old provincial courthouse

There’s a buzz of activity at Frederick and Weber, in what originally was built as the Waterloo County Courthouse, as it is converted into office space for the Region of Waterloo.

But every time I walk past the old provincial courthouse on Frederick at Ellen St., I wonder what is next for that property.

What will happen to the old provincial courthouse?

KItchener's Civic District
Image via Kitchener Public Library

I had heard that the plan for the Civic District called for that property to used for condos and so I did some research.

The Civic District Vision and Master Plan document (PDF) doesn’t specify any possible use for the property. It does though identify for development what is currently a small parking lot between the courthouse and the Centre in the Square. [The pink building below]

Civic District Long Term Plan

It says on page 9 for that property to “Consider long term private-sector partnership for supportive uses (such as hotel, residential, etc.).”  So maybe the courthouse could be a part of whatever project may make use of that site. Maybe.

I understand that the province is going through a decommissioning and disposition process.

So what’s next for the big, strong building that was custom built as a courthouse?

Being big and strong means it’s probably very expensive to remove. So I don’t expect the building to disappear or be replaced anytime soon.

And being a big, strong courthouse provides some difficult challenges to reuse the building. But difficult to reuse isn’t impossible and I don’t like the idea of the building sitting empty indefinitely. I’d like to see it contribute to the life of the neighbourhood.

What are your ideas for the old provincial courthouse?

So this information has got me thinking about how this building could be reused as part of a cluster of government buildings that includes the Kitchener Public Library, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, the Registry Theatre and the Centre in the Square.

And I’m hoping that I’ve got the wheels in your head turning!

So let’s think together and crowdsource possible adaptive reuse of this building! Please share your ideas below.

6 thoughts on “What will happen to the old provincial courthouse?

  1. I’m not sure of the exact square footage of the courthouse and the existing Kitchener police station but as a big strong building could it be utilized for this purpose? Do the cops need more room and security and would the old courthouse be suitable? Since the police station is very old and probably cramped it could be removed to make better use of that site.

  2. Great question. I took a day to think about what we need in that area. One thing I hear constantly from people who attend events at the Centre in the Square is the lack of restaurants nearby. I know partrons can walk downtown or go to old standbys like the Three Cretins or Tim Hortons. But something right near the KPL and the Centre would be wonderful.

    1. A very interesting idea Andy! I agree more restaurants could be used close to the Centre in the Square. I walked by yesterday and realized the old courthouse must have a great patio that I never realized it had. Would work perfectly with your idea IF it could be done in a way considerate of the neighbours across Ellen Street.

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