East Durham County Land Registry Office

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

East Durham County Land Registry Office

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Dates of existence



The Land Registry Office in Port Hope was almost always located on Mill Street near Walton Street. Early on, it moved around between the houses of the registrar (Thos. Ward, and later Geo. C. Ward), to the Customs House. All this moving stopped in 1871 when a permanent home for the land records of Port Hope and Hope Township was built.
Kivas Tully, of Victoria Hall fame, was appointed to the Ontario Public Works Department as Chief Architect in 1868. In this new post, he was responsible for designing a new type of land registry building; one which could be reproduced multiple times throughout the province, and altered to each municipality’s specifications. The result was a small, deceptively complicated building, purpose-built to hold records.
In 1871, construction began on the East Durham Land Registry Office, to be located at 17 Mill Street North. The building consisted of three semi-cylindrical “vaults” or rooms, inside of a rectangular building. It contained two-foot thick interior walls, iron shutters, and a reinforced foundation; all assisting to make the building sturdy and fire proof.
For over 100 years the building stood as-is, with minor additions such as electricity, and running water; serving as the land registry office for East Durham County, and then as a branch of the United Counties of Northumberland and Durham land registry system.
In 1974, the United Counties disbanded and reformed as two separate entities: the Regional Municipality of Durham and Northumberland County. As part of the newly formed County, the role of the aging Land Registry Office system began to come into question.
Discussions of amalgamating the land registry offices and closing the Port Hope branch were on-going throughout the 1980s, until it finally closed its doors in 1992. The building subsequently became the Ganaraska Region Archives (now Port Hope Archives), 1994-Present.


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