74 Woolwich Street

Wellington County Court House

Bylaw: (1980)-10287

Legal description: PLAN 8 PRIORS BLK LOTS 10-14 1617 PT LOTS 1-4 PT LOT 40 RP 61R2243 PART 1

Designated portions

It is the intention of this bylaw to designate, as architecturally and historically significant, the exterior of the 1841-43 section of the building (as shown in the illustration included with the by-law), to the extent that it is exposed to view in March, 1980. This includes the stone walls, windows and doors, roof form and castellated parapets. The 1873 second storey addition between the front towers is considered to be part of the original building. It is not pictured in the illustration which was drawn before 1873.

The fact that part of the original building is hidden by later one and two storey additions is recognized and there is no implication in this by-law that the hidden walls must be exposed to view again. It is also recognized that the proposed office building addition will enclose some of the original walls now on the exterior and will expose them as features of the interior décor.

Property history

Built in 1841-43 as the District of Wellington Court House, this structure is the oldest remaining public building built of stone in Guelph or Wellington County as is one of the oldest stone buildings between Toronto and London. It has a fine castellated Scottish keep design by Toronto Architect Thomas Young. William Allan was the contractor. A small addition in the same style was built by Thomas Dobbie across the front of the second-floor in 1873 to the design of Stephen Boult. The 19th century section has been used as the County Council Chambers and County administrative offices since its earliest years but the Court was moved in 1963. An office addition was made to the southerly end in 1955 and the new Court House was added to the northerly end in 1963.

This traditional seat of justice and county government has gained new visual significance as the focal point of the vista seen from Woolwich Street’s new alignment. Plans for a office addition to be constructed in 1980-1981 promise to enhance the importance of the original structure.

The designation is limited to those parts of the exterior which are exposed at the time of passing of the designation by-law (March 1980). It is recognized that some of the present exterior walls will be enclosed by the new design but will remain intact as features of the interior décor.