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Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/02/01

General view of the Amherst Armoury, showing its recessed entrance arcade of three stone arches, 1989.; Ministère de la Défense nationale / Department of National Defence, 1989.
Corner view
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Other Name(s)

Amherst Armoury
Manège militaire d'Amherst

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/07/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Armoury is a large stone and brick building prominently sited in Amherst. It features two sturdy towers, a triple arched entrance way and a large drill hall. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Armoury is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
The Armoury was built to house and is associated with the 85th Canadian Infantry Battalion. This battalion was a renowned Nova Scotia battalion, famous for its crucial role in the battle and victory at Vimy Ridge during the First World War. The Armoury and the success of its battalion was a direct result of the militia reformation implemented by Frederick Borden during his tenure as the Minister of Militia and Defence. Included in these reforms was the construction of new armouries across the country, as well as improved military training, re-organization of the fighting units into battalions, and the provision of up-to-date munitions.

Architectural Value
The Armoury is a good example of a specialized military drill hall design with very good functional architectural qualities. It is part of a grouping of drill halls built in Canada between 1896 and 1919. The towers, medieval detailing, and limestone masonry are a result of fine quality craftsmanship and have become representative of Canadian drill halls.

Environmental Value
The Armoury reinforces the character of its urban neighbourhood setting in the town of Amherst. A large public building, it is a landmark of local significance.

Sally Coutts, Armoury, Amherst, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 89-065; Amherst Armoury, Amherst, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement, 89-065.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Armoury should be respected.

Its specialized drill hall design and fine quality craftsmanship, for example:
- its standard armoury plan, composed of a two towered, stone entry block to the front and a functional gambrel roofed, brick drill hall to the rear;
- its design features such as the axial symmetry of the composition, the recessed entrance arcade of three stone arches, the balcony between the towers and the pilasters articulated as medieval buttresses at the exterior of all elevations;
- the well-crafted limestone and brick masonry;
- the symmetrical arrangement of the multi-pane windows and wood doors;
- the spatial arrangement and scale of the interior consisting of the drill hall, galleries and surrounding rooms.

The manner in which the Armoury in Amherst reinforces the character of its urban neighbourhood setting and is a landmark in the local area, as evidenced by:
- the specialized drill hall design, with dual towers facing Acadia Street, that provide a formalized entry and a visually prominent silhouette within the urban environment;
- the physical prominence of the large public building located in a smaller community near the center of town and its occasional use as a venue for community events.




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

Royal Canadian Corps of Signals



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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