Manitoba Historical Society
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Dauphin Town Hall / Vernon Watson Arts Centre (104 First Street NW, Dauphin)

The 1904-1905 Dauphin Town Hall, a solid brick structure with a dominant square tower, is centrally located on a corner lot. The imposing building, Romanesque Revival-style, was designed by local architect Stuart Geekie. It is a good illustration of the multi-use public facilities erected in rural Manitoba in the early twentieth century. In addition to a second-floor auditorium, the large adaptable facility housed assorted government services for more than five decades, including municipal offices, courthouse, jail, fire hall and, in later years, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment. In 1956, municipal offices were moved to the post office building nearby.

The structure continues to contribute to the city’s development as an arts and recreation centre. The building, a provincially-designated historic site, was named in June 1985 in honour of Dauphin dentist and musician Vernon L. Watson. A plaque on the exterior of the building was unveiled in 1996 by the Manitoba Heritage Council.

Postcard view of Dauphin Town Hall

Postcard view of Dauphin Town Hall (no date)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2019-0087

Vernon Watson Arts Centre, the former Dauphin Town Hall

Vernon Watson Arts Centre, the former Dauphin Town Hall (May 2012)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Vernon Watson Arts Centre, the former Dauphin Town Hall

Vernon Watson Arts Centre, the former Dauphin Town Hall (February 2020)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N51.15074, W100.05168
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Dauphin Post Office and Town Hall (21 Second Avenue NW, Dauphin)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Provincially Designated Historic Sites


Dauphin Town Hall (Vernon Watson Arts Centre), Manitoba Historic Resources Branch.

Manitoba Heritage Council Minutes, 25 May 1988.

We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Tim Worth and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 October 2022

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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