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Historic former Vespra Township Hall still serving the community

March 2021

The Midhurst Community Centre building on Doran Road, in the small southern Ontario village of Midhurst is a fairly simple, small, non-descript building.

This historic building serves as a meeting and special events facility for the small community in Springwater Township of around 3, 000 people, as it has since it was formally opened on 9 December 1927.

The primary reason the building was built, was the Town Hall for what was then Vespra Township.

The Town Hall was built using timbers from the original Vespra Township Hall, built in 1854. The solid concrete block building with a cottage roof and uniquely styled buttresses on the outside walls, features an auditorium on the upper floor for musical and theatrical performances, social events such as weddings and parties, community meetings and of course, council meetings when it served as the seat of government.

It also hosted church services while each of the three Midhurst churches (Presbyterian/United, Anglican, Baptist) were under construction.

The basement features a kitchen for preparing meals, but was also features a concrete and steel storage vault that housed the Township’s records and funds.

The building ceased being used by the Township council in 1967, when a new Town Hall was built a mile and a half to the west, on Highway 26.

Vespra Township held onto the building until it was deemed surplus to their needs in 1978. It was then sold to Midhurst for their use as a community centre.

This modern building would remain in use by the township until it was formally dissolved in 1994, when Vespra Township merged with Flos Township, the Village of Elmvale and a portion of the former Medonte Township, to form Springwater Township.

The former Town Hall now houses a medical clinic, the Midhurst Health Centre.

Sources: http://www.friendsofmidhurst.ca/about-midhurst/community-centre, Midhurst Community Centre – History (springwater.ca), ‘Footsteps’ echoing from the past: Celebrating Springwater Township’s rich history (simcoe.com), springwaternews_march4.pdf, Midhurst Health Centre – HealthLocal (health-local.com), A history of Vespra Township: Pioneers And Settlements, Communities, Historic Places, People And Events, by Allan Anderson and Betty Tomlinson Anderson.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/historic-former-vespra-township-hall-still-serving-the-community/

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