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Bradford West Gwillimbury

Bradford West Gwillimbury > BWGPressRelease-2023-03-10 Historic Fire Bell Finds New Home


Historic Fire Bell Finds New Home

Bradford West Gwillimbury (March 10, 2023) – An invaluable piece of fire-fighting history has been added to Bradford West Gwillimbury's (BWG) new Fire Station at 77 Melbourne Street – a 123-year-old fire bell from the original Barrie Street Fire Hall. This historic item, used to call fire-fighters to duty has been refurbished and installed in Fire Station 1's bell tower.


“This bell honours the longstanding commitment BWG's firefighters continue to bring to the community. It serves as a reminder of firefighting history and dedication and represents a tradition near and dear to all firefighters." – Fire Chief, Brent Thomas

Bells were installed at Fire Halls in the late 1800s to signal firefighters to begin their tour of duty and to signal the beginning of that day's shift. These bells would also serve as an alert to summon these brave souls to fight fires and protect their community. When the fire was out, it was the bell that signaled to all the completion of the call.

A bell was hung at Bradford's first Fire Hall at 50 Barrie Street in the late 1800s. In the early 1900s, the Fire Hall relocated to the Town Hall on Holland Street. When more space was required for firefighters and equipment, a new Fire Hall at 75 Melbourne Drive.

The facility at 75 Melbourne Drive was designed to service a community of 30,000 people. With BWG recently surpassing this population, a new facility was designed and built at 77 Melbourne Drive. The new fire hall was designed with a 200 square foot 'bell tower' to accommodate the historic bell. Additionally, a heritage room was added with old photos, newspaper clippings and artifacts relating to BWG's fire service.

In 2022, the bell was shipped to the Verdin Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, where it was completely refurbished and equipped with a fully functioning electronic striker. On January 31, 2023, the bell was placed in the tower.

​“It is a privilege to restore such a prominent and important part of our past, and I am pleased that this priceless piece of BWG history will be prominently showcased in our brand new Fire Hall," continued Chief Thomas. “The fire service is steeped in pride and tradition, and in a small way the restoration of the fire bell honours and celebrates the members of our community who put their lives on the line to serve as firefighters. We will reserve ringing the bell for ceremonial occasions to mark this proud history."


Media Contact:
Randi-lynn Blanchard, Administrative Assistant, Fire and Emergency Services
905-775-7311 x.4100

Historic Fire Bell Fact Sheet

The bell was originally hung in the late 1800s at Bradford’s first Fire Hall, located at 50 Barrie Street.​​



In the early 1900s, the Fire Hall relocated to the Town Hall on Holland Street. On the west side of the building, there was a three-bay fire hall.

At the back, there was a Recreation Hall used by the volunteer firefighters. The firefighters had dinners and draws to raise money which they used for purchasing new equipment. 

Although the bell has relocated, this building is still home to the Town’s Finance Department.

Bell at Finance.png


​In 1990, 75 Melbourne Drive became the new home to Bradford's firefighters, featuring 6,000 sq. ft. of apparatus space and 4,000 sq. ft. of offices.

This Hall, designed to serve a population of up to 30,000 people and house a full-time firefighting force, has relocated but this building now houses the Town's Urban Transportation/Public Works Department.

​In 2021, the Fire Hall moved to a larger facility at 77 Melbourne Drive, featuring a new tower for the bell, and a Heritage Room with photos, news clippings and artifacts.

In 2022, the bell was refurbished in Cincinnati, Ohio, and equipped with a functioning electronic striker. On January 31, 2023, the bell was placed in the tower.