10th Anniversary of Citizens Hall Celebrated on Oct. 21, 2023
by Liz Bailey, Heritage Acton Volunteer
First, a little history: The restoration of the Acton Town Hall Centre wasn’t complete until it was made accessible - a huge undertaking for Heritage Acton to consider and complete. Fundraising for such a big project was daunting but of course we rose to the challenge. Again the citizens of Acton and many donors came through and a building for an elevator became a reality. One of the fundraising projects was the “buy a brick” campaign. The east wall housing the elevator is covered with plaques of the names of folk who donated at least $100 to remember a loved one or for many other various reasons. Visitors to the hall take a lot of time and pleasure reading the names and finding the ones they know or knew.
The building housing the elevator turned ten years old this year - how time has flown! A celebration to acknowledge this event was certainly called for so on October 21 Heritage Acton held a night of dining and entertainment to mark the occasion. Chef Dale McCarthy, owner of the Everton Culinary School, was the obvious choice to cater and he did himself proud by treating us to a sumptuous 3 course roast beef buffet with all of the trimmings. Then, with our hunger fully sated, we sat back to enjoy a return visit from Adi Braun and her trio. They presented a medley of well known songs from the noir movie genre and featured many Cole Porter tunes. What a treat! A standing ovation resulted in another number to complete the evening.
Many thanks to those supporters who came out to celebrate with us - it was a fabulous evening. Fundraising will always be ongoing to keep our beautiful hall well maintained - keep an eye out for further events in the future.
November Historical Tidbit - The Beardmore Tannery
Info & Photo courtesy of Vintage Acton/Dills Collection
Acton’s tanning industry started in 1842 when Abraham Nelles opened a small tannery. After a fire in 1852, a new tannery was built by a Mr. McKay. Comprising one million square feet, Acton's tannery at one point was home to the largest tannery in all of the British Empire.
In 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway ran a line through the area and opened a train station in Acton, causing industry to grow rapidly. With such growth, George L. Beardmore came to Acton and purchased the tannery in 1865. The tannery was sold to Canada Packers in December 1944.
After more than 140 years of producing leather in Acton, Canada Packers (Maple Leaf) - the owner of the Tannery by that time - made the decision to cease operations on September 12th, 1986. Following the closure, parts of the facility were rented out but were subsequently left vacant; becoming vulnerable to destruction.
The unoccupied tannery, located at the foot of John Street, was destroyed by fire in May 1998 and the land was eventually cleared. The only remaining building left of the tannery is the Hide House which was built in 1899 and sold as surplus in 1939, becoming a retail store in 1980.