Peterborough Drill Hall / Armoury National Historic Site of Canada
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1980.
220 Murray Street, Peterborough, Ontario
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1907 to 1909
Event, Person, Organization:
Hastings and Prince Edward County Regiment
Peterborough Drill Hall / Armoury
Existing plaque: exterior wall near street entrance 220 Murray Street, Peterborough, Ontario
Riding a wave of national pride and military enthusiasm following the South African War (1899-1902), the Canadian government embarked on a major reform of the nation's defence system. The new programme included an expanded and upgraded militia and the construction of new armouries across the country. The Peterborough Armoury (1907-1909), recalling a Romanesque fortress in its turrets, arched troop doors and crenellated roof line, is one of the largest and best designed examples from this period. It is home to the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces (Reserve).
Description of Historic Place
Prominently located in downtown Peterborough across from Confederation Park, the Peterborough Drill Hall/Armoury is constructed in a robust Romanesque Revival style. The exterior’s red brick contrasts with the rough-faced stone foundation and stone accents. Its handsome proportions, detailing and military motifs are evocative a medieval fortress. The large, gable-roofed drill hall featuring a high, arched window, balances the horizontal emphasis of the principal façade. The main entrance has a monumental quality, its troop door being under a heavy arch set with cannonball trophies. Official recognition refers to the building on its legal lot.
Peterborough Drill Hall/Armoury was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1989 because: it is a good representative example from the third phase of drill hall construction in Canada (1896-1918); it is one of the largest and best designed examples from the period 1907-1909; it is home to the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces (Reserve).
Riding a wave of national pride and military enthusiasm following the South African War (1899-1902), the Canadian government embarked on a major reform of the nation’s defence system. The new program included an expanded and upgraded militia and the construction of new armouries across the country.
Thomas Fuller, Chief Architect of the Federal Department of Public Works, designed Peterborough Drill Hall/Armoury as one of the large, Class B drill halls. It constitutes one of the largest and best-designed examples from this period, measuring 24 metres by 51 metres and includes spaces standard to drill halls by 1909, including armouries, stores, administrative offices, and sanitary services.
The drill hall is home to the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, originally two separate regiments formed in 1800 and 1804, which saw action in numerous conflicts including the War of 1812, the 1837 Rebellion, and both World Wars. The regiment distinguished itself with many battle honours during the Second World War.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1989.
The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
the prominent location in downtown Peterborough; the large scale, massing and distinctive profile, including the front and rear double-storied façades flanked by crenellated corner towers; the structure’s large-roofed drill hall with its large, arched window; the principal façade that incorporates an arched troop door in rough-faced stone with cannonball ornamentation; the distinctive masonry pattern, including rough-faced stone foundation and red brick walls with decorative stone detailing, including coping, crenellation and stringcourses; the large, unobstructed volume of the drill hall interior spanned by the exposed metal Fink trusses that support a gable roof on wooden purlins, which are in turn, strengthened by herringbone struts; the functional design illustrating a Class B armoury, with its double height drill hall space flanked by auxiliary rooms; decorative interior such as stairways with handsome newel posts and balustrades, and panelled doors.