Description of Historic Place
The Gymnasium is a wood frame building on a concrete pier and joist foundation, and features a gambrel roof, shingled side walls, a simple open plan, and large span timber trusses. The Gymnasium is located on College Road below Hatley Castle, on a hillside at the edge of the forested zone of the Royal Roads University. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Gymnasium is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Gymnasium is associated with the expansion of the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War. The Gymnasium was built during the first phase of the development when the Department of National Defence purchased J. Dunsmuir's Edwardian estate to establish the self-contained military college. Designed to fulfill the training curriculum of cadets and to foster physical fitness in the forces, the Gymnasium also signaled the removal of non-essential activities from the Esquimalt Dockyard in preparation for war.
The Gymnasium is a good example of a surviving but modified temporary wartime building developed during the Second World War. Intended for use as a ball court, the interior was designed as a column free space using Warren Trusses, while support activities and change rooms were housed in adjoining structures. Simple and functional, the Gymnasium is constructed of good quality materials, some of which were selected due to wartime shortages.
Owing to its scale, simple wood construction and location, the Gymnasium is compatible with the pastoral character of the campus and the nearby farm buildings that are part of the former estate's agricultural zone. Due to its current use by the Young Men's Christian Association, the Gymnasium is known beyond the college community.
Andrew Waldron, Gymnasium (RR22), Royal Roads University, Colwood, British Columbia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 99-137.
Gymnasium (RR22), Royal Roads University, Colwood, British Columbia. Heritage Character Statement 99-137.
The following character-defining elements of the Gymnasium should be respected, for example:
Its simple aesthetic and functional design, and its materials as manifested in:
-the building's simple composition and massing;
-the light timber framing and large span timber trusses which are characteristic features of this class of
temporary wartime buildings; and,
-the use of sawn wood shingles on the side walls.
The building's compatibility with the pastoral character of the university campus as evidenced in:
-its location on a hillside, at the edge of the forest zone; and,
-its simple wood construction which allows it to blend in with the nearby farm buildings.