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 when governments stopped funding small museums.
In 1997, when 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 a wheelchair elevator and a fully renovated women’s washroom (2018) among many other projects.
Although we are proud to say that we have just replaced our main roof and we are in the process of re-building the secondary roof at the back, the significant age of the original building leaves us with many additional construction projects and upgrades which include: rebuilding the stage ceiling, repairing the façade of the building and installing new signage; soundproofing the practice rooms and upgrading the sound and lighting systems for the centre. Even though we have many fundraising events/activities to support these efforts, we also rely heavily private donations and sponsorships to fill the gaps.
Maintenance - such as painting and minor repairs - continues through the 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.
The Marsh Street Centre is truly a unique facility. It is one of only two centres in Ontario that are owned by members and operated almost completely by volunteers (we have only 2 part-time staff members). The Marsh Street Centre continues to inspire and attract members, volunteers, donors and supporters throughout the community.
Our VISION is to continue to be the cultural heart of the community – and we do so through our values of responsivity to community needs, inclusivity of all, transparency in our work and actions and by providing a home for many of our local cultural activities and groups. As our website shows, we are truly a going concern for our community!