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Colonel R. S. McLaughlin Armoury

53 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/08/19

Exterior photo; DND, 1990
Exterior photo
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Other Name(s)

Colonel R. S. McLaughlin Armoury
Oshawa Armoury
Manège militaire d'Oshawa

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/03/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Situated in downtown Oshawa, and bounded by streets on three sides, the Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury occupies a compact site. The large structure, constructed of brick on a stone foundation, contains a large drill hall. It is distinguished on the principal façade by crenellated towers and a low-arched entrance. Buttress-like pilasters, arched windows and stone trim enliven the otherwise functional design. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury is associated with the armoury construction program initiated by Frederick Borden. Sam Hughes, the Minister of Militia and Defence from 1911 to 1916, accelerated this program due to the threat of First World War. The design of the majority of armouries was given to his engineering services branch in order to increase efficiency and reduce costs. The Branch in turn devised a set of standard plans based on five sizes of armouries. When the First World War broke out, the armoury was used as a training and recruitment centre.

Architectural Value:
The Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury is valued for its good aesthetic design, as well as for its functionality, which is clearly expressed. The square towers that flank the drill hall façade emphasize its fortress motif. As an example of a mid-size, standard plan armoury, it emphasizes functionality over aesthetic design and exhibits minimal decorative elaboration. The rectangular, unobstructed drill hall is the dominant feature. The crenellated parapets and the brick and stonework exhibit good craftsmanship and materials.

Environmental Value:
The Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury is compatible with the present downtown character of the setting and is a conspicuous local landmark.

Jacqueline Adell, Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury, 53 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 89-096; Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury, 53 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-096.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of the Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury should be respected:

Its good aesthetic, very good functional design, and good quality materials, for example:
-the building’s two-storey massing, scale and proportions;
-the towers that flank the facade of the large drill hall, and the low-arched main entrance;
-the red brick exterior walls and stone foundation;
-the decorative elements such as crenellated towers, buttress-like pilasters, segmentally-arched windows and stone trim;
-the large, unobstructed interior of the drill hall spanned by steel trusses;
-the service rooms supporting viewing galleries located at either end of the drill hall.

The manner in which the Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Armoury is compatible with the present character of its downtown setting and is a conspicuous landmark in the area, as evidenced by:
-its scale, design and distinctive profile that contribute to the character of its downtown setting;
-the structure’s specialized military role that make it a well-known community landmark.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Armoury or Drill Hall

Architect / Designer

Engineering and services branch, Department of Militia and Defence



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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