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  • Provincially designated as a Heritage Building in 1977

  • Built as the city’s farmers’ market in 1889


  • Almost 25 years of activity including ArtSpace and Arbor Theatre

  • Market Hall had been managing the space for 10 years at time of renovation



  • Physical accessibility –e.g. elevator for patrons and performers

  • Ageing theatrical components e.g. lights and sound

  • Patron comfort and safety – e.g. new seats, a balcony, beautiful spacious lobby

  • Improved dressing rooms and backstage for artists

  • Improved our visibility from the street with signage and windows.

  • Theatre entrance moved back to Charlotte Street. Part of the Charlotte Street facelift, which in turn was part of a larger downtown improvement strategy by the City


  • MH was showing significant wear and tear

  • Elevator was inadequate and we were entirely housed on the 2nd floor

  • Backstage was inadequate for performers – especially for professional touring artists. We couldn’t attract these artists with the facilities we had i.e. no heat or showers, no green room backstage

  • Peterborough is growing and demand is increasing – feasibility study showed that we are unique in the region and that there was sufficient community need and support for a comprehensive renovation.


  • The theatre was worn out – we had recently had to do $30,000 in emergency electrical work for current safety standards.  We were vulnerable to these unexpected expenses.

  • Renovations addressed issues such as adding insulation and replacing inefficient heating and cooling systems

  • Several government funding programs were available


  • May 2004 – Ken Doherty of the City of Peterborough facilitated a community consultation to discuss user needs, future directions, concerns and strengths.  We heard  that the Hall is much loved but there were many calls to improve physical accessibility, theatre condition, and for the Hall to program a diversity of artistic activity

  • May 2005 – Market Hall board and staff undertook another round of user input meetings, leading to a long range strategic plan for the organization which included major facility upgrades.

  • August 2006 – funded in part by the City of Peterborough, Department of Canadian Heritage’s Cultural Spaces program and Community Futures Development Corporation, Market Hall commissioned a feasibility study by Janis Barlow & Associates, a leading theatre consultant, to investigate the future of the Market Hall.  Her team included one of North America’s leading theatre designers, Killis Almond, who has served as a professional consultant or architect on over 40 separate theatre projects. Mr. Almond is a frequent lecturer and has served as a Main Street resource team member for eleven cities. The comprehensive study included in-depth analysis of the condition of the building, the inventory of regional and local cultural facilities, population size and demographics, the financial stability of the organization as well as community commitment and use of the Hall.  Barlow’s report was optimistic about Market Hall’s potential and concluded that “there is sufficient enthusiasm and affection for Market Hall as an historic site and performing arts/special events space to move forward with the planning of a capital campaign to upgrade its infrastructure.”

  • April 2007 – The board of directors voted to accept the recommendations and proceed with plans to renovate, refurbish and upgrade the interior of Market Hall to ensure the long term viability of operating Market Hall as an arts centre.  The board formally endorsed an application to Cultural Spaces Canada for the capital project.

  • September 2007 - The Department of Canadian Heritage, through its Cultural Spaces program, announced a commitment of up to $187,000 in matching funds for the design and planning phase of the capital improvement project

  • October 2007 – the architecture team of Ken Trevelyan, OAA and Bill Lett Jr.,
    B.  Arch, OAA, MRAIC, LEED AP, was commissioned to undertake an architectural master plan to develop a design concept and cost estimates.  A public meeting established a vision for the rehabilitated theatre and identified key design criteria.

  • April 2008 – a preliminary schematic design has been created, based on the design vision and user feedback.  The main elements that the new design addresses are physical accessibility into and within the building, theatre functionality, patron comfort, flexibility for a variety of performance types and operating efficiency.

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