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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
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 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
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
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
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 Property Report
Officers' Quarters, New Fort
2 Strachan Avenue
Table of Contents
Basic Building Data
1. Garrison Common
2. New Fort
I Short Statement of Reasons for Designation
II Location Map
IV Interior Plan, Stanley Barracks
Heritage Property Report
Basic Building Data:
Address: 2 Strachan Avenue (south side of Princes' Boulevard, west of Princes' Gates)
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
* this does not refer to permitted use(s) as defined in the Zoning By-law
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.
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
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
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.
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
Styrmo, V. N. (Peter). Architecture and Engineering Study of Stanley Barracks . Toronto
Historical Board, 1991.
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.
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