Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Trois-Rivières, Quebec
Exterior photo (© (Department of National Defence, 1989.))
Exterior photo
(© (Department of National Defence, 1989.))
Address : 574 St. Francois-Xavier, Trois-Rivières, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1991-04-18
  • 1905 to 1907 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • T.W. Fuller  (Architect)
Custodian: National Defence
FHBRO Report Reference: 90-274
DFRP Number: 06431 00

Description of Historic Place

The Armoury is prominently located in a residential neighbourhood in Trois-Rivières. It is a two-storey, functional building with a low-pitched gable roof. A large structure, clad in red brick with stone details, its form and detailing conjure up the images of a fortress through the incorporation of a crenellated turrets and troop doors. A prominent projecting frontispiece serves as the main entrance and features a tall, round-arched window, a wide troop door and flanking, crenellated towers. 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 value.

Historical Value
The Armoury in Trois-Rivieres is closely associated with Canada’s pre-World War I armoury building campaign and the reform and expansion of the volunteer militia. The building reflects the federal government’s commitment to provide good local training facilities for the militia. The construction of the armoury at its site in Sherbrooke recognized the importance of the town as a military center and reflected its growth and prosperity.

Architectural Value
The Armoury is a very good example of the aesthetic expression typical of T.W. Fuller’s standard armoury design. The structure is evocative of a medieval fortress as evidenced in the solid brick construction, stone detailing and the monumental façade,crenellated turrets and troop doorways. The very good functional design is clearly articulated in the unobstructed interior of the large, gable-roofed drill hall achieved throught the use of Fink trusses. The flat brickwork with rough-faced stonework, as well as the stone shield at the entrance and the stacked cannonballs detail on the gable corner demonstrate the building’s very good craftsmanship and materials.

Environmental Value
The Armoury occupies a prominent corner site and is compatible with the residential character of its neighbourhood setting. It is a conspicuous and familiar building within the community.

Jacqueline Hucker, Armoury, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 90-274; Armoury, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Heritage Character Statement, 90-274.

Character-Defining Elements

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

Its very good standard plan, functional design and quality craftsmanship, for example: the two-storey massing with a gable roof with stepped gable ends and the flat- roofed ancillary block; the simulated features typical of medieval military construction that include a low prominent tower, wood troop door, crenellated three-storey turrets, and tall chimneys; the exterior cladding, executed in red brick with rough-faced limestone string courses, and details, including the arched voussoir over the troop doors, the stone shield, and the stacked cannonballs detail;
-the symmetrically organized facades with regularly arranged, paired two-over-two wood sash windows and the large, multi-panel circular-headed windows all of which have stone sills;
-the large, open drill hall with exposed steel trusses and extensive glazing.

The manner in which the Armoury is compatible with the residential character of its neighbourhood setting and is a familiar landmark within the community, as evidenced by: its scale, high standards of design and materials, which harmonize with its residential surroundings; its size and scale, which are conspicuous within the community which makes it a familiar building.

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 Class 'B' Trois-Rivières Armoury was constructed in 1905-06. It was designed by the Chief Architects Branch of the Department of Public Works under T.W. Fuller. The design has been altered by a one-storey addition along one side and the rear. The building continues to serve as an armoury. The Department of National Defence is the custodian. See FHBRO Building Report 90-274.

Reasons For Designation

The Trois-Rivières Armoury was designated Recognized because of its historical associations and its environmental significance, as well as its architectural importance.

The construction of the armoury is associated with a pre-World War I building campaign and the reform and expansion of the volunteer militia. The armoury reflects federal policy to both supply arms to all militias, and construct good local training facilities. Chief architect T.W. Fuller is associated with the design of the majority of buildings of this program. He developed the characteristic stylistic treatment, drawing upon military design sources.

The armoury occupies a prominent corner site in a residential neighbourhood. Its importance also resides in its size, scale and high standards of design. In its setting the building is compatible in both its scale and materials. It is a conspicuous and familiar building within the community.

The long facade features crenellated towers; either cylindrical at the front corners or octagonal at the substantial frontispiece, chimneys, and stepped end gables which contribute to the sculptural expression of the facades. The central, prominent, frontispiece features an arched voussoir above a wood-framed infill panel incorporating windows and the troop doors. The textural and material contrasts of the brick and stone facade enliven the design. The functional design locates the administrative offices in front of the large unobstructed drill hall, the most distinctive space.

Character Defining Elements

The heritage character of the Trois-Rivières Armoury resides in its overall form, proportions, construction materials, military architectural details, interior planning and volumes, and site relationships. The irregular massing consists of a rectangular, two-storey drill hall with gable roof, which has symmetrical stepped gable ends, and a stepped, flat-roofed ancillary block along one side. The two-storey front block has a complex roof profile with three-storey end and paired central crenellated towers reinforcing the symmetrical composition. The external massing and footprint reflect internal functions, and the clarity of this expression should be maintained. The massing is balanced by a symmetrical, regular pattern of windows and doors which contributes to the visual richness of the facades.

The visual richness of this building also derives from well-scaled facades executed in smooth-faced red brick, with voussoirs on the first floor and corbelling at the cornice. The light coloured rough-faced limestone base, sills and second floor window heads, gable string courses, and carved and smooth detailing of the castellations, provide colour and textural contrast. The stone shield at the entrance and the stacked cannonballs detail on the gable corner buttress reflect the military motif. The brick masonry has been extensively replaced and repointed; repair programs in the future should respect the existing brick size, joint colour and type. The addition of an asymmetrically located steel escape stair to one gable end is a prominent modern intervention that introduces an inappropriate material and design. The character of the building would be enhanced by addressing exit requirements in a more integrated manner which does not detract from the building.

The roof is a prominent feature. Replacement roofing should be based on historical precedent for materials and colours to ensure that the original design intent is respected.

The main facade has a regular rhythm of paired masonry openings with two-over-two wood sash windows, while the end facades have larger, multi-panel circular-headed windows continuing at the rear elevation. There are various windows blocked with solid panels or fans, which alters the symmetrical expression of the glazing. The military character of the design is expressed in the original wood entrance doors with their panelling, which should be maintained where extant. Replacement doors, when they are end of their life, should be replaced with doors based on historical research or extant early material.

The principal entrance is located at the middle of the drill hall, a typical feature of this plan type. The armoury is characterized by the large open volume of the hall, with exposed steel Fink trusses and extensive glazing. The spatial openness and bright, well lighted character of the hall should be maintained, as should original finishes.

A simple ground plane is characteristic of this building's historic setting. The use of turfgrass, asphalt and concrete paving supports this character. Mature specimen trees on the perimeter of the property should be protected and replaced as required. The use of low, clipped hedges gives definition to the site and reinforces the ordered military character. A historically appropriate fence to replace the modern chain link would improve heritage character.