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About Woodstock

Woodstock, Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

Woodstock is a city in Southwestern OntarioCanada, situated along the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor. The city has a population of 37,754 according to the 2011 Canadian census. Woodstock is the seat of Oxford County, at the head of the non-navigable Thames River, approximately 128 km from Toronto, and 43 km from London, Ontario. The city is known as the Dairy Capital of Canada and promotes itself as "The Friendly City."

Woodstock was first settled by European-colonists and United Empire Loyalists in 1800, starting with Zacharias Burtch and Levi Luddington, and became a town in 1851. Since then, Woodstock has maintained steady growth, and is now one of the largest cities in Southwestern Ontario. As a small historic city, Woodstock is one of the few cities in Ontario to still have all of its original administration buildings. The city has developed a strong economic focus towards manufacturing and tourism. It is also a market city for the surrounding agricultural industry.

Woodstock is home to a campus of Fanshawe College. The city plays host to a number of cultural and artistic exhibits, including the Woodstock Museum, a national historic site. Woodstock's summer festivals contribute to its tourism industry, however, its economic activity is centred on the manufacturing centre, the city being home to a large number of auto-manufacturing factories. The city's west end has exceptionally well-preserved Victorianstreetscapes, most notable of these streets is Vansittart Avenue, named after Admiral Henry Vansittart, one of the city's first settlers. Woodstock has a large community centre with a rink capable of accommodating 2,500 spectators for hockey games. The centre also has a large banquet hall and atrium which play host to a large number of social gatherings for the community.

 

 

 

 

 

City of Woodstock
Lighthouse3.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Culture

 

 

 

Festivals

 

 

 

Year-round attractions

 

 

 

Cultural

The Woodstock Art Gallery is located at 449 Dundas Street in the renovated John White Building. The Art Gallery, which originally started in the basement of the Woodstock Public Library, proudly showcases the work of Florence Carlyle.

Theatre Woodstock houses plays year-round in the former market building across from the museum.

 

 

 

 

Historical landmarks

 

 

 

 

The Town Hall 

 

 

 


The Old Town Hall, now the Woodstock Museum, was built in 1853 and modelled architecturally on the Town Hall in Woodstock, England. Designed by Peter Craib, the Town Hall was built by David White, W.P. Dixon and William McKay. It is majestic for its size, with semi-circular windows and a domed cupola. It served as the first market, first fire hall, community hall, and lockup for the town, and was the location of the world-famous Birchall-Benwell murder trial in 1890. Canada's first elected woman mayor, Bernadette Smith, served here from 1952-1965, and the original town council chamber used from 1871-1968 inside has been restored. (Start, Turner, Gardhouse, Bennett, Historic Buildings of Woostock, Ontario)

 

 

 

 

 

The Market Building 

 

 

 


Market Building

The Woodstock Market was built in 1895 by the architect W.B. Ford, using 140,000 feet of lumber, 1 1/4 tons of nails, and 1 1/4 miles of putty on a site previously occupied by wooden market sheds. The low roof and wide canopies are typical of market construction in this period, and interesting features included the twin towers, the drinking fountain at the front door, and the use of stone in the trim. (Start, Turner, Gardhouse, Bennett, Historic Public Buildings of Woodstock, Ontario)

 

 

 

 

 

Woodstock Jail/Gaol 

 

 

 

 


Oxford County Gaol

The old jail was built in 1854 by Hamilton architects Clark and Murray in the Italianate style, with many arches, and an octagonal 2 1/2 storey tower; in this case, the architecture camouflages the function of the institution. Four men and one woman were hanged in the yard, including the infamous Birchall, who posing as "Lord Somerset" duped the entire town and murdered his gentlemen farmer apprentice; this was Victorian Canada's most sensational murder case. The death mask at the entrance is of blind Thomas Cook, hanged in 1862 for murdering his wife; his head rolled into the crowd, and afterwards public hangings were discontinued. The building was recently restored by C.A. Ventin architects of Simcoe, after a decade of lobbying by the "Save the Jail" Committee, with spectacular results, and is now occupied by Oxford County Public Health.(Start, Turner, Gardhouse,Bennett, Historic Public Buildings of Woodstock, Ontario)

Woodstock Public Library 

 

 

 


Woodstock Public Library

The Woodstock Public Library was built in 1909 by Chadwick and Beckett of Toronto on a Carnegie library grant, and it is considered one of the most attractive Carnegie libraries in Ontario. It is in classical revival style, with a graceful entrance, bi-chromatic brickwork, and well-balanced windows; the rotunda inside is beautifully proportioned and dramatic. The library traces its history back to a reading society formed in 1835 with Rev. William Bettridge of Old St. Paul's Church as president, and possesses the only complete set of minute books in the province dating back to 1835. Start, Turner, Gardhouse,Bennett, Historic Public Buildings of Woodstock, Ontario

Oxford County Court House 

 

 

 


Oxford County Court House

Built in 1892 to replace a Regency predecessor of 1839, the Courthouse is a massive building of sandstone in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, with a complex roof line. The first architect was dismissed in 1890 after the walls were found to be faulty, and replaced by Cuthbertson of Woodstock and Fowler of Toronto. Monkey heads are hidden among the capitals of the red marble pillars at the two front entrances, and the monkey at the peak is said to have been carved by the contractor to represent the county council after a dispute over payment.

City Hall/Old Post Office 

 

 

 

 


Woodstock City Hall building

The current City Hall was originally built in 1901 as a post office during the term of Alexander McClenaghan, postmaster for thirty years. Bourgue DesRivieres of Ottawa were the architects and William Hall Burns, a prominent Ottawa sculptor of the Library of Parliament, was commissioned to do the exterior stone carving. Built of warm sandstone, with decorative trim in the gables and a bold corner tower with four clocks, it was converted to municipal offices in 1968. Start, Turner, Gardhouse,Bennett, Historic Public Buildings of Woodstock, Ontario

Old Fire Hall 

 

 

 


Old Perry Street Fire Hall

The Perry Street firehall was built in 1899 at a cost of $7,500 to house the horse-drawn wagons. On Saturday evenings, people would gather to see the horses ruch of their stalls at the sound of the regular 9 o'clock bell, race around the building and back themselves into the shafts ready to be harnessedy by the firemen as they slid down the pole from their upstairs quarters. The firehall features a square tower with detailed brickwork at the top, and a miniature tower to the right. The tower bell used to ring for fires, curfews, and lost children, and is now mounted in Southside Park. (Start, Turner, Gardhouse,Bennett, Historic Public Buildings of Woodstock, Ontario)

Woodstock Armoury 

 

 

 


Old Armoury building

The old Armouries was erected in 1904 by Nagle and Mills of Ingersoll as the home of the Oxford Rifles until 1954. The crenelated towers give it an appearance of heavy fortification, and its architecture reveals function through its exterior form, making interesting use of stone and brick. In 1971, after being declared surplus to Department of National Defense needs, it was transformed into offices for the Oxford County Board of Education, at which times its two wrought-iron spiral staircases (valued at $3000) were sold at public auction for $250 apiece.

A stone cairn made with stones from the beach of Dieppe, where members of the Battalion participated in The Battle of Dieppe in August 1942, accounts the history of the Oxford Rifles.

Woodstock Via Station 

 

 

 

 


Woodstock Via Rail Station

The Grand Trunk Railway owned and operated the Woodstock trains in 1914. They would later go bankrupt and be bought out by CN. Via now resides in the heritage building once occupied by Grand Trunk.

Pattulo's Fountain 

 

 

 

 


Pattulo's Fountain

This fountain sits in front of The Woodstock Museum or Old Town Hall. The fountain was erected in 1916 in honour of Andrew Pattulo, who was head of the Sentinel-Review newspaper in the early twentieth century.

Old Registry Building 

 

 

 

 


Old Registry Office

The Old Registry Office, now housing Oxford County Social Services, was constructed in 1876 to replace an earlier building on the County Square's opposite front corner, and served as a registry office until 1952. Italianate in style like the old jail, it is highlighted by semi-circular masonry over the windows carried out in the arch over the door. Its walls are two feet thick and its roof is said to be filled with sand, making the structure fireproof, and conforming to design plans common to registry offices of that era in Ontario. Start, Turner, Gardhouse,Bennett, Historic Public Buildings of Woodstock, Ontario Plaques: The first Registry office built in Oxford County was located west of here at the corner of Hunter and Light Streets, Woodstock, 1847. This building, the second Registry Office, was constructed in 1876 and remained in use until 1952. Five registrars of deeds served Oxford in their private homes and in these offices. Capt.Thomas Horner 1800-1834, James Ingersoll 1834-1886, George R. Pattullo 1186-1922, Wallace L. McaWhinnie 1922-1950, Ross V. Tuck 1950-1969.

Oxford Hotel 

 

 

 

 


Oxford Hotel

The Oxford Hotel, located across from Market Square and the Town Hall in Woodstock 2was built in 1880 as “The O’Neill House”. It saw guests such as Oscar Wilde and Reginald Birchall, and later had a double purpose – it was the meeting spot for media in Birchall’s trial. In 1895, the hotel saw a new owner, who named it “Oxford” and it would change hands twice more in the twentieth century. The Oxford Hotel also booked some interesting acts. In 1924, the “Human Fly”, who was the all the rage across Canada and the United States, walked across the walls of Oxford’s Hotel. (SR, July 21, 1924) The Hotel sits empty now and is available for purchase. There is a historical plaque on the building, recognizing its contributions to local history.

 

 

 

 

Captain Andrew Drew House 

 

 

 

735 Rathbourne Ave. Built in 1833. Drew divided the eastern section of the town into town lots and formed the nucleus of this community. A plaque for Captain Andrew Drew, R.N., 1792-1878. Co-founder of Woodstock with Andrew Vansittart. He led the loyalist forces, which destroyed the American steamer Caroline during the 1837 Rebellion.

 

 

 

 

Hawkin's Chapel 

 

 

 


North of Park Row,west of Mill St. A movement to build a church for black people resulted in its construction in 1888. The church closed in 1985 when it was sold for a house.

 

 

 

 

Hugh Richardson House 

 

 

 


419 Vincent St. Neo-classical style house built in 1849. The first owner, Hugh Richardson, was the presiding judge at the Louis Riel trial in 1885. Richardson was also the first reeve of Woodstock.

 

 

 

James Hay residence 

 

 


An Italianate style home built in 1878. There is a lamp post from the Vansittart farm on the property. A plaque for James Hay, a well-known industrialist born in Woodstock, who was one of the founders of the Board of Trade in 1878, elected to Town Council in 1880 and Mayor between 1893 and 1894.

 

 

 

 

Perry-Hill Home; "House of the Valley" 

 

 


130 Finkle St. It is the oldest house in Woodstock, built in 1819 by Dr. Perry, the first doctor and teacher in Woodstock.

T.L. "Carbide" Wilson House 

 

 

 

210 Vansittart Ave. The home was built in 1895 by Thomas L. Wilson, inventor of the 1st commercial calcium-carbide process for the manufacturer of acetylene gas. It was the residence of the Sisters of St. Joseph's until 1975.

 

 

 

 

Natural areas and parks 

 

 

 


Burgess Park

Oxford Road 59 N. 28.5 ha (70.5 acres) of naturalized area outside of city limits. Part of the Upper Thame River Conservation Authority.

 

 

 

Harry Roth Park

Huron St. 10 ha (25 acres) for passive recreations and fishing. Part of the Upper Thames River Conversation Authority.

 

 

 

 

Homer Brown

Pavey St. 3 ha (8 acres) of parkland.

 

 

 

 

McIntosh Park

Butler St. This park, with an area of 4.5 ha (11 acres), was named after the former operators of a wood and coal business and later an ice factory. It is located on the former sit of McIntosh Mill Pond.

 

 

 

 

 

Gordon Pittock Conservation Area

725138 Pittock Park Rd. Passive recreation and fishing. Hunting is restricted. Part of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock,_Ontario


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