Future Use Plan and Work Needed

Olde Town Hall – The Plan

Are you curious about what work needs to be done and what the building will be used for when the work is completed? Check out the information below to stay in the know!

Are you someone with the know-how and experience to solve construction obstacles? Are you a creator interested in using the space when it’s complete to promote arts and culture in our area? Reach out… we are so excited to hear your ideas for our community.

This theatre was closed because of fire code violations six years ago – but it’s as beautiful as ever, just waiting to come to life again as a community gathering place. All this time, it’s been earning its keep as the ground floor has been in use and earning rent.

BUILDING – The fire code requires either separations between the floors or a sprinkler system. Also, the building needs some foundation and site drainage work, and masonry work. Inside: structural reinforcements, electrical and mechanical upgrades, rehabilitating tin ceiling, and other code compliance. such as adding height to the balcony railing. Another big goal is to help everyone to use the theatre by adding a lift/elevator when funding can be found.

The most recent estimate on this project is $3 million plus 20 percent contingency, phased over 10 years. Email for your own copy or click here for some excerpts. The scope of the project has potential to be narrowed given exemptions for older buildings. More details will be added as they become available.

Another estimate left out all but needed life & safety work – Allan Avis Part A:

Presented in September 2018


The theatre was closed because of fire code violations four years ago – but it’s as beautiful as ever, just waiting to come to life again as a community gathering place. The arts can bring a community together and give the opportunity for self-expression. From children to seniors – arts are for all ages to learn and grow together.


The Olde Town Hall represents the heritage of Dundalk and it also will welcome all the new families to the area who bring diversity and unique experiences with them. This hub will be a place to learn from each other’s differences, celebrate each uniqueness, and realize our similarities. It is a place to encourage unity, equality, and empathy for all.


In spite of all the individual interests and experiences represented, every community member believes that Downtown Dundalk needs to be revitalized. The Olde Town Hall is the first to welcome you into the downtown. Opened as a thriving arts and culture hub this historic theatre would attract many downtown and support other businesses.


As well as plays and concerts, movies would again be shown at the town hall. There is a municipally-owned theatre called the Norgan in Palmerston, which operates in the black, by showing movies two weeks after they are released to theatres. This is a great model as it is theatre that has seen the least frequent use.The ground floor on the west side would be used for a heritage/museum space and the right would be used for classes and meetings.

See the Operating Budget


The Norgan Theatre is run by volunteers, including students earning their volunteer hours, along with a part-time staff person. The movie licence and programming is done through the owner of the Paramount theatre in Hanover, who has said that he is willing to have the same arrangement with Dundalk in the future.

Music & Dance

There is a strong musical traditon and lots of talent in Dundalk and surrounding areas, and new residents are bringing gifts and experience with them. Youth have expressed interest in Battle of the Bands and Open Mic Nights. There is a circuit of talented performers playing concerts in other small town theatres which Dundalk could join.


Local people are ready to start leading activities including theatre for young people and improv for teens. The Dundalk Little Theatre has been operating in makeshift quarters but the company would dearly love to be back on stage in the Olde Town Hall once again. The DLT has paid for upgrades to the theatre through the years.

Art, Photography, Videography

There would be room for classes and also a small gallery space for displaying local art and photography. It can also be the venue for photo and video shoots as well.

Arts & Crafts

Crafts and skills can be shared among residents in a hobby group.

Here’s more about the Norgan…

The Dundalk Olde Town Hall is already municipally-owned,
and offers meeting/lesson space, potential art/history area along with a
multi-purpose theatre with lights and sound system.

And the mayor’s last point about how the theatre
benefits the downtown is worth noting!!

What community support has done so far:

Persuaded council to get a heritage architect Allan Avis to give an opinion after a Toronto firm estimated $5-6 million to gut the building saving only the facade;

Lobbied to get the second part of the study done by a second consultant who has been successful in saving money on other similar projects – council chose to go with Allan Avis for Part B.

Southgate acted as qualified “donee” to accept a $1,500 grant that Team Town Hall applied for and was awarded by Community Foundation Grey-Bruce to help pay for the study.

In front of a packed council chambers, council chose to use the one-in-10 year Infrastructure Canada grant opportunity for the Town Hall project. Unfortunately, the bid was unsuccessful – although grants are still possible from other sources.

A “Take it To the Town Hall” movie night on Canada Day weekend last year brought out a crowd, who were the first viewers of a promotional video by local photographer Josh Welch.

Since then a community fundraiser raised $1,000 for the cause, and private donors have begun to give as well. Other grant applications are being prepared, and in the meantime, the community will continue to have fun and raise money for a worthy cause.

#TakeIttotheTownHall movie night
Canada Day Long Weekend, 2019

“Without the Olde Town Hall, I don’t think Dundalk has its landmark.
We are outside tonight so that we can be inside someday – and thank you,
for helping us save the Town Hall..”

— Emma Gorman, Student – Team Town Hall


for full community use of DUNDALK OLDE TOWN HALL

NOTE: No commitment is being made to listed rental rates.

Uses based on expressions of interest for the spaces. All numbers are projections.



Junior Musical Productions

4 @ ($150/day for 8 days)
Dundalk Little Theatre

2 @ ($150/day for 8 days)


Catered weddings (whole facility) 4 @ $1000

Events presented by Local Service Clubs & Charities

Based on charge of $1/ticket with minimum price to cover overhead

4 @ ($1 / ticket, 100 attending)


Pop-up photo space for local photographers

3 / month @ $50$150$1,800
Rentals for Classes

16 / week @ $50$800$9,600
Theatre – Summer, March Break Camps

$150 / day, 5 weeks / year

Concession during open hours

10 customers @ $1.50, 3 days / wk.

Donations for Gallery / Heritage Space

Members, Sponsors and Fundraisers


Pre-Show Advertising
Special Events – e.g. birthday parties @ $75



Water / Sewage
Natural Gas
Maintenance / Supplies
Internet / Telephone
Snow Removal
Elevator Inspections
Building Sub-Total

OPERATIONS (based on model of Norgan Theatre)

Salary & Benefits
Volunteer Appreciation
Extra Services
Advertising and Promotion
Booking Service Fees
Film Rentals
Operations Sub-Total

Transfer to Reserves

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