“The Old Armoury” is a wood frame structure of approximately 5,000 square feet built by the village of Georgetown in 1866 as a Drill Hall for the local militia. It was designed by well known Canadian Pacific Railway engineer Walter Moberly. In 1890 the structure was relocated from the Market Square area a few blocks away to its present spot in the Fairgrounds Park.
Mark Rowe, Past Chair of the Heritage Halton Hills Committee, states that the Armoury “…has been an integral part of the history of Georgetown throughout its long history. While the building was designed to be purely functional, its historic significance and cultural importance have rendered it more valuable than most fine architecture in the Town. As one of the oldest buildings in the town, the Armoury is a very well known local structure and a fixture of the park. Like many of the older drill halls, it has also served as a community centre and dance hall.”
“The Old Armoury” was built by the townspeople of Georgetown in response to the Fenian raiders, an organization of Irish-Americans trying to bring pressure on Britain to withdraw from Ireland. The importance of the Fenian Raids was in creating a great feeling of Canadian nationalism in British North America and showing Canadians that safety lay in unity. The result was the confederation of the Canada we know today.
Most of the 100 Drill Halls and Armouries which were constructed in Ontario and Quebec have been demolished. Georgetown’s Armoury was the last functioning Drill Hall dating from the 1860s, only ending this role in 1997 when the Lorne Scots, ‘C’ Company moved to their newly constructed Armoury on Todd Road. In World War I “The Old Armoury” served as the recruitment centre for the 4th Battalion which formed part of the first Overseas Expeditionary Force in 1914. During World War II the Lorne Scots served as defense platoons for each “Brigade Headquarters” and since World War II they have provided soldiers for NATO and UN missions and Operations around the world.
Georgetown Globe Productions has committed to preserve and renovate “The Old Armoury” at the Georgetown Fairgrounds Park. The project will transform this important piece of our history into both a home for Globe Productions and a multi-purpose centre for arts, culture and heritage