Victoria Jubilee Hall seeks support from Brockton council

BROCKTON – A delegation of Bob McCulloch and Robin Zettel addressed council at the Jan. 10 meeting with a presentation on Victoria Jubilee Hall that included a brief history, an update on projects completed in the past year, and a request for continued financial support.

VJH has been referred to as an architectural jewel, and the visual and cultural anchor of Walkerton. The 125-year-old structure was saved from the wrecker’s ball in 1997 by a group of dedicated volunteers and sold to the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario for $1.

Last year, following two years of COVID shut-down, the VJH committee asked for and received $25,000 from the municipality. This year’s “ask” is for the same amount.

Accomplishments in the hall’s 125th anniversary year include exit steps at the north and south basement windows, steam cleaning of the hall seats, reopening the theatre to the County Towne Players, refurbishing the hall staircase top to bottom, installation of rubber treads top to bottom, installation of new spring banners, resumption of shows – the highlight being Wingfield, installation of a credit/debit system for tickets, a partnership with Bruce County Museum that saw the loan of the detailed model of the hall for the anniversary display at the museum, the anniversary celebration, work on the gardens, and volunteer service awards (winners – Maryanne Buehlow, Ruth Fischer, Doug Lonsdale, Winnie Schmidt, Pauline Seigfried and Joanne Sutton).

The biggest project of 2022 was removal and replacement of the east porch steps.

The 12-foot by 6-foot north office window was also replaced.

Projects that are underway include the rewiring and servicing of the opera hall chandelier, and the sound and light system renovation – a major project that necessitates the “ask” of $25,000.

Zettel noted the committee will “leverage” that money to secure grants and donations, effectively increasing its value substantially.

One source of income has been the Four County Labour Marketing Board. That tenant will be moving out.

Coun. Kym Hutcheon suggested that the municipality might rent the space.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times