Armoury

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Peterborough, Ontario
View of Peterborough Armoury, showing the large scale and massing which include the front and rear double-storied façades flanked by crenellated corner towers, 1980. (© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1980.)
Entrance
(© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 1980.)
Address : 220 Murray Street, Peterborough Armoury National Historic Site of Canada, Peterborough, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1990-06-21
Dates:
  • 1907 to 1909 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Department of Public Works  (Architect)
  • T.W. Fuller  (Architect)
Custodian: National Defence
FHBRO Report Reference: 89-076
DFRP Number: 09720 00

Description of Historic Place

Located at the Peterborough Armoury National Historic Site of Canada, the large Peterborough Armoury is an excellent example of a robust Romanesque Revival style. Constructed of smooth red brick with a contrasting rough-faced stone foundation and strong stone accents the building features towers, turrets and a crenellated roofline. The large, gabled drill hall, with its high, arched window, counters the horizontal emphasis of the principal façade. The troop door is notable for its elaborately heavy arched entrance with its cannonball motif. Regular windows, stringcourses and decorative stonework enliven the armoury’s three other sides. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Peterborough Armoury is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
The Peterborough Armoury is a very good example of a structure associated with the pre-First World War building campaign and the expansion of the volunteer militia. The armoury reflects the federal reform policies of Robert Borden the Minister of Militia and Defence. Borden advocated the supply of arms to all militias and the construction of local training facilities. The building served as a training and recruitment centre during the two World Wars and is home to the Hastings and Prince Edward County Regiment, a regiment distinguished for having earned the largest number of battle honours during the Second World War.

Architectural Value
The Peterborough Armoury is valued for its excellent aesthetic design, a design that clearly expresses its function. It is an excellent example of a class ‘B’ armoury that draws upon military design sources for details and materials. Of particular note is the lively play between lines, colours and textures that are presented in a balanced and controlled composition. The rough-faced stone base and the stone detailing provide textural and visual contrast to the red brick walls. The expansive, gable-roofed drill hall, one of the largest in Canada, provides very good functional space through the use of metal Fink trusses.

Environmental Value
The Peterborough Armoury is compatible with the present downtown character of the setting and is a conspicuous landmark in the area.

Sources: Joan Mattie, Armoury, 220 Murray Street, Peterborough, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review, Office Report 89-076; Armoury, 220 Murray Street, Peterborough, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-076.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its excellent aesthetic, very good functional design, and good quality materials, for example: the large scale and massing which include the front and rear double-storied façades flanked by crenellated corner towers; the structure’s large gable-roofed drill hall with its large arched window surrounded by a strong stone frame; the principal façade that incorporates an arched troop door entrance in rough-faced stone with cannonball ornamentation; the masonry, including the rough-faced stone at the basement level, the flat, red brick walls and decorative stone detailing, including coping, crenellation and stringcourses; the large, open volume of the drill hall interior spanned by exposed metal Fink trusses that support a gable roof on wooden purlins, which are in turn strengthened by herringbone struts; the well-crafted features such as stairways with handsome panelled doors, newel posts and balustrades.

The manner in which the Peterborough Armoury is compatible with the present character of its downtown setting and is a conspicuous landmark in the area, as evidenced by: its large scale, design and distinctive profile that contribute to the character of its downtown setting; the structure’s specialized military role and prominent downtown position next to a park surrounded by open space that make it a community landmark.

Heritage Character Statement

Disclaimer - The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.

The Armoury at Peterborough, Ontario, was designed and buitl in 1907-09 by the Department of Public Works under Chief Architect T.W. Fuller. The building is the property of the Department of National Defence. See FHBRO Building Report 89-76.

Reasons for Designation

The Armoury, which is a National Historic Site, was designated Classified. It was designated because it is a good example of a typical drill hall dating from Canada's third phase of drill hall construction (1896-1918) and it exhibits particularly good architectural design, detailing and craftsmanship.

Built in the Romanesque Revival style during a period of great prosperity for Peterborough, it is one of the larger drill halls in Canada and one of 17 remaining drill halls out of 34 comparable-sized ones. Its setting reinforces the military character of its immediate surroundings. The building is a well-
known and conspicuous landmark within Peterborough and the home of the Hastings and Prince Edward County Regiment.

Character Defining Elements

The heritage character of the Armoury is defined by its basic orientation toward the park, the visible exterior elevations of the original building with its excellent composition, good craftsmanship and detailing and by the interior layout and open drill space.

The building form consists of rectangular blocks attached to a wide main hall with an exterior gable roof.

The exterior elevations are defined by the lively play between its horizontal lines and polychromatic and textural contrasts while maintaining a balanced and controlled composition. Romanesque Revival details include prominent round-headed troop doors, towers, turrets and a crenellated roof line. The surround of the wide main troop door is distinguished by its unique cannonball ornamentation. The first floor windows have bars which reinforce the military character.

The interior drill space, one of the larger ones in Canada, is typical of its time, the broad span made possible through the use of iron Fink trusses. These trusses support a gable roof on wooden purlins which are in turn strengthened by herring-bone struts.

The character of the exterior elevations should be carefully maintained and any work that is required should be carried out with attention to the quality of the craftsmanship, materials and detailing. The interior layout and its well-crafted features such as stairways with handsome paneled doors, newel posts and balustrades should be retained. The building's orientation to the park and surrounding open space should not be compromised.