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Cobourg Armoury:

Opened in 1904 as the home of the Cobourg Heavy Battery and the Northumberland Battalion of Infantry.

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 recollecitons of the author (2012).


Collingwood Armoury:

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


 

Dennison Armoury (North York):

The original Dennison Armoury opened in 1965 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 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: 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 1966.

The new armouries 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. 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).


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 building 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.

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.


 

Moss Park Armoury (Toronto):

Opened in 1966 in the Moss Park area of Toronto, the armoury was built as a replacement for the University Avenue Armouries, which was demolished in 1963.

Four reserve regiments are housed in the armoury:  25 Medical Company, 48th Highlanders of Canada, 7th Toronto Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery and The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, all formerly housed at University Avenue.

 

Sources:  https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=111568.25

 


 

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 .

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

The 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.

Source Material: “The Garrison” newspaper from December 15, 1999.

 


Orillia Armoury:

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


 

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.


Picton Armoury:

Former home of a company of the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment.


 

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.


 

Wallis House Armoury:

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

Source Material: Doug Perrault, Ottawa Resident (2004).

 

 

 

Listowel Armoury, now used by the Listowel Agricultural Society, http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/blog/index.blog/2339256/listowel-armoury/

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

http://aroundwestmount.com/events-past-2-3/

https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=111568.25

http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=9870&pid=0

Falaise Barracks on Lakeshore Blvd in Toronto.


 

 

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

4 comments

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  1. Jan Woods

    Hello!
    I’m the current owner of the Armory building in Durham, Ontario and have been since mid 1994. I was happy to read a bit of the history of the building and am hoping to find pictures of the inside.
    On another note, although the typed info does list it as a Chiropractic office, below the picture it is noted that the building is currently a “dental office” . The building has an upper appartment and the main level has been a Chiropractic office for over 30 years, any chance that can be changed?
    Regards,
    Janice Woods

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Janice,

      Thanks for catching the typo. I’ve corrected it.

      Bruce

  2. Peter McLean

    Do you have any info on the Orono Armoury. Possible home for a compa y of infantry for the Durham Regt. Later merged with Northumberland Regt.?

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Peter,

      Unfortunately I don’t have much information on armouries, including Orono. Just keeing up with former bases is time consuming. More attention to armouries across the country is definitely a future project.

      Bruce

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