Description of Historic Place
Located in a residential and commercial district in the former Royal Artillery Park, the Armoury, also known as the Kingston Drill Hall, is a two-storey, heavy stone structure. A long principal façade articulated by a prominent three-storey projecting frontispiece, serves as the main entrance and consists of a troop door and two flanking stair towers. There are two rows of evenly spaced, deeply set windows along the long wall, crenels across the frontispiece, and large decorative corbels around the side towers. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Armoury is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Armoury is a very good illustration of drill halls built to support an expanded role for the militia, by providing local training facilities for their use. It is of one of the largest and best equipped of the battalion drill halls constructed by the federal government between 1896 and 1911. The Armoury is also significant for its role as the headquarters of the 1863 Princess of Wales Own Regiment, one of the oldest regiments in Canada.
The Armoury is an excellent example of aesthetic and functional design featuring medieval revival features and picturesque qualities. Its picturesque medieval revival features are derived in simplified form from the Halifax Drill Hall designed by Thomas Fuller, which served as an architectural prototype for the Public Works design staff under his supervision. It is characterized by its functional plan, modern structural design and its medieval revival features.
A focal point of the local area, the Armoury maintains a position along Montreal Street defining one side of what is left of the Royal Artillery Park. Along with the former barracks on its other side, it defines a limited precinct of important military character. A number of 19th-century stone buildings, including houses, a church and some commercial buildings, unite with the drill hall to establish and enhance the character of the residential neighbourhood that it helped establish. It is a well-known structure whose site, near the centre of the town overlooking the remnants of the Royal Artillery Park gives the building a relatively high visibility and its civic space is often used for community activities.
Sources: Jacqueline Adell, Armoury , Montreal Street, Kingston, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Report 88-139; Kingston Drill Hall, Montreal Street, Kingston, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 88-139.
The character-defining elements of the Armoury should be respected.
Its aesthetic and functional plan, modern structural design and medieval revival features as manifested in:
- its two-storey, heavy stone structure with a long, centrally located principal façade articulated by a prominent three-storey projecting frontispiece, consisting of a troop door and two flanking stair towers, and balanced by two smaller towers located at the junction of the front and side walls enriched with castle-like crenelations and corbels at parapet level;
- its principal façade executed in rough-faced and random coursed Trenton limestone and its picturesque detailing carried around all sides, embellishing the essentially warehouse-like form of the Armoury;
- its wooden windows of varying sizes and shapes set deeply into limestone walls, playing a significant part in establishing the buildings romantic character;
- the layout and design of the Armoury, with offices, messes, and armouries set around three sides of a galleried open hall;
- the iron fink trusses over the drill hall typically employed in turn of the century armouries, which allow for large, open spaces.
The manner in which the Armoury establishes the character of its residential neighbourhood setting.