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The East London Town Hall

The East London Town Hall
Plaque no. 13
Date of plaque unveiling
12 October 1972
Date of Rededication
10 September 1999
This plaque was rededicated on September 10, 1999 in honour of the 125th anniversary of the incorporation of East London as a village.
Speakers
Gordon Jeffery (1972), Mike Baker (1999)
Location
795 Dundas Street, London, Ontario (present site of the Aeolian Hall)
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History

The beginnings of London East can be traced to 1856 when Murray Anderson built a foundry at the city limits of London, which stimulated the development of a new industrial community.

After the discovery of oil in Lambton County in 1858, oil refineries were constructed east of Adelaide Street.

London East was incorporated as a village in 1874, and as a town in 1883. $40,000 was spent on waterworks, and construction began on a town hall.

Designed by architect George F. Durand, the building’s distinctive features include its central tower, mansard roof, and Second Empire Italianate windows. Since the town hall cost twice the original $7,000 estimate to build, London East could not afford to complete its waterworks.

In 1884, the Great Western Railway carshops were destroyed by fire, and the railway refused to rebuild until fire protection was guaranteed. Fearing the loss of industry and facing fiscal disaster, London East citizens, led by Mayor Charles Lilley, voted to amalgamate with London, thus making the new town hall redundant.

Over the years the building has served as a cigar factory, fire hall, Odd Fellows lodge, and school. Its auditorium has seen many musical performances. Around 1900 outdoor evening concerts and plays were held on stages and in tents set up behind the building. Travelling herb doctors promoting panaceas sponsored these events.

The first branch library of the London Public Library was located in this building from 1915 to 1926.

In 1969 the building was refurbished as the new site of Aeolian Hall. Today it is home to the Canadian National Conservatory of Music, and is used for arts-related events.