Defence

Reconstruction coming to North Park Armoury

MP Andy Fillmore made the announcement on Tuesday

Repairs are coming to the western wall of Halifax’s North Park Armory.   Alexander Myrick

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, the Canadian government announced that an investment of $14 million would be allocated to rehabilitate the historic North Park Armoury.

In the very same announcement, this sum was overshadowed by the much larger amount of $66 million, which the government pledged towards the construction of a new armoury. It is set to be completed in fall of 2018 in Willow Park, Halifax.

Member of Parliament for Halifax, Andy Fillmore, made the announcement regarding these investments at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax Windsor Park.

“In addition to supporting the military women and men working in our community who make us so proud, this investment will bring meaningful jobs to the local economy and sustain economic growth in our province for years to come,” he said in a press release.

In order to properly support and train the military personnel stationed here, CFB Halifax Public Affairs Officer Mike Bonin told the Signal, the forces will use both buildings.

The armoury is a space to train reserve units stationed in Halifax, but Bonin said the current armoury is over capacity. By having a new building, “we’re going to have better training facilities at both locations because the reserves won’t be overcrowded.”

The North Park Armoury was constructed in 1899. It’s one of the municipality’s oldest buildings and has played a prominent role in Halifax’s history, housing soldiers destined for the Boer War and both World Wars. The building was even “wrecked” in the Halifax Explosion. The disaster resulted in the deaths of two soldiers and injured another dozen, according to author John Griffiths Armstrong in his book, The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue.

It was designated a national historic site in 1989 and a federal heritage building in 1991.

For years there have been calls to conserve the building, with former Auditor General Sheila Fraser listing it in a 2007 report as one of Canada’s architectural treasures most in need of repairs.

“When important parts of Canada’s built heritage are lost, future generations of Canadians are deprived of access to key moments of their shared history,” she said in the report.

Bonin says renovations on the old armoury will maintain its historic status and that any construction will “respect the heritage property by following the appropriate construction laws.”

The reconstruction of the building’s sandstone western wall is the top priority. Bonin added that there will be other external repairs, amendments to the roof and internal reconstruction.

When asked about a start date for the repairs, Bonin said there is no definite timeline yet.

“We are still waiting on agreements to be made between tenders and contractors,” he said. “But we hope to begin in the next few months.”