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Barrie Armoury

Park Street, Essa, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/07/14

Corner view of the Barrie Armoury, showing the characteristic towers, 1997.; Department of National Defence / Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1997.
General view
Side elevation of the Barrie Armoury, showing the primary building materials including concrete, red brick, and limestone trim, 1997.; Department of National Defence / Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1997.
Front elevation of the Barrie Armoury, showing the three-arched entrance, 1997.; Department of National Defence / Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1997.

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1913/01/01 to 1914/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/06/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Barrie Armoury is a large, mansard roofed structure located in a residential area near the centre of the city. Sturdy projecting towers and a three-arched entrance provide a fortress motif, characteristic of this building type. It is built of red brick trimmed with limestone details. Lecture rooms, storage facilities and administration offices surround a large drill hall. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Barrie Armoury is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.

Historical Value
Barrie Armoury is associated with the provision of drill halls for the active volunteer Militia in Canada, specifically under Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence from 1911 to 1916. He expedited the program of armoury construction initiated by Frederick Borden. In the interest of reducing costs, he handed over the design of the majority of armouries to his Engineering Services Branch. Armouries were invaluable as centers for the conscription and training of the overseas expeditionary force.

Architectural Value
Barrie Armoury is valued for its good aesthetic design. The fortress motifs, characteristic of Canadian armouries, are featured in the towers, three-arched entrance and the choice and application of building materials, including concrete, red brick, limestone trim and, on the interior, exposed steel roof trusses. The unobstructed interior of the drill hall and its surrounding space exhibits a very good functional design.

Environmental Value
Barrie Armoury is located on a large, flat site and is compatible with the residential character of its setting near the centre of the city. The building is a well-known local landmark in the city.

Sources: Barrie Armoury, CFB Borden, Barrie, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Review Office, Building Report, 97-012; Barrie Armoury, CFB Borden, Barrie, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 97-012.

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements of Barrie Armoury should be respected.

Its good aesthetic design and fortress motif, very good functional design, and very good
materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the monumental scale and symmetrical massing;
-the principal features of the façade, which give it its militia appearance, including the
towers and the three-arched entranceway leading to the drill hall;
-the materials on the exterior such as the concrete basement, rough-faced, randomly
coursed limestone blocks and red brick trimmed with dressed limestone, and on the
interior the steel trusses over the drill hall;
-the repetitive pattern of piers and window openings which expresses the structural
system; and,
-the decorative exterior details which include the strong stringcourse, flat arches,
deeply recessed doors, narrow loop hole windows and details of the entranceway.

The manner in which the Armoury reinforces the character of its residential setting near the centre of the city and is a local landmark as evidenced by:
-its overall large scale, fortress-like appearance and materials which contribute a
monumental presence to the open character of the residential setting; and,
-its visibility and familiarity given its large scale, prominent location and role within the
community which makes it well-known.




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

Engineer Services Branch



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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