Today is the first full day of regular operations at the Elgin County Courthouse, which has re-opened on Wellington Street in St. Thomas.
Attorney General John Gerretsen joined local dignitaries at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, March 18. “For over a century and a half, the Elgin County Courthouse has stood as a St. Thomas landmark,” Gerretsen said. “Its restoration and renovation as part of the new consolidated courthouse will preserve its stature in the community for many years to come.”
The courthouse is on the site of the historic Elgin County Courthouse. The new courthouse consolidates the Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice, which previously operated in separate locations. The three-storey building has eight courtrooms and three conference/settlement rooms.
Something Old, Something New
Heritage features of the courthouse, including its east, north and west elevations, dome and copper roof, and masonry and sculptural detailing, have been conserved and restored.
A new addition connects the restored heritage courthouse with the former Land Registry Office, which is also now home to the Elgin County Law Association. The complex features state-of-the-art technology, security, energy efficiency and barrier-free accessibility. It is built to withstand flood, fire and theft.
Construction of the new courthouse began in June 2011. The Elgin County Courthouse is a St. Thomas landmark; it was one of the earliest county courthouses built in Ontario. It is considered an example of the combined courthouse, jail and county buildings that were erected across Canada West before Confederation. At the time, these complexes were a requirement to achieve full “county” status.
The courthouse was the home of Elgin County’s Superior Court until it was relocated in 2010 to allow for construction of the new, consolidated courthouse.
A Time Capsule has been placed in the cornerstone at the new courthouse; it is to be opened in 88 years — in 2102.
Photos: Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario