Description of Historic Place
The Armoury in St. Thomas, Ontario, is a rectangular, gable-roofed building of solid, compact appearance located on the edge of the central business district. The building features crenellated corner towers, a projecting frontispiece, large round-arched windows and contrasting stone details. The main entrance is centred on the short façade. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Armoury is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Armoury is a very good example of a building associated with the pre-First World War armoury building campaign and the reform and expansion of the volunteer militia. It reflects a government policy to allow the supply of arms to all rural militias, following public debate supporting good local training facilities. The building continues to serve as an armoury.
The Armoury is a very good example of a standard American Armoury model. The compact design incorporates medieval military motifs including jutting towers, battlements and a main entrance reminiscent of a fortified gate. The interior layout is also based on the standard armoury model where the open drill hall is located on the upper floor. Good craftsmanship and materials are evident in the rough-faced stone that contrasts with the flat red brickwork, detailing typical of the designer, T.W. Fuller.
The Armoury reinforces the character of its downtown setting and is a conspicuous neighbourhood landmark.
Sources: Jacqueline Adell, St. Thomas Armoury, Chester and Wilson Streets, St. Thomas, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 91-150; St. Thomas Armoury, Chester and Wilson Streets, St. Thomas, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 91-150.
The following character-defining elements of the Armoury should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic and functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the large, rectangular massing under a gable roof;
- the principal entrance with troop doors located in the centre of the short façade.
- the construction of red smooth brick and stone;
- the prominent corner towers and the large round-arched, and square headed windows of the front and side façades;
- the masonry detailing including crenellations, chimneys, stringcourses, lintels, the carved coping, the brackets at the gable buttresses by the troop door, and the inscribed panels in the upper gables;
- the large unobstructed drill hall on the top floor with exposed steel trusses and extensive glazing, and the utilitarian interior finishes.
The manner in which the Armoury reinforces the character of its downtown setting and is a conspicuous community landmark as evidenced by:
- its specialized design, distinctive profile and large scale, which complement its streetscape setting;
- its large scale and central location as well as its continued use for community activities that makes it conspicuous in the community.