Court House Heritage Site Plaque
The North Bay courtroom and lock-up was erected in 1888. Thomas Murray, the MLA for Renfrew North, was instrumental to its development. The courthouse was a two-story brick building classically ordered with segmented arched windows on the main floor, and larger semi-circular windows on the upper floor. The building was entered through a central tower on the front façade, which was designated by a masonry arched entrance.
The selection of North Bay as Nipissing’s district town in 1895 was the most significant event in the town’s history. Following that election, the courtroom became the Nipissing Court House and the lock-up became the Nipissing District Jail. Nipissing was a vast and unsettled area, extending for over 200 miles as far as Algoma Mills and northward to the shores of James Bay. This extensive region was eventually split to form the districts of Sudbury, Timiskaming, and Cochrane.
The courtroom itself proved more valuable than just for legal matters. In 1891, the inaugural town council meeting took place in the courtroom. Five years later, in 1896, extra jail cells and a jailor’s accommodation were added. As time went on and the Court House became incapable of keeping up with the growing district, a new Court House was constructed in 1989.