Historic Courthouse and Jail

The City purchased the former County Courthouse in 1960 and acquired the former Jail facility in 2013.  These buildings are located at 1235 and 1259 3rd Avenue East.  The Courthouse is located at 1235 3rd Avenue East and the jail buildings, jail walls and two-storey redbrick Governor's Residence are located at 1259 3rd Avenue East.

The Courthouse is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act for reasons of architectural and contextual value and interest and the Jail property is on the City’s Heritage Register.  The buildings became vacant in 2014 and the City has declared the buildings and property surplus and has the lands listed for sale.  Through the listing process, the Jail buildings and structures were identified as being a potential barrier to redevelopment of the lands.  In December 2018, the City published a request for proposals for a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and Demolition Approvals Plan for the County Courthouse and Jail properties.

Taylor Hazell Architects (THA) was the successful bidder for the completion of the HIA and Demolition Approvals Plan as commissioned by the City.  THA engaged the services of Tacoma Engineering for the structural assessment of buildings and structures being considered for retention or demolition.  THA has completed a Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report (CHER) for the Jail property and a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) to assess the impact of removal of some or all of the buildings from the Jail property.  These documents were presented to the Community Services Committee on January 15, 2020.  Though the demolition of the Courthouse is not being considered through this process, it merits note that demolition of designated and listed buildings requires a decision from Council and statutory notice in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act

The HIA assesses the impact of four options for removal of one or more of the buildings on the Jail property.  The options are as follows:

  1. Remove the Governor's Residence and miscellaneous outbuildings; retain and conserve in a mothballed state, the 1854 and 1869 Jail and Jail Yard walls.
  2. Remove the Governor's Residence, miscellaneous outbuildings and the 1854 Jail.  The 1869 Jail and Jail Yard walls would be retained and conserved in a mothballed state.
  3. Remove the Governor's Residence, miscellaneous outbuildings, the 1854 Jail and some or all of the Jail Yard walls.  The 1869 Jail would be retained and conserved in a mothballed state.
  4. Remove all buildings from the property, including the Jail Yard walls.
  5. The Community Services Committee also requested that Council consider a fifth option of retaining all of the Jail property buildings.

The HIA outlines mitigation measures that are recommended if any one of the above-mentioned options are selected.  The HIA also sets out a series of general recommendations, including further technical studies that are required.

Staff Reports & Presentations
Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report & Heritage Impact Assessment
Media & Communications 
Video Presentations

City Staff and Taylor Hazell Architects have created two video presentations for the purposes of illustrating the selective removals options for the Jail property for the benefit of the public.

Trailer Presentation (5 minutes):

Amy Cann, Manager of Planning & Heritage with the City of Owen Sound, has created the Trailer Presentation (below) regarding the selective removals options. Staff request that you watch this video prior to completing the survey so that you can make an informed decision. 

Full Presentation (24 minutes):

Taylor Hazell Architects has created a more in depth video presentation. The video briefly reviews the project background and the discussion of the reasons for the City considering removal of the Jail and Governor's Residence in whole or in part and the description of the different removals options begins at 15:28 of the video.

Survey (Closed)

The Community Services Committee and City Council are seeking the public's feedback on the proposed options for removal to help inform their decision.

The survey is available from Friday, September 25, 2020 until Monday, October 26, 2020 at 4:30 PM. Please watch this video presentation prior to completing the survey.

All survey responses will remain confidential and will be analyzed and submitted as aggregated data. 

The survey is now closed.  Thank you to those who took the time to complete the survey.

Open House and Question & Answer Session (Taken Place)

The City's Community Services Department invites the public to attend an Open House and Question & Answer Session on selective removals options relating to the Jail property.  There are a number of options being considered.  The demolition of the Courthouse is not being considered at this time. A video presentation has been created to illustrate these options. People are encouraged to watch this video presentation prior to attending the Open House and Question & Answer Session.

Event Location:
Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre
1900 3rd Avenue East, Owen Sound
Entry and exit through the north doors at the back parking lot as per this map.

Date & Times:
Monday, October 19, 2020
Session 1 - 3:00 PM
Session 2 - 5:30 PM - Cancelled

In order to attend one of the Open Houses, you must pre-register with Staci Landry by phone at 519-376-4440 ext. 1256 or email to slandry@owensound.ca by Wednesday, October 14 at 4:30 PM.  Attendance will be restricted to 50 people per session as per provincial regulations.

Face coverings are required while inside the Bayshore Community Centre unless you have an exemption due to medical reasons.

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