This can be a way of learning more about the town’s development, and some of its citizens, along with a number of historical buildings. The CAPITOL THEATRE – At a time when money was scarce during the Great Depression, The Capitol Theatre was one of the first buildings to use steel girders. It was one of Canada’s first movie houses for. “talking pictures”. Opening night in 1930 featured “Queen High” starring Ginger Rogers in her first musical. Today, the Capitol is a National Heritage Site, the last fully restored “atmospheric” theatre in Canada, the only one of its kind in Ontario. It resembles a medieval castle courtyard with a twilight sky and forest mural. It closed in 1987 and local citizens became responsible for restoring the theater in the 1990’s to its former glory. It’s now renowned for live productions and technical innovation, drawing tourists to town. The Capitol Theatre, 14 Queen Street, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. THE DOWNTOWN CORE – Port Hope experienced tremendous economic growth in the 1850’s by exporting lumber, whisky and grain to the United States and Europe. Its’ wealth drove development of large blocks of downtown land. Although the storefronts are different, the upper rooms are in uniform blocks. Many have been subdivided. Fires, although tragic, have led to the restoration of original store fronts not long ago. This worked in co-operation with the ACO (Architectural Conservancy of Ontario). Thus Port Hope’s downtown continues as an example of heritage restoration of original store fronts not long ago. This worked in co-operation with the ACO (Architectural Conservancy of Ontario). Thus Port Hope’s downtown continues as an example of heritage.
TOWN HALL – 56 QUEEN STREET – Port Hope was incorporated as a town in 1834 by an act of Parliament which provided for the establishment of police and public markets. The Town Hall cornerstone was laid September 9th, 1851, and the building was completed two years later in 1853 at a cost of about $30,000 dollars. It housed council chambers, a courthouse on the upper floor, and a market square and civic centre on the ground floor. The building was completely gutted by fire in 1893 and Toronto architect Samuel George Curry, a native of Port Hope, was hired to oversee the rebuild. It was completed a year later with a higher clock tower and steeper roof. The covered market was removed. The Saturday morning farmer’s market now sets up behind Town Hall.
THE GANARASKA FOREST – WINTER AND SUMMER – The Story of Port Hope – “100,000 years ago, retreating glaciers formed the landscape of Port Hope. The first inhabitants called this vast area”the meeting place”, referring to the meeting of the River and the Lake. Later, the Hurons named the river Ganaraske, or spawning ground. Interactions between the first Europeans, mainly French fur traders in the 1680’s were sometimes cordial and sometimes hostile. The first treaties gave the First Nations exclusive rights to the North Shore of Lake Ontario, leaving most of the province untouched until after the American Revolution. Fearing the newly formed United States might try to expand northward, the British hurriedly passed the famous Gun Treaty which allowed for settlement on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The British colonization system of the time granted huge land tracks to businessmen, who in turn set up local governments loyal to the Crown. In 1792 they petitioned Governor Simcoe of the First Upper Canada Council for land grants to establish the 5th township of Hope. A year later, they brought 40 families to settle the area. Development here slowed as TORONTO became an industrial centre, the Prairie Bread Basket opened to the West. Our town continued to slowly mature, and the forests were depleted of their timber. Communities courted heavy industries. The Port Hope you see today – is a place where old buildings live contemporary lives. But so much has happened with this City.
THE MEMORIAL PARK BANDSHELL – This historic structure was built in memory of all our armed forces who fought since Confederation in 1867. It was constructed with plans purchased from the Canadian Band Masters’ Association that provided “the most up-to-date scientific principles of sound technology” which makes it a memorable stage for summer concerts, theatre, and and festivals. from the Canadian Band Masters’ Association.