Description of Historic Place
Mewata Armoury, also known as the Mewata Drill Hall, occupies a site in downtown Calgary. It is a large, low-massed structure in the Tudor Gothic style, and is set around a large central drill hall. Constructed of red brick with stone and sandstone trim, its rugged battlemented façade conveys a strong image of solidity and impregnability. The main entrance is a low central troop door flanked by projecting three-storey crenellated towers in the manner of fortress architecture. The building has small narrow windows, bartizans, and small turrets complete with firing slits. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Mewata Armoury is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Mewata Armoury is one of the best examples of a structure associated with the theme of the federal government’s late 19th-century initiatives to build militia practice and training recruitment centres. The intention was to concentrate the volunteer militia in large urban areas by building drill halls in all major cities. Mewata Armoury housed both militia and permanent force units in the inter-war period, served as the focus of a substantial training camp in the Second World War, and continues today as an active militia establishment.
Mewata Armoury is an excellent example of the Tudor Gothic Style used for militia architecture from the end of the 19th century until the First World War where its functional design, and very large floor space are distinguishing characteristics. It is one of the works of the architect Thomas W. Fuller.
Mewata Armoury is a distinctive landmark situated in downtown Calgary. It has maintained an unchanged relationship to its site and plays an important role as a landmark in the neighbourhood.
Sources: Ivan J. Saunders, Corner 8th Ave. S.W. and 11th St. S.W. Calgary, Alberta.
Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 83-082; Mewata Armoury Corner 8th Ave. S.W. and 11th St. S.W. Calgary, Alberta. Heritage Character Statement 83-082.
The following character-defining elements of the Mewata Armoury should be respected.
Its excellent aesthetic design, good functional design and excellent materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- its large, low-massing and the building’s Tudor-Gothic Style;
- the rugged battlemented façade of stone and red sandstone distinguished by its central ogee-arched troop door flanked by protecting three-storey crenelated towers and sitting under an over-entrance gallery;
- the four large square, crenelated, three-storey, bastion like corner towers linked by continuous crenelated exterior walls;
- the decorative detail including stone and sandstone detailing, stylized bartizans, small narrow windows, stylized firing slits, and the decorative pilastering of the exterior walls;
- the large unobstructed space of the central drill hall.
The manner in which the Mewata Armoury is compatible with the present character of its downtown location and is a local landmark, as evidenced by:
- its scale, design and distinctive profile that contribute to the commercial character of its downtown setting;
- the structure’s specialized military role and continued use as an active Canadian Forces reserve armoury, which makes it a well-known local landmark.