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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Letter: Mayor can make better use of historic Court House
The new lord mayor should make more use of the old Court House, letter writer Elizabeth Masson says. Supplied

Dear editor:

I would like to make some corrections to and a comment on your Oct. 27 article,  “Quirky NOTL history on display as Doors Open Niagara invites people to visit for free.”

While Willowbank is a heritage conservation school, it is formally known as the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts, whose patron is the former Prince of Wales, now King Charles III.

The home did not belong to Anna and Alex Hamilton but to Hannah and Alexander Hamilton.

I have read the correspondence of Hannah Jarvis Hamilton in the University of Guelph archives and that of Alexander in Archives Canada and not once did she refer to her husband as Alex, nor did he ever sign any correspondence as Alex.

It is too bad your reporter did not visit the Court House on Queen Street, which had 875 visitors on Oct. 21.

I spent more than three hours there talking with people from Germany, Britain, Ireland, Australia and China as well as Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Seattle, Portland and numerous cities in Ontario.

A minority visited because they knew it was a Doors Open Niagara site. Most walked up the steps because they wanted to view the interior of a stately building.

I spoke with outgoing Coun. Clare Cameron, who visited the Court House with her two children, and suggested that the first floor of the building be open more frequently than once every few years.

The lord mayor’s office, the magnificent council chambers with photographs of people who have been welcomed to the Court House, (including Queen Elizabeth II in 1973, the Queen Mother in 1981 and all the governors general of Canada in the past 20 years), the hallway lined with historic photographs provided by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum, as well as the Gaol with its 1981 time capsule, should be accessible on a regular basis.

I mentioned to Ms. Cameron that the lord mayor ought to spend one afternoon a week in their Court House office welcoming residents who would like to discuss town issues that concern them.

She agreed that would be far better than the current situation at the municipal offices in Virgil where people have to walk through four sets of doors before they can speak directly to the lord mayor.

I hope the 2022-26 lord mayor and town councillors will consider this idea.

 Elizabeth Masson
NOTL