From dance hall to municipal offices, to museum, to performing arts venue:
the Marsh Street Centre has served the community of Clarksburg since 1927.
95 Years and Counting
The Marsh Street Community Centre was originally constructed in 1927 as the Clarksburg Hall, replacing the Queen's Hotel which had burned down three years earlier.
It had many uses over the next 70 years in addition to being the community hall where many people still remember going to dances and listing to local bands. At one time, it was turned into the Collingwood Township municipal offices and library and later became a military museum which closed in the mid-90's.
In 1997, when The Town of the Blue Mountains (the local municipality) no longer used the building, a coalition of arts groups and interested citizens purchased the property with the idea of providing a home for the local theatre troupe and a meeting place for the entire community.
They set up a formal board of directors, developed letters' patent, obtained a charitable number as a non-profit organization and opened the building to one and all. Before a year was out, it became obvious that upgrades were needed to make the building more usable and the board set about raising $500,000 dollars to renovate. In 2002, they hired an architect and a builder and set about improving the structure over a two year plus period.
In 2010, the kitchen became the focus of renovations and was completely remodelled and updated with much of the heavy-duty work being done by volunteers. A completely new water filtration system was added. In 2013, with the help of a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the kitchen was even further upgraded with the addition of a professional quality oven with a gas range, fire suppression hood and exhaust system. Further upgrades were made from 2013 which included the installation of an elevator and a fully renovated women’s washroom (2018) among many other projects.
Building maintenance, improvements and repairs continue through the dedicated efforts of a volunteer maintenance committee. The Marsh Street Centre continues to hold its own events throughout the year as fundraisers to help with the cost of operations and often specifically for capital improvements.
Covid wrought a new chapter in the history of the Marsh, seeing us close the doors for over a year; as unprecedented here as anywhere else. The Board kept working hard to ensure the future of the Centre while striving to stay engaged with our community. In fall 2021 we were able to again host concerts, events and youth programs, to the joy of many. We continue to navigate the changing situation with the pandemic and plan our future.
The Marsh Street Centre is truly a unique facility. It is a rare example of a community centre owned and operated by members and volunteers. The Marsh Street Centre continues to inspire local residents and visitors alike with a wide array of programming. It provides a home to many service organizations, entrepreneurs, and artists.
2022 marks 95 years of this building serving our local community.