Administration of Justice and Police Building

30 St. Catherine Street, St. Thomas, ON.

Known since 2003 as the Colin McGregor Justice Building, it was designed as the City of St. Thomas Administration of Justice and Police Building on the site of the former St. Thomas gas plant (1877 to 1935).  The Justice Building, which opened in 1971, is associated with the post-war period of economic growth in the city, and downtown renewal in the 1970s.

The design was a departure from the glass and steel architecture of the 1950s and 1960s.  The stone-clad, exterior walls with their punched windows communicate a sense of solidity, permanence, and security.  These aspects, along with concrete elements such as the bold entablature and expressive porticos, are associated with New Formalism within the Modern Movement.

The building exhibits good quality materials and craftsmanship, and has generally retained its integrity.  The Justice Building is a significant work of G. Duncan Black, a consulting engineer, who was based in St. Thomas.

The Justice Building originally housed the police department and, on the upper floor, the courtroom with its support spaces.  The courts eventually moved out of the building, and the police department expanded to occupy the building in its entirety.

In 2003, the building was renamed in honour of Constable Colin Clair McGregor.  McGregor died on duty in 1934 at the age of 28, after having “valiantly saved the life of Sergeant Sam McKeown.”

Today, within the city centre, the Justice Building contributes to an urban civic precinct comprised of St. Thomas City Hall National Historic Site of Canada (Neil Darrach, 1899), the former Carnegie Library (Neil Darrach, 1904), and the Public Library (Brook Carruthers Shaw, 1974). The Justice Building’s corner setting, the setback from the two streets, as well as the lawns and gardens, enhance its civic presence.

The St. Thomas Police Service is vacating the building in 2017.

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