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Authority:     Toronto Community Council Report No. 6, Clause No. 55, 
               as adopted by City of Toronto Council on April 13, 14 and 15, 1999
Enacted by Council:  April 15, 1999      CITY OF TORONTO
                                       BY-LAW No.  188-1999

 To designate the property at 2 Strachan Avenue (Stanley Barracks) as being of architectural and
                                  historical value or interest. 

        WHEREAS authority  was granted  by Council  to designate  the property  at No. 2  Strachan
Avenue as being of architectural and historical value or interest; and

        WHEREAS the Ontario Heritage Act authorizes the Council of a municipality to enact by-laws
to  designate real  property,  including  all  the buildings  and  structures  thereon, to  be  of
historical or architectural value or interest; and

        WHEREAS the Council of the City  of Toronto has caused to be served upon  the owner of the
land and premises known as No.  2 Strachan Avenue and upon the Ontario Heritage Foundation, Notice
of Intention to designate the property  and has caused the Notice of Intention to be published  in
a newspaper having a general circulation in the  municipality as required by the  Ontario Heritage
Act; and

        WHEREAS the reasons for designation are set out in Schedule  B  to this by-law; and

        WHEREAS no notice  of objection to the  proposed designation was served upon  the Clerk of
the municipality;

        The Council of the City of Toronto HEREBY ENACTS as follows:

        1.     The property  at No. 2 Strachan  Avenue, more particularly  described and shown  on
Schedule  A  to  this by-law,  is designated as  being of  architectural and  historical value  or

        2.     The City Solicitor  is authorized to cause a  copy of this  by-law to be registered
against  the  property described  in Schedules   A  and   C   to this  by-law in  the proper  Land
Registry Office.

        3.     The City Clerk is authorized to cause a  copy of this by-law to be  served upon the
owner of the  property at No. 2  Strachan Avenue and upon the  Ontario Heritage Foundation and  to
cause notice of this by-law to be published  in a newspaper having general circulation in the City
of Toronto as required by the Ontario Heritage Act.

        ENACTED AND PASSED this 15th day of  April, A.D. 1999.

CASE OOTES,                                                                NOVINA WONG,           
        Deputy Mayor                                                                    City Clerk

(Corporate Seal)

                               SCHEDULE  A  TO BY-LAW No. 188-1999
               In the  City of  Toronto and  Province of Ontario,  being composed  of part of  the
Ordnance Reserve (Block 14) according to  a Plan by Dennis and Gossage, Provincial Land Surveyors,
dated January,  1857 registered in the Land  Registry Office for the Metropolitan Toronto Registry
Division (No. 64) the boundaries of the land being described as follows:

               PREMISING that the bearings hereinafter mentioned are grid and are referred to  the
Central  Meridian  79 degrees  and  30 minutes  West  Longitude through  Zone  10  of  the Ontario
Co-ordinate System then;

               COMMENCING at a point the location of which may be arrived at as follows:

               BEGINNING at the most  northerly angle of  PART 3 on Plan 63R-274 deposited  in the
said  Land Registry  Office, being  the northwesterly  corner of  Strachan Avenue  and Lake  Shore
Boulevard West;

               THENCE South  63 degrees 23 minutes and 40 seconds West a distance of 340.31 metres
to the point of commencement;

               THENCE South 28 degrees 38 minutes and 50 seconds East a distance of 71.78 metres;

               THENCE South 62 degrees 00 minutes and 30 seconds West a distance of 34.71 metres;

               THENCE South 30 degrees 25 minutes and 20 seconds East a distance of 2.65 metres;

               THENCE South 59 degrees 34 minutes and 40 seconds West a distance of 10.45 metres;

               THENCE North 30 degrees 25 minutes and 20 seconds West a distance of 2.65 metres;

               THENCE South 61 degrees 31 minutes and 10 seconds East a distance of 43.02 metres;

               THENCE North 28 degrees 35 minutes and 35 seconds West a distance of 70.83 metres;

               THENCE North 60 degrees 51 minutes and 50 seconds  East a distance of 88.11 metres,
more or less, to the point of commencement.

               The   hereinbefore  described   land  being   delineated   by  heavy   outline   on
plan SYE2916 dated March 19, 1999, as set out in Schedule C.

                               SCHEDULE  B  TO BY-LAW No. 188-1999

                                         Heritage Toronto
                                     Heritage Property Report

                                   Officers' Quarters, New Fort

                                        (Stanley Barracks)

                                        2 Strachan Avenue

                                          November 1998
                                        Table of Contents

                                       Basic Building Data

Historical Background

1.      Garrison Common

2.       New Fort 
Architectural Description

Sources Consulted

I       Short Statement of Reasons for Designation

II      Location Map

III     Photographs

IV      Interior Plan, Stanley Barracks


Heritage Toronto
Heritage Property Report

Basic Building Data:

Address: 2 Strachan Avenue (south side of Princes' Boulevard, west of Princes' Gates)

Ward:     20

Current Name:  Stanley Barracks

Historical Name:       Officers' Quarters, New Fort
Construction Date:     1840-1841

Architect:             Royal Engineers

Contractor/Builder: Royal Engineers

Additions/Alterations: post-1957  (for Toronto Historical Board): slate roof  replaced with metal;
stone chimneys rebuilt; exterior  stairs reconstructed on  south and east walls; windows  restored
on south wall; shutters restored;  for earlier changes, see "Architecture and Engineering Study of
Stanley Barracks" prepared for  the Toronto Historical Board under  the direction of V. N. (Peter)

Original Owner:        British War Office

Original Use:          military (barracks)
Current Use*:          not applicable

Heritage Category:     Landmark Heritage Property (Category A)

Recording Date:        November 1998

Recorder:HPD:  KA

* this does not refer to permitted use(s) as defined in the Zoning By-law


Historical Background:
1. Garrison Common:
In 1793,  York was established as  the temporary capital of the Province of  Upper Canada and as a
permanent  military base removed from the  American frontier. The lands along Lake Ontario between
the townsite and  the Humber  River were  reserved for  the military.  The placement  of the  west
boundary of the Town of York at  Peter Street in 1796 marked the  first incursion into the reserve
for residential development. In  the 1840s, the military provided  land to the City of Toronto for
the Provincial  Lunatic Asylum and the first  exhibition grounds on Queen Street West. The Toronto
Industrial Exhibition --forerunner to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) -- opened on new  and
permanent  exhibition grounds in the reserve east of Dufferin Street  in 1878. By 1900, Exhibition
Place  extended east  toward present-day Strachan  Avenue and  the site  reserved by  the Canadian
military as 'New Fort' (the location of Stanley Barracks).

With the founding of York, the first British military  post in Toronto was Fort  York, established
near the foot  of modern Bathurst Street  in 1793. Because the  Toronto Islands originally were  a
peninsula attached to the mainland, there was only one entrance  to the harbour, at its west  end.
The Fort  York site was ideally sited to repel invaders, being located on the waterfront about one
hundred metres  north of  the channel.  (Since then,  the shoreline  has been  moved nine  hundred
metres to the south through lake fill operations between the 1850s and the 1920s.)
As early as the  1820s, military officials wanted to replace  Fort York with a  new garrison. This
desire stemmed  from two problems. One was the need  to build new barracks for the  troops. As the
facilities at the Old Fort  had deteriorated rapidly after the War  of 1812, there was  a need for
larger, better-ventilated, and permanent stone buildings.  The other problem was defensive. By the
1830s,  a sandbar - located approximately  at the site of  today's City Centre  Airport - began to
shift. This  change made a  position one kilometre west  of Fort York better suited  for a harbour
defence. Accordingly,  Lieutenant-Governor Sir  John Colborne  had plans  developed  for the  'New
Fort' (Stanley Barracks) location. 

2.  New Fort :

Colborne  proposed to  construct  a number  of stone  buildings  around a  parade  ground,  and to
surround  them  with  stone and  earth  defences mounting  heavy  artillery.  To  supplement these
defences,  he hoped  to build a  battery on the  new Queen's Wharf  (which was to  extend over two
hundred metres into the harbour from  the foot of Bathurst  Street). On the peninsula side of  the
harbour, Colborne planned to erect three stone defensive towers as additional protection.

In the early 1830s, construction plans for  secondary military posts such as  Toronto were put off
because the army's building programme in  Upper Canada at that time  exceeded budget estimates. It
was not until  the shock  of the Rebellion  of 1837  that work  began on  Toronto's new  barracks,
utilizing the 1833 plans.  To finance construction, the  army sold most of the eastern  end of its
Toronto military reserve, opening  up the  area south of Queen  Street between Peter and  Bathurst
streets for urban development.
The 'New  Fort' was built for  19,000 pounds in 1840-1841.  Colborne's planned defences,  however,
were not  constructed since the immediate  crisis of the Rebellion  had passed. The only  security
for the fort  was a stockade surrounding its  perimeter. Fort York continued to serve as Toronto's
primary  harbour defence  until the Canadian  army declared  it obsolete  in the  1880s. While the
barracks at  the New  Fort were  a great improvement  over those  at Fort York,  they were  hardly
ideal. Furnaces  were installed and  other improvements were made to the  barracks over the years,
but soldiers constantly complained  about their quarters.  The New Fort also lacked  storage space
and married quarters,  so Fort York fulfilled  these functions until  the 1930s when  the City  of
Toronto restored it as a historic site museum.

During the New Fort's early years, the garrison was  made up of several famous  British regiments,
such as  the  Royal  Canadian  Rifles,  the  Seventy-First  Highland  Light  Infantry,  the  Royal
Artillery, and the  Thirteenth Hussars.  These troops played  a significant  role in  the life  of
Toronto. They were major consumers  of the city's goods and services, thereby contributing to  the

community's  prosperity. The presence of  an imperial garrison  helped shape  the character of the
provincial capital,  and the men of  the garrison regularly  rushed into the downtown  to help put
out fires.  The troops were dispatched to help the civil authorities deal with civil disobedience,
such as the riots that followed the passage  of the Rebellion Losses Bill in  1849. The regimental
bands from  the New  Fort performed  for  the people  of Toronto,  often as  a 'public  relations'
gesture  to undo  some  of the  damage other  soldiers had  caused  by  their drunk  or disorderly
behaviour in the city.

The  British  army withdrew  from Toronto  in  1870, transferring  responsibility  for  the city's
military works to  the new  Dominion of Canada.  The first  detachment of  the Canadian  Permanent
Force moved  into the New  Fort in 1872 to discharge their  primary responsibility of training the
Toronto  militia  regiments  that provided  defence  for the  community.  In  1873,  following the
establishment  of the  North-West Mounted  Police  (later  the Royal  Canadian Mounted  Police, or
RCMP), the first   Mounties  assembled and trained at the New Fort before  beginning their journey
to bring law and order to the Canadian West. 
After 1883, the garrison was enlarged  when 'C' Company of the School  of Infantry moved into  the
New Fort. (In  the 1890s, the School of  Infantry was reorganized as the Royal Canadian Regiment.)
The Royal Canadian  Dragoons transferred to  Toronto in 1893,  adding a cavalry  component to  the
garrison. At  the same  time, the federal  government renamed the  New Fort  Stanley  Barracks  in
honour of the retiring governor-general, Lord Stanley of Preston (of Stanley Cup fame).

From  Stanley Barracks,  regulars and  militia marched  off  to  repel the  Fenian raiders  in the
Niagara Peninsula  in 1866,  to suppress the Red  River Rebellion of  1870, to put down  the North
West Rebellion in 1885,  to assert Canadian sovereignty in  the Yukon goldfields of the 1890s, and
to participate  in imperial defence  in the South African  War at the turn of  the century. During
World  War I,  the number  of troops  being trained  in Toronto  at any one  time numbered  in the
thousands. Stanley Barracks was  too small to house these men, so  the army took over most of  the
CNE grounds, or 'Exhibition Camp' as it was named by the military.  It was during this period that
the  New Fort  was  used for  its  most  controversial  purpose. Enemy  aliens  - German,  Austro-
Hungarian, and Turkish  citizens - were interned for the war. Many were  processed through Stanley
Barracks on their  way to camps elsewhere in the  country. When the  conflict ended, they returned
to Canadian society through Stanley Barracks.

In the 1920s and 1930s,  Stanley Barracks continued  to house the Royal Canadian Regiment  and the
Royal Canadian Dragoons.  World War II saw the reestablishment of Exhibition Camp.  After the war,
the army no longer needed  Stanley Barracks. Abandoned by the Canadian army in 1947, the  property
was  used briefly  for public  housing.  Between 1951  and 1953,  all of  the buildings,  with the
exception of the  Officers' Quarters,  were torn down  to create  parking space  for the  Canadian
National  Exhibition.  The  entrance gates  were  salvaged  and form  part  of  the Spencer  Clark
Collection at the Guild Inn in Scarborough.

Stanley Barracks  provided a home to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame for a time in the mid 1950s.
Then, the  Toronto Civic  Historical Committee,  the forerunner  of the  Toronto Historical  Board
(renamed  Heritage Toronto) took over the  Officers' Quarters. In  1959, Lord Louis Mountbatten of
Burma  opened the Marine Museum  of Upper Canada in the  building. It served as  a museum facility
until 1998 when the Marine Museum moved to its new Harbourfront location,  The Pier.  

Architectural Description:
The design for the Officers' Quarters at New Fort  is a modification of the plans for the building
prepared by  Colonel Gustavus Nicholls of the  Corps of Engineers (Royal Engineers) in 1833. While
not trained  architects, the  officers of  the Royal  Engineers received  rudimentary training  in
architectural  design as  part of  their curriculum  at the  Royal  Military Academy  in Woolwich,
England. Individual talent,  the availability of  architectural pattern  books, and  international
travel  generally augmented this background. In  Upper Canada, two  stone redoubts erected in 1771
at Fort Niagara (to  designs attributed to Chief  Engineer John Montresor)  blended function  with
high style, a combination that influenced subsequent military architecture in the province.

The  Officers' Quarters  at New  Fort is  designed in  the Georgian  style, influenced  by English
Palladianism and  identified by  its symmetry  and Classical  detailing.  The  building rises  two

stories (plus attic) over  a full basement exposed in a  dry moat. The building is constructed  of
stone, brick and wood with stone,  wood and metal  detailing. Above a base of Kingston  limestone,
the thick stone walls are built with Queenston limestone. A steeply  pitched gable roof with metal
cladding (replacing the original tin and  19th century slate roofs) has  nine large stone chimneys
and stone parapets  on the east and  west gables. Designed to face  north toward a parade  ground,
the long  north façade is organized  into 16 bays with an elevated entrance  in the fifth bay from
either end.  The entrances are  set in simple  surrounds with rectangular  transoms and  Classical
architraves.  Single eight-panel  wood doors  have iron  hardware. The  entrances are  reached  by
arched stone stairs that  transverse the moat. Rectangular-headed  window openings in  all stories
have  stone lintels and sills. The openings contain recessed casement windows with 12-over-12 sash
and display interior wood shutters. 

The rear (south) wall  facing Lake Ontario is  identical to the principal  (north) façade. On  the
side (east  and west walls),  single entrance doors are  reached by stone stairs,  while the upper
stories contain rectangular-headed window openings.
The interior was originally organized as two distinct sections (once divided by a  masonry wall to
create self-contained  units), with  the east two-thirds  housing the Officers'  Quarters and  the
west third as the Barracks Master's Quarters. The  wide central corridors that run in an east-west
direction on  the first and second stories  are accessed by two cantilevered stone staircases with
iron railings that rise from the basement to the second storey. Six  of the original 39 fireplaces
survive intact, although the stone mantels have been  replaced with wood. Most of the wood floors,
woodwork doors and hardware are original. The iron coal screen in the  Plimsoll Room (on the north
side, west end of the  second floor) and the cast iron cook  stove in the northeast  corner of the
basement   are  original  artifacts.  (The  interior  elements  are  described  in  the  document,
 Architecture and Engineering Study of  Stanley Barracks , and the interior plans are appended  as
Attachment IV.) 


The Officers' Quarters at New Fort originated as the centerpiece of a group of military  buildings
located on the north shore of Lake Ontario west of 'Old' Fort York. With the creation and  gradual
expansion of the  Exhibition Grounds after  1878, New  Fort was  confined to the  east end of  the
property near Strachan Avenue.  The demolition of  the other military buildings in the  1950s left
the Officers' Quarters as the sole remaining component of New Fort. 

The Officers' Quarters (Stanley Barracks) is located on the south  side of Princes' Boulevard west
of Strachan Avenue. Currently surrounded  by a concrete parking lot, the building is located  next
to  the Automotive Building  and opposite  the National  Trade Centre,  incorporating the Coliseum
complex.  The latter  historical buildings  are identified  on  the City  of Toronto  Inventory of
Heritage Properties.

The  designated area  is bounded  by  the  existing berms  and planters  but excludes  the current
locomotive,  boat and statue. Set apart from the neighbouring buildings, the Officers' Quarters is
a landmark on the exhibition grounds. 


Historically, the Officers' Quarters  of New Fort (Stanley Barracks) is linked to important events
in  the country's past. The  inspiration to build the  New Fort came  out of  a concern to protect
Canada  against  American annexation.  Then,  during the  trauma  of the  Rebellion  of 1837,  the
government began the actual  construction of the fort. The site  was home to both the British  and
Canadian military in Toronto and served as an important training  ground for troops who fought  in
Canada's little  wars  of  the Victorian  era and  in the  major conflagrations  of the  twentieth
century. It is also associated with the origins of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

One of the City's oldest surviving  buildings, the Officers' Quarters is  an early stone structure
in Toronto. As an example of early-19th  century military architecture, it is  unique in the city.
Its Georgian design exemplifies British military architecture in the city, province and country. 
Located on  the exhibition grounds, the Officers'  Quarters is the oldest building in its original
location at Exhibition Place and the sole surviving  component of the New Fort.  It is significant
in its historical and contextual relationship to Fort York.

Sources Consulted:

Benn,  Carl. 'Toronto's  Forgotten Fort,'  Toronto  Historical  Board Explore  Historic Toronto  2

______. Historic Fort York, 1793-1993. Toronto: Natural Heritage/Natural History, 1993. 

Clerk, Nathalie. Palladian Style in Canadian Architecture. Parks Canada, 1984.
Dreyer, Fred.  Three Years in  the Toronto Garrison: The Story  of the Honourable  Gilbert Elliot,
1847-1850.  Ontario History 57 (1965).

Fortier,  Paul.   Fanciful or  functional.  The  British military  and  Georgian  architecture  in
Canada.  The Archivist (September-October 1990) 2-5.

Morton, Desmond.   Sir William  Otter and  the Internment  Operations in  Canada during the  First
World War.  Canadian Historical Review 55 (1974).

Sendzikas, Aldona.  The Last  Bastion: The Story of  Stanley Barracks.  MA  Thesis, University  of
Toronto, 1990.

Styrmo,  V.  N.  (Peter).   Architecture  and  Engineering  Study of  Stanley  Barracks .  Toronto
Historical Board, 1991.

Kathryn Anderson
Carl Benn

November 1998


                                                                                      Attachment I

Short Statement of Reasons for Designation:

The portion of the property  at 2 Strachan Avenue containing  Stanley Barracks is  recommended for
designation for  architectural and  historical reasons. Constructed between  1840 and 1841  by the
Royal Engineers of the  British Army,  the Officers' Quarters is  the sole surviving component  of
the 'New Fort', now known as Stanley Barracks. For over a century,  it served as the home of and a
training ground for both  the British and Canadian  armies, and as the  central military  facility
for the Toronto garrison. It is also associated with the origins of the North  West Mounted Police
(forerunner to the  Royal Canadian Mounted Police) who first trained here. Most of the complex was
demolished  in the  mid-1950s.  In 1998,  Heritage  Toronto ended  its  40-year occupancy  of  the
Officers' Quarters where it operated the City's Marine Museum. 

The  Officers' Quarters is  a significant example of military  architecture inspired by early 19th
century Georgian design. Constructed of Kingston and Queenston limestone, the  building is covered
by a steeply-pitched gable roof with  nine stone chimneys. The  two-storey symmetrical rectangular
plan extends 16 bays  on the north  and south facades above  a raised basement.  All three  levels
have  deep-set casement  windows, and  there are  raised entrances  on all  of the  walls.  On the

interior, the two stone staircases (extending from the  basement to the second storey)  inside the
north and south entrances and the fireplaces are important features.
The Officers' Quarters  is located on  the south  side of Princes Boulevard  near the east  end of
Exhibition Place. (The designated  area is marked by the existing berms and planters, but excludes
the locomotive,  boat and statue.)  Historically, the site  is linked  to important events  in the
country's military history.  An early example  of stone building  in the City,  it is  a rare  and
well-designed example  of military architecture. The Officers' Quarters is also significant in its
historical and contextual relationship to Fort York.


Please note that council and committee documents are provided electronically for information only and do not retain the exact structure of the original versions. For example, charts, images and tables may be difficult to read. As such, readers should verify information before acting on it. All council documents are available from the City Clerk's office. Please e-mail


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