Recognized Federal Heritage Building
St. Catharines, Ontario
© Department of National Defence / Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1990.
8-10 Napier Street, St. Catharines, Ontario
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1905 to 1905
Event, Person, Organization:
Federal Department of Public Works
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
The Armoury is located on flat, open ground in a tree lined, urban street of St. Catharines. The large, brick structure has a sturdy, military appearance with a gable roof, arched windows and large drill hall. The main street elevation features crenellated towers and a large 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 closely associated with the development of the Active Volunteer Militia during the period preceding the First World War. It is also associated with the reform and expansion of the volunteer militia and reflects the federal commitment to provide good local training facilities. The Armoury serves as the regimental headquarters of the local militia and continues to function as a drill hall.
The Armoury is valued for its very good aesthetic design. The bulky, rectangular shape of the armoury is relieved by the irregular roofline and the contrast of its two basic constituents. Crenellated towers, jutting chimneys and window arrangement of the street elevations accentuate its appearance. Its very good functional design is seen in the large, open volume of the drill hall expanded by overhead Fink truss system. Very good craftsmanship is evident in the crenellation and other stone detailing such as the troop door surround.
The Armoury reinforces the present urban character street setting and is a conspicuous neighbourhood landmark.
Sources: Jacqueline Hucker, St. Catharines Armoury, Napier and Lake Streets, St. Catharines, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 90-160; St. Catharines Armoury, Napier and Lake Streets, St. Catharines, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 90-160.
The character-defining elements of the Armoury should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic, functional design, and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example: the massing, and proportions, the large gable roof and irregular roofline; the exterior walls constructed with brick and quarry-faced stone; the rhythmic course of arched windows; the crenellated corner towers of the main façade, the jutting chimneys, and the regular fenestration pattern of the street elevations; the gable-roofed drill hall; the large troop door; the stone foundation, the stringcourses, and copings; the large unobstructed drill hall with exposed iron Fink truss system.
The manner in which the Armoury reinforces the urban character of the setting and is conspicuous neighbourhood landmark, as evidenced by: its scale, design and distinctive profile that reinforce its downtown setting; its prominent location and specialized military role that make it a well-known community landmark.
Heritage Character Statement
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 was constructed in 1905, to plans prepared by the Federal Department of Public Works under the direction of architect T.W. Fuller. It was designed to serve as the regimental headquarters of the local militia and continues to function as a drill hall. The custodian is the Department of National Defence. See FHBRO Building Report 90-160.
Reason for Designation
The armoury was designated Recognized because of its historical association with the development of the Active Volunteer Militia during the period preceding the First World War, because of the quality of its architecture, and because of its contextual importance.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of this property is defined by its form, by the richness of its exterior elevations, by those aspects of the interior indicative of its military function, and by its relationship with the site.
The bulky, rectangular shape of the armoury is relieved by an irregular roofline and the stylistic diversity of its two basic constituents. The expansive gable roof and the rhythmic course of arched windows marking the drill hall contrast with the crenellated towers, jutting chimneys, and rigorous fenestration pattern of the street elevations. It is important to respect these distinctions.
The use of consistent materials and continuous horizontal elements unifies the overall composition. Throughout, quarry faced stonework is juxtaposed with fields of flat brickwork, accentuating the visual links afforded by the massive foundation, string courses, and copings. The interplay of colours and textures inherent in the masonry is an essential feature which should be carefully preserved.
The interior was designed to accommodate a variety of military functions. The voluminous drill hall is especially noteworthy, its floor space totally unobstructed owing to the provision of an overhead Fink truss system. The significance of other internal components should be evaluated, as a preliminary to any proposed intervention. Modifications which alter important spatial characteristics, or which affect historic fabric, should be effected in a reversible manner.
The historic appearance and the scale of the armoury's street facades suit the tree lined, urban setting. Although the former parade square now serves as a parking lot, the existence of flat open grounds adjacent to the drill hall perpetuates a traditional relationship with the site. The resulting vista complements the monumental image of the north facade and favours the building's landmark status.