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Aurora Armoury:

Built in 1874 as a drill shed for the 12th Battalion of Infantry, also known as the York Rangers.  The regiment amalgamated with the Queen’s Rangers, 1st American Regiment on 15 December 1936, becoming the Queen’s York Rangers (1st American Regiment).

The Armoury originally had dark wooden exterior wall, but in 1941, the exterior was covered with white painted lumber siding.  This wood siding was eventually covered over with white vinyl siding.

By 2012, the 138 year old armoury was deemed insufficient for the Queen’s York Rangers, now an armoured reconnaissance regiment.  The regiment moved to a new armoury on Industrial Parkway South, the John Graves Simcoe Armoury, a little over a mile to the south-east of the old armoury.

The historic Aurora Armoury, one of the oldest purpose built armouries still in existence, can still be found on Larmont Street.  It has been completely restored and now houses the Aurora Campus of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College.

Source material: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/12/30/the-aurora-armory-part-classroom-part-event-space-part-kitchen-brings-the-right-ingredients-to-aurora.html, http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/community-stories_histoires-de-chez-nous/a-community-storybook_le-parcours-d-une-communaute/story/1874-drill-shed-12th-battalion, http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/community-stories_histoires-de-chez-nous/a-community-storybook_le-parcours-d-une-communaute/story/live-at-the-armoury, https://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/9677656-residents-can-get-a-sneak-peek-at-renovated-aurora-armoury-during-open-house.

Burlington Street Armoury (Hamilton):

Cobourg Armoury:

Opened in 1904 as the home of the Cobourg Heavy Battery and the Northumberland Battalion of Infantry.  The armoury was built in the Baronial style, with a low-pitched gable roof.

During World War II, the armoury was the HQ for the 14th Field Artillery, the 347th Field and the 36th Field. After the War, the 33rd Medium Regiment was stationed at the armoury. Summer recruit courses were held from 1957 – 1964.

The armoury was declared surplus and closed on 1 April 1970, ending 103 years of artillery in Cobourg.  It is now the Couburg Police station.

Source Material: Cobourg: Early Days and Modern Times by John Spilsbury and the personal recollections of the author (2012).

Collingwood Armoury:

Formerly home of at Troop of “B” Company, The Grey & Simcoe Foresters.

Denison Armoury (North York):

The original Denison Armoury, named after Lieutenant-Colonel George Taylor Denison, opened in 1961 at the corner of Dufferin Street and Highway 401, originally housing 5 Column, 134 Company, RCASC.

The reorganization of the Canadian Forces in 1965 saw the formation of two Service Battalions in the Toronto area, each taking elements from 5 Column RCASC: 4 Ordnance Battalion RCOC, 4 Technical Regiment RCEME, 2 Provost Company C Pro C, 13 and 26 Medical Companies, and elements of Pay, Dental, and the CWAC.

1st Toronto Service Battalion was lodged at the Denison Armoury in North York, the former home of 5 Column RCASC, under the command of LCol Bruce J. Legge. It consisted of 134 Company RCASC, 12 Ordnance Company, 45 Technical Squadron, and 2 Company C Pro C. 13 Medical Company was relocated to Owen Sound.

2 Toronto Service Battalion was originally lodged at Falaise Armoury, but moved to Moss Park Armoury when it first opened in 1966.

1 Service Battalion merged with 2 Service Battalion in 1970, and become 25 (Toronto) Service Battalion in 1975.

The armoury also served as the home to the Governor General’s Horse Guards, the most senior reserve regiment in Canada, and the only Household Cavalry regiment of Canada’s three Household units.

The Dennison Armoury closed in 2002 when a new armoury, also named Dennison Armoury, opened on a small plot of vacant land at the former CFB Toronto.

The former armoury was torn down in 2003 and today, not the slightest trace remains. The property is now an empty field.

Source Material: Denison Armoury – Wikipedia, George Taylor Denison III – Wikipedia, personal recollections of the author (2003).

Dundas Armoury:

The armoury opened  on 1 November 1900, replacing the previous drill shed on King Street, built in the wake of the Fenian Raids on 1866.  The armoury was built in the Baronial style, with a low-pitched gable roof.

The new armoury was originally clad in wood siding and came complete with a rifle range in the basement.  It served as the home of the 77th Wentworth Regiment, which was re-named The Wentworth Regiment in 1920.

A fire damaged the armoury a few years later.  After being repaired, the building was bricked over.

During WWI, soldiers with the 129th Regiment, CEF, trained at the armoury before proceeding to further training at Camp Borden.  An addition was also added to the armoury during WWI.

On 15 December 1936, Headquarters and “C” Companies of The Wentworth Regiment amalgamated with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry at the James Street Armoury in Hamilton.  “A” and “B” companies remained at the Dundas Armoury, becoming an Artillery Regiment, the 102nd (Wentworth) Field Battery.

The 102nd was put on active service in on 24 May 1940 and re-designated as the 41st Light Anti-Aircraft Battery and the 102nd Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, both of which served throughout Europe.

With the end of the war in 1945, the 102nd reverted to reserve status and for the next 25 years continued their function of providing fully trained and equipped troops to augment the regular army and for home defence.

The 102nd (Wentworth) Field Battery stood down on 31 March 1970 and the armoury closed.

Shortly afterwards, the building was taken over by the Dundas Lions Club for use as a recreation centre and meeting hall.

The building was renovated in the early 1970s and an addition was added in 2005.

The former armoury is used heavily by the community for many things such as meetings, dinners, seniors activities.

It’s also used for weekly drill training for the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Corps Dundas

Source material:  Doug Foster, Dundas Lions Club.

Durham Armoury:

Opened in the Town of Durham at the corner of Elgin St North and George Street East in 1910 to house the 31st Grey Battalion and later, with the outbreak of World War I, the 147th Grey Battalion. After the war ended, the armoury was used as a social hall for returning veterans, but by the late 1920’s, the armoury had fallen into disuse and neglect.

With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the armoury was re-activated as a recruiting and training establishment. The Grey & Simcoe Foresters, a battalion formed in 1936 with the amalgamation of the 147th Grey Battalion and the Simcoe Foresters from the Town of Barrie, took over the armoury and the surrounding land for a training area. When the war ended, the armoury remained an active part of the post-war militia.

With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the armoury was re-activated as a recruiting and training establishment. The Grey & Simcoe Foresters, a battalion formed in 1936 with the amalgamation of the 147th Grey Battalion and the Simcoe Foresters from the Town of Barrie, took over the armoury and the surrounding land for a training area. When the war ended, the armoury remained an active part of the post-war militia, housing a Troop of “A” Company, The Grey & Simcoe Foresters.

The former Durham Armoury is now a chiropractic clinic and the land once used as the training area is now the Durham Conservation Area.

Source Material: History of the Town of Durham 1842-1994 by the Durham Historical Society (1994).

HMCS HUNTER (Windsor):

Originally built in 1929 as the Martin Marketorium, the building became the home of HMCS HUNTER Naval Reserve Division in 1944.

Post-Unification, the armoury also became the home of 21 (Windsor) Service Battalion, though they would later re-locate to the Major F.A. Tilston, VC, Armoury.

The armoury closed  in February 2015.  A formal march-out parade was held on a snowy day on 14 February  2015.

A new armoury was commissioned for HMCS HUNTER at 90 Mill Street in Windsor on 3 May 2015, coinciding with the Battle of the Atlantic Parade.

Source Material: www.internationalmetropolis.com/2008/04/15/hmcs-hunter, The Windsor Star 15 February 2015- http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/hmcs-hunter-lowers-flag-for-last-time-at-downtown-base and the personal recollections of the authour (2014).

Listowel Armoury:

Opened in 1914 as the home of the 100th (R) Field Battery, R.C.A.  The armoury is now the home of the Listowel Agricultural Society.

Sources: http://www.regimentalrogue.com/blog/index.blog/2339256/listowel-armoury.

London Armoury:

Opened at the corner of Dundas and Waterloo streets on 1 February 1905, the armories replaced a former drill shed and an earlier garrison building that had existed going back to the time of the Rebellion of 1837.

The armoury was designed by David Ewart, who designed many of the armouries constructed in Canada around this time, and was built by the firm of Sullivan and Langdon, for a cost of about $135,000.

The armoury was built in the Baronial style, with a low-pitched gable roof. It features two massive, three-storey, crenelated towers at the entranceway, smaller corner towers, octagonal chimneys, and large, arched windows, similar to others built during this period, such as the now demolished University Avenue Armouries in Toronto.

Both the 1st Hussars, now an armoured unit, and the 7th Fusiliers, now 4th Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, occupied the armoury.

The armoury closed in 1978.  After standing vacant for many years, Donald Wharton had succeeded  in converting the armoury into a hotel.  The shell was maintained, but the interior was gutted and a high-rise tower was constructed in the centre of the building.  The armoury re-opened as the Wharton Hotel in 1986.

In succeeding years, the hotel became the Sheraton Armouries Hotel and finally the Delta London Armouries Hotel.

Source Material:  “Delta London Armouries Hotel is a unique destination, Look Local Magazine & information supplied by the London Public Library.

Major F.A. Tilston, VC, Armoury (The Windsor Armoury):

The original Major F.A. Tilston Armoury opened in 1900 near the corner of University Ave West & Ouellette Ave in downtown Windsor. The armoury was originally named the Windsor Armoury, but this was later changed to honour WWII Victoria Cross winner Frederick Albert Tilston.

The armoury is a two-storey, red brick Baronial style building with a three-storey tower is centrally-located.

After one hindered years of use, the armoury was much too small for its tenants – The Windsor Regiment, The Essex & Kent Scottish Regiment, and the 21 Service Battalion. The armoury had originally been built to house one infantry unit, and was never intended to also house the vehicles that a mechanized unit would require.

In 2003, The Department of National Defence and the City of Windsor entered into a unique arrangement: a joint training facility for use by both the Army Reserves and the Windsor Police. The new armoury, located on the corner of Sandwich Street and Ojibway Parkway, opened in June 2004.

On 16 October 2004, The Windsor Regiment, The Essex & Kent Scottish Regiment, the 21 Service Battalion and the Windsor Police Service held an official march-out parade from the old Tilston Armoury to the new Major F.A. Tilston, VC, Armoury and Police Training Centre, formally closing the door on over 100 years of army presence in downtown Windsor.

In 2011, the University of Windsor  announced that it will relocate its Music and Visual Arts programs to the Armouries building.

In 2015, renovations on the former armoury began to convert the existing 46,400 square foot building into a 66,000 square foot home for the combined programs in of the School of Music, the School of Visual Arts and the new Film Production Program.  The building was officially opened to students in January 2018, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on 22 March 2018.

A second floor was added, along with a smaller third floor, providing space for building services  A full basement was also dug under the entire building.

A partial demolition of the southern end of the building allowed for the addition of a 140-seat performance hall.

The amouries also features classrooms, seminar and meeting and study rooms, computer facilities, practice studios, art and architecture studios, and offices.

During the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was attended by a representative from the Essex & Kent Scottish Regiment, the main foyer was named Veterans Hall.

Source Material: information supplied by Capt. Brian Chaney, Officer Commanding, 22 MP Platoon (2004), information supplied by the Windsor Police Service – www.police.windsor.on.ca, Windorite web site – http://windsorite.ca/2015/08/roof-comes-off-armouries-as-construction-progresses (2015), http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/uwindsor-s-60m-downtown-creative-arts-school-officially-opens-1.4588562 & The Department of National Defence news release 12 June 2001.

Midland Armoury:

Opened in 1954, the armoury housed the 166 Light Anit-Aricraft Battery (166
LAA Bty) re-located from Windsor to Midland in February 1949.

In October 1954, 166 LAA Bty was obsorbed into the The Grey & Simcoe Foresters,
becoming troop of a Troop of “C” Company, based in Orillia.

Mulcaster Street Armoury (Barrie):

Opened in Barrie in 1888 at the corner of Mulcaster Street and Collier Street as the home for The Simcoe Foresters of Barrie. With the outbreak of war in 1914, it had become apparent that the Mulcaster Street Armoury was inadequate for the Forester’s needs. A new Armoury was constructed at Queen’s Park, the former site an armoury once occupied by Simcoe Foresters predecessor, No. 1 Rifle Company of Simcoe County.

The Barrie Armoury opened in 1916 and the main contingent of the Simcoe Foresters moved to the Armoury, although the Mulcaster Street Armoury would continue to be used as a satellite location until 1946 when the Battalion would finally depart. The building was taken over by the Board of Works.

From 1995 to 2007, the armoury served as the constituency office of Joe Tascona, Progressive Conservative Member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly for the riding of Barrie – Simcoe – Bradford, in addition to the Grey & Simcoe Foresters Museum The Grey & Simcoe Foresters still occupy the Barrie Armoury.

Today, only the G&SF Museum remains, expanded to include the entire armoury as it’s display space.

Source Material: “The Armoury / Farmers Market” Building – “36 Mulcaster Street” supplied by Heritage Barrie (2003), information supplied by LCol Lorne Williams, Honoury Lieutenant Colonel, Grey & Simcoe Foresters (2003) and the personal recollections of the author (2002-2016).

Niagara Falls Armoury:

Opened in 1911 in Niagara Falls, the armoury was one of 11 armouries built during the period of expansion of the Canadian militia, and served as a recruiting and training centre during World War I.

Built in the Baronial Gothic Revival style, the armoury is constructed of red brick with a stone foundation, stone sills, window surrounds, decorative shields, a triple Tudorbethan gothic arch and projecting surround at the front entrance.

From 15 December 1914 until 31 August 1918, the Ukrainian and other European immigrants as “enemy aliens”.

The Nagara Falls Armoury would eventually be home to a company of the Lincoln & Welland Regiment and the 56th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA).

The armoury closed on 21 November 1999 and was transferred to the Canada Lands Corporation.  It’s now the home of the Niagara Military Museum.

Source Material: “The Garrison” newspaper from December 15, 1999, https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=9870&pid=0.

Orillia Armoury:

Opened on West Street North on 18 September 1913 at a cost of $30, 000.

The main floor contained a drill Hall, six rooms for storage, and a caretaker’s residence.  The basement contained two furnaces, lavatories and a shooting gallery.  The upper floor held the men’s quarters, plus one room for officers and one for sergeants.

The armoury housed the 76th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force from October 1915 until the Battalion deployed to Europe in April 1916.

C company, 157th (Simcoe Foresters) Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force then took over the armoury, with the 177th (Simcoe Foresters) Battalion housed at the curling rink.

In order to train for the trench warfare the soldiers would face in Europe, a trench system was dug on the north-west corner of the armoury property.

In 1936, the Grey Regiment and The Simcoe Foresters amalgamated and the Orillia company was designated “C” Company, The Grey & Simcoe Foresters.

The Orillia Armoury closed in 1968.

Georgian College took over the armoury to house their Orillia campus, but by 1973, the college had outgrown the building. Three portables were added to the campus and the administrative offices were located on Mississauga Street in downtown Orillia, but this still wasn’t enough.

The former armoury was sold again renovated into apartments, the Georgian Apartments.

Sources: https://www.orilliamatters.com/postcard-memories/grand-old-building-constructed-in-1913-had-a-price-tag-of-30000.

Oro Township Drill Shed:

In 1866-67 a drill-shed was erected in East Oro by the Oro Company, 35th Battalion, the Simcoe Foresters. At this time when the Fenian Raids were alarming the country, eight company drill-sheds where built in Simcoe County.  This building served Oro Company until the turn of the century and was demolished around 1918.  All that remains is a memorial cairn.

Paisley Armoury:

Picton Armoury:

The Picton Armoury was built in 1913, as the home for the 16th Prince Edward Regiment (16 PER), a local militia unit with origins dating back to 1863.

On 12 March 1920, 16 PER was amalgamated with the 49th Regiment Hastings Rifles to form The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment (H&PER), also known as the “Hasty Ps,” with Companies in Picton, Belleville and Peterborough.

During both World Wars the Armoury served as a recruiting depot, drill hall and home base/training camp for local militia unit, the Hasty P’s.

For years after, the Armoury continued to be a vibrant building in this community, hosting community dances, badminton tournaments, and even served as a school in the 1950s, when the town’s school was destroyed by a fire.

Following the Militia Reorganization of 1965, the Picton Company was reduced to nil strength, and the armoury closed.  Personnel moved to the regimental HQ in Belleville.  After the H&PER left the armoury, it was severely neglected for years, falling into disrepair.

Over those years, the former armoury was used for a variety of community functions.

In September 2017, the building was fully restored.

commercial multi-use space that includes retail, office, and public-use facilities

Today, the former Picton Armoury is a commercial multi-use space that includes retail, office, and public-use facilities, with community-based events, art exhibits, office space and even a gym, utilizing the building.

Sources:  https://wellingtontimes.ca/renaissance, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hastings_and_Prince_Edward_Regiment, https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMEW0N_Picton_Armoury_Picton_ON, https://www.countylive.ca/county-celebrates-local-heritage-advocates/.

University Avenue Armoury (Toronto):

University Avenue Armouries, the home of several Toronto Regiments such as the Queen’s Own Rifles, 48th Highlanders, Governor General’s Horse Guards, 29th Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery and a Medium Artillery Regiment and the centre of Militia activities in Toronto from 1891 until it was demolished in 1963.

An office tower now stands on the site of the armouries.

Walkerton Armoury:

Opened in 1907.

Wallis House Armoury:

Former home of 28 (Ottawa) Service Battalion and 763 (Ottawa) Communication Regiment.

Wallis house was built in 1883, in the Byward Market area of Ottawa, as one of Ottawa’s first modern hospitals.

In 1924, the hospital closed and the building served as a seminary, veteran housing and an armoury.

The building was converted into loft condominiums, with cathedral ceilings, wide hallways, and soaring windows characterize each unit, which boasts a New York-style loft feeling.  One and two-bedroom units feature exposed brick walls, exposed ducts, fireplaces, hardwood flooring, and open concept living, with many units featuring 2 storeys for trendy loft living.

Source Material: Doug Perrault, Ottawa Resident (2004), https://www.condodork.com/en/ottawa/wallis-house-589-rideau-st.

Wingham Armoury:

Opened in August 1914, the red brick building, measuring 44-feet by 90-feet, was the first of this style armoury in south-western Ontario.

The interior featured hardwood flooring in the drill hall area, with rooms for stores, rifles and other military equipment. The second floor contained the officers’ and NCO messes.  An 8-foot by 60-foot rifle range and furnace room were in the basement. Throughout the armoury were polished brass fittings and electric lights.

In November 1915, the Huron and Bruce regiments made use of the Wingham Armoury for recruiting drives for the newly authorized 160th (Bruce) and 161st (Huron) Battalions for service overseas.

In February 1916, the armoury was used as a makeshift detention centre, in what became known as the “Wingham Spy Caper.”  Adolfe Schatte, the German-born bandmaster of the Wingham Citizens’ Band, was found in possession of papers written in German and several metal tubes by a local police constable.  Schatte was arrested on suspicion of espionage, but was later released, when the Dominion Police determined the papers were musical scores and the tubes were music stands.

when a local constable found Adolfe Schatte in the possession of strange . Schatte, the German-born bandmaster of the Wingham Citizens’ Band, was seized and detained in the Wingham Armoury on the suspicion of espionage.

In the spring of 1919, the Wingham Armoury was used by the Wingham Soldiers’ Aid Commission for a banquet to honour the returning soldiers.  The armoury was also used for social functions by various other community groups in the Wingham area.

During the interwar years, the armoury was used by local militia units, like B Company of the Huron Regimen and a squadron of the 9th Greys Horse, a cavalry unit, in the 1920s.  In 1936, the 99th Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery made use of the armoury.

In September 1939, the armoury again became a war recruiting centre, and the following year, a 65-foot by 9-foot brick drill shed was added to the armoury’s north side.

In 1946, the armoury became the Regimental Headquarters for the 21st Field Regiment, of which the 99th Field Battery was a part.  Three other 21 Field Regiment batteries were located in Goderich, Listowel, Walkerton. The 99th battery was designated as an anti-tank unit armed with two 25-pounder anti-tank guns stored in the armoury’s gun shed.  The 99th Battery remained in this role until 1957, when it reverted to a field artillery battery, and was re-equipped with two 105-millimetre howitzers., both of which became a common sight outside the armoury on Monday night training exercises.

In 1954,  two Canadian Women’s Army Corps members were recruited to manage the Quartermaster stores.

Reductions in Canada’s militia forces led to the disbandment of the 99th Battery in February 1970.

The future of the amoury remained in doubt until 1974, when it saw use as a Senior Citizens drop-in centre.  The following year the Wingham Police Force also moved into the armory, with ownership of it being officially transferred to the Town of Wingham.

When the Wingham Police Service was disbanded on 21 February 2019, in favour of policing by the Ontario Provincial Police, the armoury sat vacant for next two years.  Its heritage designation was also revoked.

In April 2021, the 108-year-old armoury was demolished.  The roof trusses were salvaged, and are being offered for sale for future construction projects.

Sources: http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/blog/index.blog/2339258/wingham-armoury, https://globalnews.ca/news/4983708/wingham-police-disbands, https://www.toronto.com/community-story/9188525-honouring-the-wingham-police-after-140-years-of-service, YATES: Demolition of Wingham Armoury an ‘incalculable cultural loss’ | Clinton News Record.

Chatham Armoury, now occupied by RBC Dominion Securities and Four Diamond Catering
, http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/blog/index.blog/2338706/chatham-armoury/

Waltford Armoury, (Drill Hall), now a fire hall, http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/blog/index.blog/2338263/watford-armoury-drill-hall/

Hillside Armoury in Westmount has been vacated by 34 CER, after ~45 years




Falaise Barracks on Lakeshore Blvd in Toronto.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-military-bases/abandoned-armouries/ontario/

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