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London Armouries

London Armouries
Plaque no. 42
Date of plaque unveiling
Speakers
John Lutman
Location
325 Dundas Street, London, Ontario (present site of Delta London Armouries Hotel)

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History

London Armouries and Victoria Park are reminders of London’s military history.

In response to the Rebellion of 1837-38, the Imperial government stationed a military garrison in London, which was strategically located. Part of the site chosen later became Victoria Park.

It was used until the British withdrew most of their troops from Canada in 1869, leaving the defense of the country to the Canadian militia. When the former garrison building was destroyed by fire, the local militia required a drill shed.

When this became inadequate, an armouries was built at Dundas and Waterloo streets, and opened with great fanfare on February 1, 1905. Attending this event were Mayor Adam Beck, Sir John Carling and Colonel Peters, militia commandant.

Constructed by Sullivan and Langdon, the Armouries cost about $135,000. Distinctive features included two massive, three-storey, crenelated towers at the entranceway, smaller corner towers, octagonal chimneys, and large, arched windows. 

Architecturally, the London Armouries was similar to others built during this period, such as the Toronto Armouries (now demolished.)

The London Armouries served as the headquarters of militia units from nearly every land forces branch: artillery, cavalry (later armoured regiments), engineers, infantry and units of the medical and service corps.

In 1976, the Department of National Defence closed the Armouries and its demolition seemed certain. But in 1988, a developer converted it into a luxury hotel, adding a twenty storey tower in the centre of the building, and leaving its exterior walls intact.