This beautiful building is an example of the best mid-Victorian Opera Houses and is the epitome of the proud civic building of its day, and an excellent representation of a Heritage Building in Ontario.(1)
In 1873, passionate residents of Aylmer voted to proceed with the plans for a New Village Hall and raised enough money for the purchase of the market grounds, market building, and the “New Village Hall”. Village council chose architects George Watson and Son of London, Contractor John H Arkell, and Construction Inspector Harrison Maw to create the magnificent building we still see today.
As the Aylmer Council began to discuss the fate of our dear Old Town Hall in 1978, the citizen’s group, Heritage Aylmer was born. Although it was a long up-hill struggle for preservations, the determination of this group and a few municipal councilors, finally got permission for extensive renovations. The Old Town Hall was designated a heritage structure under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1980, protecting it from alteration or demolition. Extensive renovations began and continued throughout the 1980’s restoring it back to it’s original Italianate architectural design, arcaded brickwork, boldly-modelled cornice, with beautiful Florentine windows. Doors re-opened to the public in 1988, with the final touch complete, the original Union Jack on the ceiling of the Opera House as it was in 1873.
The Old Town Hall was and is the home to the Opera House; stage to many famous people and entertainers from: Poetess Pauline Johnson in 1882, and Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A, MacDonald in 1886. It’s also been the home to the Post Office, Council Room, Dance Hall, Fire Hall, Public Works Department.
This beautiful piece of history is cherished and treasured within the Town of Aylmer and neighbouring communities. It is the current home of the Aylmer Library on the main floor, and the Opera House on the upper floor host to plays by The Aylmer Community Theatre, and performances hosted by The Aylmer Performing Arts, including Canadian Jazz and Famous tenor, Moe Koffman, John McDermott, and Royal Wood.
Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald spoke at the Old Town hall before his election on December 14th, 1886.
Special Events and Rentals
That’s right! YOU host your next special event at the Opera House inside the Old Town Hall! It’s the perfect location for a company party, wedding ceremony, a special anniversary, or a milestone birthday dinner. Read more on how you can host your next event at the Old Town Hall.
To Book the Old Town Hall
Please call 519-773-3164 to book the Old Town Hall.
Accommodations in Aylmer
Are you visiting the Old Town Hall from a distance? Why not stay in Aylmer. We have beautiful places to spend a night, a weekend, or even longer! These include a beautiful bed and breakfast in a heritage home, an Inn with country charm, and a cottage in the pines. Visit our accommodations page for more information.