Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre

10440 108 Avenue, Edmonton

Description of Historic Place

The Edmonton Drill Hall / Prince of Wales Armouries is a massive, brick and sandstone structure, with distinctive corner towers, evocative of medieval castle design. A steel superstructure supporting a large convex interior roof structure accommodates the clear span required for the purpose-built military drill hall interior. It’s impressive massing sits comfortably on the five-acre institutional site just north of Edmonton’s downtown.

Heritage Value

The Edmonton Drill Hall / Prince of Wales Armouries is important for its association with Edmonton’s military contribution during WWI and WWII. Its design was unique to Edmonton and representative of Canadian military drill hall design of the period.

Completed in 1915 for Department of National Defense, the Edmonton Drill Hall / Prince of Wales Armouries is significant for its role as Edmonton’s long-term training facility for Canada’s armed forces and for its contribution to the organization, and mobilization of Canada’s military. It became the home of a number of prominent regiments, such as the 51st battalion and the 233rd French-Canadian Battalion during WWI, later, it served as a base for 101st Edmonton Fusiliers, The Loyal Edmonton Regiment and the 49th Regiment.

Originally named The Edmonton Drill Hall, it was renamed the Prince of Wales Armouries in 1921 and was used as a military training site by the Department of National Defence until 1977.

The Edmonton Drill Hall / Prince of Wales Armouries is significant for its scale, massing and medieval castle inspired design. Designed and constructed as a part of a national military training initiative, it is similar to other Drill Halls designed by the Federal Department of Public Works.

Character Defining Elements

The character defining elements as expressed in the form, massing, and materials of the 1915 brick and stone façades such as:

  • two-storey front elevation with prominent central entrance;
  • the projecting central doorway entry with a sandstone arch;
  • flanking brick piers topped with sandstone cannonballs and name plaque with the words “DRILL HALL ” and above “AD 1913 ARMOURIES” around a crest which forms part of the parapet;
  • the south central projecting walls on each side of the main entrance with stone triangular parapet features that sit between the crenellations;
  • the rear doorway with the name plaque “DRILL HALL” in the stone banding;
  • the bastion towers with bartizan turrets, brick machicolation detailing, crenellation detail in the battlements, and projecting mock bastions;
  • the stoned arch doorways in the towers;
  • the timber principal exterior doors;
  • the fenestration pattern and windows styles such as the recessed four over four windows;
  • stone capped parapets with crenellation features above the towers and turrets and central entrance;
  • the flat arch lintels and stone cills;
  • the continuous smooth stone banding at the foundation level and below the parapet level and the rough edge sandstone base;
  • the convex roof supported by arched steel trusses and brick gable ends with large multi-paned half arched windows spanning the width of the drill hall; and
  • flag poles on the east and west towers.

- Edmonton Historical Board

Designation & Awards

Edmonton Historical Board Plaque Award

Provincial Historic Resource (January 31, 1979)

Municipal Historic Resource (August 31, 2004)

Comments

RolandBressmer - 14 Nov 2014

This is from the 80's beside the Victoria Composite High School.

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Gordon W MacDougall - 20 Apr 2016

Hi there, My father, Donald Gordon MacDougall joined the 19th Corps of the Canadian Forestry Corp. He was from the North Thompson area, near Barrier. He was born in 1903 so was a little older than the normal recruit. He completed grade eight and left the army as a lieutenant. He was a good logger and mill man. All those who stepped up to the plate in those times deserves all the recognition they are given, and more.

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JNB - 17 Jul 2017

I am researching for my book based loosely from my father's WWII diary. My mother said he trained in Edmonton where she met him at one of the dance halls. She called it the Palace Gardens, but I haven't found anything on the net that it existed. Has anyone heard of it? Secondly, if my dad was a gunner in the army would he have trained at the Prince of Wales Armourie? He was shipped out 1940 for England

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Era: The War Years
Themes: Government
Cultural Groups:
Area: Central

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    • 53.553019 -113.500378