Will ring three times per day
Now that work has been completed on the historic Bell Tower at the Town Hall, the bells are now ringing again. They are scheduled to ring each day at 9 am, 12 noon and 6 pm. At the “official” ceremony on Tuesday, Mayor Al Strathdee speaking on behalf of Council and the Town and Mary Smith speaking on behalf of the Heritage Committee, outlined the history of the Town Hall and the Bell Tower. St. Marys was incorporated as a village in 1855 and a small building was constructed on Water Street South. Four years later in 1859 a large frame building to serve as a Town Hall and market building was constructed on the northeast of Queen and Church Streets in the Market Square. In 1890 the frame Town Hall building burnt to the ground and the Council of the day decided to replace it with a building which would have a “lasting and permanent character for years or generations to come”. A year later in 1891 construction of the new building proceeded throughout the year under the direction of a well known Toronto architect George W. Gouinlock. The Town Council met in the fire hall during the construction work. Many local contractors were involved and the total cost was $15,000 which included a bell for the Bell Tower. In 1892 Council held its first meeting in the new but unheated Council chambers in May and the building is officially opened in June with a grand public concert in the auditorium. In the original Town Hall there was a police station on the ground floor with two jail cells. The lower level also had storage space for fire department equipment including a hose-drying tower in the southeast corner. Since it was first built there have been many renovations to meet the needs of the municipality. The police station was replaced for awhile but of course it is now being used by the OPP again. The hose tower now contains an elevator providing access to all levels. The Town Hall was designated under the provisions of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1981.