St. Marys Opera House | 1987 | St. Marys, Ontario

 

The original interior structure nearing collapse, was entirely removed, retaining only the four none reinforced two feet thick exterior stone walls. A new four storey non combustible building system was erected within these to provide eighteen residences and four street level commercial spaces. An important building of historical significance was economically preserved and remains as one of the City’s fine examples of architecture made from vernacular stone.

From the commemorative plaque "The Opera House was constructed 1879-1880 for the St Marys Lodge of the Independent Order of Oddfellows. It was designed by Silas Weekes, a local architect and member of the lodge.   James Elliott, the master mason, supplied stone from his local quarry and lime from his kiln.   Originally the block housed three stores, a concert hall built for an audience of a thousand and the Oddfellows temple.   In the hall many travelling troupes performed and local cultural and political events were held.   Sir John A. McDonald spoke on his last campaign in 1891.   The entire block was converted to a flour mill in 1919, and as such functioned for fifty years.   In 1987 it was restored by the St Marys Lions Club and now contains stores and apartments.   It is an example of the Gothic Revival design and with the two flanking structures the Armories and the W.V Hutton Block forms one of the finest surviving stone rows in the country."