Victoria Hall Restoration Work gets another Contribution

In June this year, Council approved a tender for the work from Colonial Building Restoration Ltd in the amount of $275,000 (plus HST) to restore the sandstone at the front of Victoria hall including the speakers’ balcony.  In July, the Victoria Hall Heritage Maintenance Trust Fund contributed $10,000 to this work and today, at 3:00 pm, the Victoria Hall Volunteers (VHV) contributed another $20,000.  In accepting the cheque, Mayor John Henderson said:  “I don’t know of another Town with this kind of support for heritage projects”.   The Victoria Hall Volunteers have a long history of supporting Victoria Hall with a total contribution to date of over $356,000. Today is the closest available to the 160th anniversary of the opening of Victoria Hall by the Prince of Wales at a Grand Ball on September 6, 1860.  Parks Canada contributed another $100,000 to this project.

VHV President Leona Woods and Mayor John Henderson
VHV President Leona Woods and Mayor John Henderson

The presentation was held outside Victoria Hall where the restoration work is almost complete.  It’s expected to be finished in a week or so.

The Victoria Hall Volunteers had planned an event celebrating the 160th anniversary this year called “A Hall so Grand”.  Because of the Covid-19 virus, it has had to be postponed and is now scheduled for June 12, 2021.  It will be a “celebration in words, images and song, a concert and narrated retrospective of the History of Victoria Hall featuring Hugh Brewster, the Edison Singers and a multi-media screen show.” It will be preceded by a Gala in the Art Gallery of Northumberland.


In 1971, Victoria Hall was threatened with demolition but “under the leadership of Lena Field Fisher, John Taylor, John Stokes and others, the Hall was restored to its former glory in 1983”. Today, Victoria Hall is recognized as a National Historic Site.  See Links below for more.

The Victoria Hall Volunteers (originally the Volunteer Women’s Committee of Victoria Hall) was formed in 1975 to help with fundraising during the restoration and continues with contributions to its maintenance.


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Wally Keeler
10 September 2020 9:14 pm

CBC GEM streams a number of fascinating video productions. I recommend ‘Hey Lady’ for two reasons.

1.      Don’t ever tell a 75-year-old to go quietly into the night. Hey Lady! is a CBC Gem original comedy series about a wiry old gal with a whiskey voice and a bourbon appetite. Watch here:

2.      Episode 5 presents the appearance of the Old Baily Courtroom in Victoria Hall.
Episode 8 presents the Art Gallery of Northumberland in Victoria Hall

The video production gives credit for the support it received from the (a) Canada Media Fund, (b) Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, and (c) Ontario Media Development Corporation, Film and Television Tax Credits.

There is absolutely no credit given to CBC GEM’s use of Victoria Hall, although taxpayers have funded the episodes. What an ungrateful  production!

Wally Keeler
9 September 2020 9:40 am

I was the court reporter for the Cobourg Sentinel Star and Cobourg Daily Star in the years before the Restoration of Victoria Hall. It was an honour to have worked in the Old Baily courtroom for so many years. It was often filled with the drama of Cobourg life.

It was a restoration, not a renovation; however, the rich wooden ceiling of the courtroom was replaced with a sprinkler system which mitigated against the restoration of the wooden ceiling. Current building safety codes prevailed.

The drunk tank that used to exist behind the door on the south-west corner of the courtroom was not retained because it was not part of the original structure.

Last edited 2 years ago by Wally Keeler
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 September 2020 6:36 pm

Obviously Frenchy you cannot read or comprehend when you see who has written a comment! Going nuts on Wally when he provided context to his description of the restoration and its building parts which have historical relevance, just shows your bias!

Five words that connect Wally (the first five, if you wonder what I am talking about) to the three paragraphs does not make Wally the subject of the tale!

9 September 2020 8:41 am

I wonder if this “National Historic Site” ever directly receives any Federal Govt. funds for its upkeep? Would be nice to know how much money has gone into this building since 1970…just so residents know their financial involvement…perhaps the Mayor could enlighten the citizens of Cobourg.

Reply to  cornbread
10 September 2020 8:44 am

The article above clearly states that “Parks Canada contributed $100,000 to this project”

Wally Keeler
Reply to  cornbread
10 September 2020 9:58 pm

The restoration in 1973 received a LIP (Local Initiative Program) grant from the feds. A copy of the February 9, 1973 edition of the Cobourg Daily Star shows a photo of the work crew that were paid by that federal grant. The article indicates that it was over 30 employees. So there is that.

Wally Keeler
9 September 2020 1:24 am

It has been a life-long honour to have worked on the restoration of Victoria Hall as the inventory manager for materials and equipment and tools. That experience also provided an opportunity to work with other Cobourg individuals with whom I have enjoyed a lifelong friendship or acquaintanceship. I applaud all of them.

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 September 2020 9:07 am

As Inventory Manager what is your role in the current project? I didn’t realize they had that kind of organizational structure in place. Help us better understand our history and its place today in society.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Canuck Patriot
9 September 2020 9:27 am

Help us better understand our history…”

Once again, a pseudonym asserts their query as belonging to “us“. The fact remains that a pseudonym speaks for no one other than their pseudonym, a no-name generic something or other.

Where does it say that I am involved in the current project? Learn how to read and comprehend dime-a-dozen pseudonym.

Art Seymour
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 September 2020 10:25 am

NIce work, again, Leona. It is certainly a great building so keep up the good work. Based on the Fern Sunde (Blodgett) Statue Project, you sure know how to raise funds. Congratulations to you and the Volunteers!!

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 September 2020 11:50 am

Ask a civil, polite question and this is your response? Sad to hear you overdosed on your nasty pills today.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Canuck Patriot
10 September 2020 10:02 pm

Another illogical nonsensical answer is what you got. A waste of time…

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Wally Keeler
10 September 2020 10:00 pm

Your above comment states”it has been a lifelong honour to work on the restoration…..” yet your further comment “where does it say I am involved in the current project…… “ the logic here escapes me. A lifelong honour and you are still alive yet you are not involved today????

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
11 September 2020 5:49 am

The restoration of Victoria Hall, began in 1973. The honour is lifelong, not the work. What is happening now is a patch-up job, not a full-blown restoration. People who have grown up here know what the “restoration of Victoria Hall”: means. I worked with the 30+ members of the work crew (You can see them in a photo published in the Feb9/73 edition of the Cobourg Daily Star — none of them were pseudonyms, so it is an honour to have worked with them and enjoy lifelong friendships and acquaintances. Good honest work on a great national treasure.

Btw, it was not a total restoration. The ceiling of the Old Baily Courtroom was totally replaced with something totally alien to the original — that’s a renovation, not a restoration.