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Courthouses of Canada: Dufferin County, Ont.

|Written By Gail J. Cohen

Construction of the Dufferin County Courthouse, in Orangeville, Ont., began in the spring of 1880 and was designed by Guelph, Ont., architect C.J. Soule.  The three-storey brick courthouse is designed in the eclectic High Victorian style of architecture. Originally attached to the rear of the courthouse was a grey limestone jail complex and red brick governor's residence. The jail remained until 1978, one addition was built in 1973 more courts added in 1986. The courthouse underwent further renovations and re-opened in 2012 with an environmentally friendly and energy efficient addition housing Provincial Offences staff, two courtrooms and county staff as well as a secure underground prisoner transfer area.

Here's a description of the structure from Canada's Historic Places web site: Rounded arch doorways, round-headed windows, flared pier capitals and a corbelled frieze align the courthouse with the Romanesque style, while the tower roof is characteristically Second Empire in appearance. Further distinguishing the structure is an exuberant dichromatic scheme of buff and red coloured brickwork with a polychromatic slate roof and decorative iron cresting, surviving as increasingly rare examples of Victorian detailing. The building's interior retains its lofty court room with upper storey gallery fronted by an intricate iron balustrade. Also highlighting the interior is a curved oak staircase with a balustrade of black walnut and chesswood.

This is the fifth in our occasional photographic series of the courthouses of Canada. If you have a photo and story of the courthouse in your city or town that you’d like to share, e-mail it to editor Gail J. Cohen.


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