The Pyranon Ballroom Chatham

July 12, 2010

Venue: The Pyranon Ballroom
What: Chatham’s premier dance hall
Location: Chatham Ontario
Year: 1945

   When record hops were the in thing, as many as 1,600 young people would come out on a Friday night to dance. The music they were excited about was Elvis Presley, Pat Boone and the likes of.
   Many big acts of the time played this venue on Colborne Street.  The Wilf Lancaster Orchestra was the local band that performed there regularly.

The Pyranon was constructed by Maurice Smyth. The first group to play the hall was Al Edwards and his band from Windsor.
Other events at the Pyranon: Bingo, wrestling, proms, fashion shows, banquets, social and political gatherings.

Big Bands that played: Sammy Kaye, Victor Lombardo, Vaughn Monroe, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, The Glen Miller orchestra, Les Brown, and Gene Krupa. The local ‘Big Band’ Wilf Lancaster Orchestra performed there regularly.


  1. I believe the Pyranon Ballroom opened in the mid to late 30’s. I was born in 1944 and my dad used to take me over to Colborne Street in the winter of 1945 to check on the progress of the additions being built to the Pyranon. One side’s addition was to provide extra seating while the other side’s addition was to introduce a bar to the Ballroom.

    Other Big Bands that played: Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, Dick Jurgens, Burt Niosi, Charlie Barnet, Buddy Rich and Erskin Hawkins. However, I never heard dad mention that the Glenn Miller Band played in Chatham and he would have told me if it had been true, as Glenn Miller’s band was dad’s favourite.

    Great Job, Shawn!!

  2. Anyone remember Don Shepherd’s orchestra playing there?

  3. My uncle chuck Gillespie ran it in the 60s and 70s

  4. I was just reading some of the postings in the Chatham archives and it sure brought back memories of when I was just a youngster living in Prairie Siding. I am Don Shepherd’s son. Sadly my dad was killed in a car accident June 28, 1964 when I was only 6 years old, now 58 (2016) but it is so heartwarming that so many people remember my father and the music that he loved. Having come from a musical family with my dad, “Don” being an orchestra leader and my mother, “Penna” being a vocalist, it wasn’t a stretch that I too would become a musician throughout the 80s and 90s. After changing my professional name to “Jack Davidson” I continued to perform for many years until my late 30’s both here and in the U.S. Today, I reside in Barrie ON where I work as a Real Estate Broker. Thank you so much for remembering the times, the music and most of all…

    my Father, Don Shepherd.

    • Thank’s Jack. If you have any pics (with date info etc), feel free to send them. This page gets allot of views from former patrons of that club, but not many pics from that era exist for us to share. Email us:

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