Saturday, September 24, 2011

Have a Favourite Court House?

The thing about being a litigator, especially one who practices mostly criminal law, is that I spend a lot of time hanging out at law courts. I know not everyone likes to see the inside of a courthouse, but what about the outside? I think courthouses have some of the best architecture in Canada. From the historic Georgian to the Post-Modern, we seem to measure ourselves by how interesting and impressive our courthouses are. But while their interior functions are really quite utilitarian and uniform anywhere you go, the buildings vary greatly.

From the Arthur Erickson designed Vancouver Law Courts where I was called to the British Columbia Bar (but all that glass had started to develop more than a few leaks in the frequent Pacific coast rains)...

Photo credit to the Canadian Encyclopedia. the Old City Hall Courthouse of Toronto, reputed to be the fourth busiest in North America and where I started my prosecutor days doing "Liquor Court" in a very old room under one of the gables (though I never saw any of the well-known ghosts)...

Photo Credit to Paulo Barcellos Jr.
...our courthouses seem to define our identities. 

I've practiced in stately enduring structures like the oldest still operating courthouse in Canada of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia dating from 1836...

Photo credit to Nova Scotia Dept. of Tourism, Culture & Heritage.
...but also in temporary spots like strip malls and the upstairs of Lion's Club halls. They all had their charm, though the newer ones have a propensity of getting torn down after their few decades of usefulness leads to a losing battle against structural decay and overcrowding. 

So, do you have a favourite, wherever you might be from? Let me know. 


  1. Any courthouse you're in is my favourite, baby! :)

  2. Nice post. I saw an amazing courthouse in Boston. In fact, most New England courthouses are pretty jazzy!