Location: Ancaster, ON
Client: City of Hamilton
Year of Completion: 2022
Architect of Record: Invizij Architects
The Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre is located in the heart of the Ancaster Heritage Village. Formed in 1793, the Village of Ancaster is the third oldest community in Ontario. When you drive through Ancaster today one can actually see between the heritage buildings which is extremely rare for a Canadian main street. This striking three-dimensional streetscape has been, and continues to be, preserved.
The Ancaster Memorial School, built in the mid-1940s, occupies a special place in the hearts of many local residents. While the idea of turning the redundant old school site into an arts and cultural centre enjoyed universal support, there was a heated debate about whether to renovate or demolish and build anew.
The challenges of renovation include a highly irregular site boundary with a 3-metre drop in grade from front to back of the existing building and the many interior levels of an old school. Invizij’s solution manages to preserve most of the existing building, including the iconic stone portal, while adding a modern addition to the south and west side. Four levels of the facility can be reached by one elevator. The new and renovated facility will house a 470-seat Peller Hall, a 150-seat multi-purpose studio, visual arts classrooms, and music and dance studios.
The vision for the Ancaster Village is to create a complete, liveable, walkable community sympathetic to its heritage. There is a detailed action plan for these goals, and the Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre stands at the forefront of each one.
This state-of-the-art, vibrant arts centre is home to many of Ancaster’s successful and popular community arts groups as well as provide a venue for the community to enjoy many professional performers and artists. Some of the tenants of the Ancater Memorial Arts Centre include Theatre Ancaster, Sinfonia Ancaster, Dundas Valley School of Arts, AMAC studio arts, The Blues Studio sessions, Avalon Music Academy, Ancaster Farmers Market, Hamilton Film Festival, Hamilton Allstart Jazz, the Brott Music Festival.