The Welland County Law Association

The Welland County Courthouse

The R. Boak Burns Law Library is located in the Welland County Court House, 102 East Main Street, Welland, Ontario, Canada. The Welland County Court House dates back to 1856. It is one of the most venerable structures in the Niagara Peninsula and has survived one serious fire and public outcry against demolition. Until, 1851 the territory of this County was part of Lincoln County, with representation invested in the Niagara District Council which met at Niagara-on-the-Lake.

In 1851 legislation authorizing the break away by the municipalities forming Welland County was passed and to serve the new county a massive stone building was erected at a cost exceeding $100,000. The first meeting of the County Council took place in the new structure on Monday, August 18, 1856.

The Court House was designed by Kivas Tully, one of the most renowned architects of his day and was erected by the contracting firm of Hellems and Bald. The building's neo-classical style is constructed of Queenston limestone and is three stories tall. Ionic pillars, symmetrical flanked stairways and a pediment creates a majestic entrance into the building. As well, two small cupolas and one large adorn the roof.

On June 11, 1913, a fire was discovered in the huge central dome of the structure that gutted everything except the first floor and the subsequent restorations were not completed until the end of 1914.

In the 1950's the acute need for additional space caused a controversy over whether a completely new structure should be built or an addition be added to the original building. Many influential voices were raised in support of preserving the old building with its imposing pillars and classic design. In December of 1997, the courthouse underwent massive and extensive renovations. Eighteen months and $8 million dollars later, services were re-located back to the building in July of 1999. All court levels, both Superior and the Ontario Court of Justice, as well as the office of the Crown Attorney are now located at the courthouse.

The staff and all those who were involved in breathing new life into this beautiful old building agree, that the addition of four new courtrooms and the consolidation of court services have greatly benefited the administration of local justice of the City of Welland and the surrounding municipalities.