Built between 1901 and 1902 and designed by A.H. Boucher, the Town Hall and Liverpool Opera House opened in 1903. Even in the early 1900s, a town hall with an opera house attached to it seemed a bit odd.
In the front of the building, taxes were paid and council meetings were held. In back, hundreds would take in local and travelling shows and in 1917 they would see some of the first silent films in the renamed Astor Theatre.
In 1996, the Town of Liverpool and Queens County amalgamated, becoming the Region of Queens Municipality and the town hall was moved to a new building.
Photographer Sherman Hines leased the former town hall for a museum until he moved his collection to another building in 2014. That same year, the municipality renovated, reconfiguring the building to open up the walls that once separated the two spaces.
Visitors are now welcomed to the theatre through the Town Hall Arts and Cultural Centre. They can sip wine before shows, buy tickets at the new box office, and wander up the winding staircase to galleries or the balcony.
The Sipuke’l Gallery—an art gallery owned and operated by Acadia First Nation—also has a home in the building. The Astor Theatre, updated with a digital projector and state of the art lighting, is home to movies, plays, comedians, and more.
Special thanks to Tim McDonald and the Queens County Museum.