Description of Historic Place
The Armoury is a prominent component of its largely undeveloped treed site located on the southwest perimeter of Mount Royal Park, on the Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges in Montréal. It is a large, two-storey, stone drill hall and riding school with a flat roof and low-pitched gable roof. Its form and detailing conjures up the image of a Château with its twin stone towers and elaborate arched entrance. 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 closely associated with the reform and expansion of the Canadian militia. One of twelve armouries constructed during the inter-war period, it is an important relic of the history of military architecture in Canada and a very good example of an inter-war armoury.
The Armoury is valued for its very good aesthetic and functional design. It reflects a stripped down Château style in the details of its entrance and exhibits the stylized and simplified details, which reflect contemporary interests in smooth surfaces and geometric volumes. The functional plan of this armoury was unique, including a riding hall, administrative head-house and drill hall. Typical of inter-war armouries, it employs modern structural design with concrete floors supporting a steel frame and exposed Warren trusses for its large, unobstructed space. High quality craftsmanship is evident throughout.
The Armoury reinforces the present character of its park-like setting in Montréal and is a well-known building in the area.
Sources: Jacqueline Hucker, Côte-des-Neiges Armoury, Montréal, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 91-030; Côte-des-Neiges Armoury, Montréal, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 91-030.
The character-defining elements of the Armoury should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic and functional design and very good craftsmanship and materials, as for example:
- the massing, footprint and profile that reflect modern preferences for simply composed volumetric compositions and consists of a two-storey, flat roof “head house”, a two-storey flat-roof drill hall, and a two-storey gable-roofed riding school which is the predominant structure;
- the elements of the stripped down Château style, including the twin-towered frontispiece which also contributes to the symmetry of the design, and the detailing concentrated around the main entrance on the main façade;
- the principal façades executed in limestone with a subtle textural contrast between the rough-faced even-coursed stone and the dressed stone quoining, stringcoursing, coping and carved stone shields;
- the smooth stone surfaces of the façades with simple, flat moulding details, the slate roofing of the towers and the asphalt shingle finish of the drill hall roof;
- the multi-paned wood sash windows as well as the large multi-paned steel window;
- the original wood entrance doors with their panelling, heavy iron hardware and multi-paned glazing which reflect the revivalist design of the armoury;
- the interior plan, with major functions in separate buildings;
- the large, open unobstructed space of the drill hall and riding school with exposed steel trusses and extensive glazing, as well as the spatial openness and bright naturally lit character of the halls;
- the design of the seating found in the riding school and the surviving significant interior finishes.
The manner in which the Armoury reinforces the present character of its park-like setting in Montréal and is a well-known building in the area, as evidenced by:
- its scale, high standards of construction and materials, and its position set back from the corner, all of which contribute to and are in keeping with its surroundings;
- its role in the community as housing the local militia, as well as its scale, proportions and location on the perimeter of Mount Royal Park, all of which contribute to its local familiarity.