Built in 1873, the Town Hall Centre for the Performing Arts has been used in several capacities over the years. Originally the Township Office, jail and court house, it has also been a theatre, roller skating rink, movie house, fire station and ladies’ undergarment factory.
In 1973 a group of dedicated residents persuaded the Township Council to lease the abandoned building for 99 years at $1.00 a year rather than destroy it for a parking lot and the Town Hall was again reverted to a theatre. A stage was added but otherwise the hall retained its historic state for nearly three decades.
It became evident that the demand for the hall was outgrowing its capacity and plans were initiated for major renovations that maintained the historic integrity but fulfilled the modern needs of kitchen facilities, air conditioning, sloped theatre floor and comfortable seating, dressing rooms, backstage area and stage wings and most importantly, making the building fully accessible with lift and washrooms. The $1.2 million expansion and renovations took approximately 6 years in the planning, fundraising and building. This was made possible through the generosity of the public along with Provincial, Federal and Municipal grants and a Municipal loan.
Since it’s grand re-opening in the fall of 2004, the newly renovated building has become a cultural anchor of downtown Port Perry. The arts and entertainment scene is alive and well at Town Hall 1873 which has earned a place as “The” Centre for the Performing Arts in Durham Region.