On September 20, 2018, OHS Executive Director Rob Leverty attended a special reception in Dufferin County to celebrate the recent incorporation of Hockley Historic Community Hall & Church (HHCH&C). A group of concerned citizens first contacted the OHS in January, 2017. After many consultations with Executive Director Rob Leverty, the OHS was pleased to incorporate the HHCH&C on April 5, 2018.
Joining the OHS and the HHCH&C was the new Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, the Honourable Sylvia Jones. Minister Jones tweeted shortly after the event: “Congratulations to the #volunteers of the Hockley Historic Community Hall & Church who celebrated their affiliation with the Ontario Historical Society. @OntarioHistory http://www.hockleyvillage.com.” Minister Jones presented a certificate to Tom Darlow, President of the Hockley Historic Community Hall & Church, recognizing their incorporation and the significant achievements made by this group towards preserving their local history.
The HHCH&C recently became stewards of two historic buildings in Dufferin County: the Community Hall and a historic church. The group is committed to ensuring that these buildings are preserved and protected for future generations. The church and Community Hall are used for weddings, showers, workshops, meetings, classes, and more; making them vital assets to the local community. The Hall was completely renovated and restored in 2003 and is able to accommodate up to 100 people. The church, which features original pews, woodwork, windows, and floors, can accommodate 100 people (seated) and has been beautifully maintained.
In addition to being valuable community gathering spaces, these two buildings represent important connections to the region’s local history. The Community Hall was constructed in 1894 by the Hockley Loyal Orange and was used as an Orange Lodge (a Protestant fraternal order) until 1972. The space was then utilized and operated by the Hockley & District Senior Citizens Club until 2018, and has served as a general community gathering space for local residents since the mid 1990s.
The church, founded as a Primitive Methodist Church in 1869, was originally built on Airport Road, north of Hockley Road. After closing in 1884, the church remained out of use for a few years until it was acquired by the Hockley Methodists and moved to a new location in the winter of 1887. This process required cutting the building into four sections and transporting each piece individually by horse-drawn snow sleds. The church held regular Sunday services until 2015.
In order to take ownership of the buildings, the HHCH&C had to incorporate through affiliation with the Ontario Historical Society and become a not-for-profit corporation. Thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, these historic community assets will continue to serve the public interest for years to come. For more information or to make a donation, please visit their website at www.hockleyvillage.com.