Description of Historic Place
The Armoury in Brockville occupies a rectangular lot facing King Street in the downtown core of Brockville. The large, low-massed, stone structure in the Romanesque style projects a massive, fortified appearance. Flanked by towers, its projecting frontispiece is pierced by a large, arched troop door. 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 structure associated with the federal military reform policies of Frederick Borden, the Minister of Militia and Defence. An important feature of these reforms was the construction of better armouries in small communities across the country. The structure housed the Brockville Rifles, an Ontario Regiment founded in the 1860s as a result of the Fenian threat in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. The Brockville Rifles also served in the First and Second World Wars.
The Armoury, designed in the Romanesque revival style, is a very good example of the drill halls built between 1896 and 1918. It also is a rare example of a smaller drill hall constructed in stone rather than the more typical brick. It is distinguished by good functional design that includes a very large drill hall.
The Armoury reinforces the residential context of the downtown core and is familiar to local residents and to those visiting the building.
Sources: Brockville Armoury, 1-9 East Avenue, Brockville, Ontario, Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 89-078; Brockville Armoury, 1-9, East Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-078.
The character-defining elements of the Armoury should be respected.
Its Romanesque, functional, revival design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the large scale, symmetrical, low massing of the long principal façade, with its double-storied troop entrance and corner towers;
-the large gable-roofed drill hall to the rear;
-the masonry walls articulated by regular and paired spacing of round-arched windows, the stone stringcourses, copings, and crenellations;
-the interior characterized by the large, open volume of the drill hall, with its two free-standing spiral iron staircases that access the upper gallery;
-the smaller functional spaces, the offices, armouries, mess hall, band room, lecture room, and officers’ mess that are contained within the two levels of the front entry block;
-the original interior finishes and wood panelling.
The manner in which the Armoury reinforces its residential context within downtown Brockville and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
-the armoury’s relatively low massing that makes it compatible in scale with its neighbouring area of houses and newer mixed use commercial and residential buildings;
-its distinctive appearance which makes it a familiar landmark in the community.