities from the province to the municipality ensures that local governments have more responsibility for justice that impacts the local communities. Further, the public can be assured of a high level of quality service at the local level.

Council Chambers

  • Ceiling restored and visible in new courtroom
  • Mural recorded in detail and encapsulated for potential future reproduction and interpretation

Mural in the court house

Renovated courtroom

1856 Public Room (former Mayor’s Office wing)

  • Window details and decorative plaster replicated on new walls
  • Ceiling restored and visible in new public waiting area
  • Insulated walls and installed new finishes up to cornice level

Arched windows and carved ceiling above the original Public Room

Archways found in the original Public Room

Renovated arch in the new Main Hall

1875 Auditorium

  • Ceiling restored and visible in new courtroom and ancillary office hallways
  • Window details and decorative plaster replicated on new walls
  • Views to Market Square restored
  • Insulated walls and installed new finishes up to cornice level

POA Court – Stair Hall

Windows discovered were restored as niches

Renovated single run staircase

Tin Ceilings

  • All existing patterns retained as samples
  • Some were too damaged to retain samples and reproduction ceilings were installed

Damaged ceiling tiles mad of tin, patterns not available for repairs

Renovated Court ceiling and windows

Cast Iron Columns

  • Columns were retained and remain largely exposed

Cast iron columns

Renovated cast iron column and windows

Basement

  • Insulated exterior walls and installed new finishes
  • Interior arches left exposed where possible

Archway door and hallway found in the basement

3 Archways found in the basement

View a Flickr slideshow of more pictures