The Centennial Building has been the heart of a booming Great Lakes town since the 1800s. This grand structure is one of my favourite gems in downtown Whitby, and where my Mom and Stepdad got married in October, 2016.
The building was constructed between 1853-1854 as the Ontario County Court House, which served as the region’s judicial and administrative nucleus. Its primary function was to hold Council meetings and trial courts, with a now-demolished jail sitting adjacent to it. As 19th century Whitby began to flourish, due to its harbour and ideal location, the Court House oversaw civil cohesion amidst these rapid changes. It served as the Ontario County Court House until 1964, and eventually transformed into a Community Centre in 1967. The place finally became what it’s known today as the Whitby Centennial Building.
The Centennial Building is presently home to the Whitby Courthouse Theatre, a non-profit community theatre group, as well as an archival collection. It was formally designated as a site of significant architectural and historical value by the Town of Whitby under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1985. Unsurprisingly, the Centennial Building is one of the most haunted places of Durham Region, with visitors and staff often reporting apparition sightings on the theatre’s balcony. Nevertheless, the Centennial Building continues to both spook and intrigue every theatre-goer or wedding guest every day with its ghostly and historic character.
To learn more about the Centennial Building and Whitby’s history, see the links below:
- www.whitby.ca/en/townhall/Heritage-and History.asp