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Farquahar Street, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/01/14

Exterior photo; (Department of National Defence, 1990.)
Exterior photo
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1906/01/01 to 1907/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The massive, fortress-like Armoury is conspicuously located on a sloped site in downtown Guelph. Designed in a late Gothic-Revival style, this brick building is heavily ornamented with rock-faced stone details. It is a symmetrical structure with two-storey wings that flank the dominant centre pavilion. A large troop door flanked by crenellated towers dominates the front façade. The large drill hall behind is spanned by steel Fink trusses. 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 values.

Historical Value:
The Armoury is closely associated with the reform and expansion of the Active Volunteer Militia during Frederick Borden’s tenure as Minister of Militia and Defence from 1986 to 1911. The reforms transformed the militia from a citizen militia into an efficient military force prepared for action when the First World War broke out. The Armoury was used as both a training and recruitment centre during this conflict.

Architectural Value:
The Armoury is a very good example of a simple, modular design used for early 20th century armouries. The building incorporates medieval military motifs including jutting towers, battlements, and a main entrance reminiscent of a fortified gate. Interior layout is based on the standard American Armoury model, the open drill hall on the upper floor, the ground floor being reserved for vehicles and artillery. Good craftsmanship and materials and evident in the rough-faced sandstone that contrasts with the flat red brickwork, detail typical of the designer, T.W. Fuller.

Environmental Value:
The Armoury reinforces the character of its downtown setting and is a familiar landmark in the neighbourhood. Its specialized use adds to its local familiarity as a community landmark.

Jacqueline Adell, Armoury, Farquahar Street, Guelph Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 90-155; Armoury, Farquahar Street, Guelph, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 90-155.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its functional design and aesthetic qualities and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the massive, rectangular form of the structure with a three-storey central pavilion, flanking two-storey, ancillary blocks, and large drill hall behind;
-the main entrance with troop door and decorative detail;
-the brick surface of the exterior walls with rough-faced stone at basement level and ornamentation such as stringcourses, lintels, coping and crenellation;
-the regular grouping of the window openings;
-the large unobstructed drill hall space opened up by steel Fink trusses.

The manner in which the Armoury in Guelph reinforces the character of its downtown setting and is a familiar community landmark as evidenced by:
-its specialized design, distinctive profile and large scale which complement its streetscape setting;
-its large scale and prominent location which makes it known in the city.




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

T.W. Fuller (junior)



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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