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Moss Park Armoury

Why do we need an amoury [sic] to trains soldiers in the heart of downtown Toronto?
Canada's soldiers often seem to come from the small towns and rural areas across Canada. Helping to counter this, having an armoury in the actual city of Toronto helps to represent the important and continued role the military plays in Canada's life as a nation.

The Armoury is used not just by the Reserves, but also two Regular force units, plus Army and Air Cadets. It's also used for many community events, including the Toronto Branch of the Pipers' and Pipe Band Society of Ontario. Lastly, let's not forget that Moss Park was centre stage for the Mel Lastman snow rescue in 1999.

I do agree that the building is not attractive in the military sense, much prefer the look of the old University Ave. armoury http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Manège_militaire_de_Toronto.jpg But that's no reason to kick out the Forces.
 
Queen Street East is in dire need of development. The armoury is one of the impediments to foster in that development. I've spoken to Pam McConnell the councilor for the ward several times about this. She is in agreement and has suggested the armoury be moved or ,at least, improved for years to no avail (it's a federal holding). Granted, the deadbeat parking lot east of Church on the north side of Queen E, the less than inspiring park adjacent to the John Innes Rec centre, the plethora of men's homeless shelters at ground zero (Queen E and Sherbourne), and the derelict land around Moss Park (as well as Moss Park itself) all add up to some pretty major impediments. I often ride my bike along Queen East and as soon as I cross Yonge Street the dynamic changes (for the better) drastically. The difference between Queen Street East and West is enormous. I don't understand how miserable intersections like Queen Street E and Church, Jarvis, or Sherbourne are left to rot considering that they sit on some of the most expensive downtown real estate in Canada's largest city. Maybe getting rid of (or moving) the armoury would act as a catalyst to improve this miserable part of downtown.

Can't agree more. All these elements make downtown Queen east bleak and cold, while only 5 minutes south, Adelaide and King are both pretty vibrant and pleasant.

At least relocate some of the homeless shelters to somewhere else. You can't honestly form a "shelter district" in downtown. The armoury itself may serve some important purpose, but does it have to be in the core? The minute you walk past Victoria st, Queen st changed so dramatically. Same for Dundas.

Queen East between Victoria and Jarvis can be so much better considering its location, which is better than Queen/Spadina or John/King. At least five pawnshops sit there around Church/Queen (some of which have gone out of business I think). I have no idea what's the plan for the giant lot near Mutual. It has the potential to transform the whole area. It is not about looking pretty. These are prime locations and can potentially provide so much retail, services, employement and revenue for the city being so close to the Bay, NPS, and Eaton Centre.

It would rather see the Armoury land being a downtown flagship store of Target than something nobody never visits, no matter what "strategic importance" you guys make out of it.

I appreciate citizens like you actually care and talked to councilors about it. Sitting there doing nothing pretending it is ok or nothing can be done is not right.
 
I remember the last time I was in New York coming across the 69th Regiment Armory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/69th_Regiment_Armory) on Lexington Ave. So, such places do exist in the middle of major cities. The problem with the Moss Park Armoury is that it's unattractive and it seems to be in the middle of a wasteland.

It would be nice if it could be fixed up, perhaps with some kind of military memorial, a place that could be used for ceremonies and such. Or maybe feature a museum or display of military history. Or some sort-of community recreational centre? (During the Grey Cup festivities at Nathan Phillips Square, the Canadian military had an obstacle course that individuals could try. I thought it was nice that the Canadian military was doing some outreach to the public. I think we Canadians know very little about what our military does and it would be nice if there was a way for some interaction.)

I'm sure the military has no money to do any of this, however.
 
The problem with the Moss Park Armoury is that it's unattractive and it seems to be in the middle of a wasteland.
That's a fair point. The Fort York Armoury is better looking, but not by much. When I was in Barvaria, Germany they had some very impressively designed armoury buildings in the Alps on the Austrian border, but you couldn't shirk the feeling of Nazi history in the shadows - a good reminder why we need to value our troops.

IIRC, in Quebec the main armoury is the Citadel. A very impressive work.
 
That's a fair point. The Fort York Armoury is better looking, but not by much.

Actually, I don't think many people would have a problem with the Fort York Armoury, aesthetically speaking--such is a 30s creation vs a 60s creation (plus, there's a certain deliberate "historicizing" relationship with Fort York proper, which was restored at the same time). Its problem, such as it is, is more contextual, i.e. stranded in a zone long dominated by industry or Ex parking fields and the Gardiner. Until the recent condo boom, it had no neighbourhood presence because there was, literally, no "neighbourhood" to speak of down there.

By nature, an "active" armoury will always be a bit oppressive unless it actively serves a purpose to the non-military general public with some frequency.
 
The Armoury in St. John NB is downtown, and looks nice...

armourybuilding.jpg


As is the Armoury in Fredericton, NB. I remember the Fredericton one well, where I got to ride in a Leopard C2 tank over a car in the library parking lot during Armed Forces Day.

Here'a a good list of Armouries in Canada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armouries_in_Canada
 
Thanks for the compliment balenciaga. Queen East and Dundas East have been a thorn in my side for many years and I know Pam McConnell, the councillor for the area would like to see it improved as well. I'm not surprised the owners of the parking lot at Queen and Mutual are holding out for more money (rumours?) I think it's owned by the same group that owns Henry's Camera so, if that's true, I'm really not surprised. If I were king of the forest I would tax the snot out of that parking lot. I understand that speculators live by the waiting game but that parking lot has been there for an excessively long time, decades in fact (40 years?). It's a blight and it destroys the value of the adjacent properties and basically gives the finger to the city's collective aesthetic. I have little tolerance for that sort of greed. Anyway, I digress. Maybe I should start a separate thread dedicated to Queen Street East.
 
Thanks for the compliment balenciaga. Queen East and Dundas East have been a thorn in my side for many years and I know Pam McConnell, the councillor for the area would like to see it improved as well. I'm not surprised the owners of the parking lot at Queen and Mutual are holding out for more money (rumours?) I think it's owned by the same group that owns Henry's Camera so, if that's true, I'm really not surprised. If I were king of the forest I would tax the snot out of that parking lot. I understand that speculators live by the waiting game but that parking lot has been there for an excessively long time, decades in fact (40 years?). It's a blight and it destroys the value of the adjacent properties and basically gives the finger to the city's collective aesthetic. I have little tolerance for that sort of greed. Anyway, I digress. Maybe I should start a separate thread dedicated to Queen Street East.

I have no idea why neither any developer, nor the city itself has any interest in developing Queen/Church area, just steps away from the best location in town, especially the NE side, currently occupied by a terribly looking yellow shawama place (used to be Gino's Pizza), and a few pawnshops (business closed), just west of that mutual st parking lot. Those pawnshop are one story slabs. This is such waste of space. It is a fairly large land, how come no one is interested in building any condo or better retail stores? North of the Shawama place, more pawn shops all the way to Shuter st. Where are we exactly? Downtown Detroit?

A Queen E thread sounds a great idea. It is probably the most under valued street in downtown.
 
That was submitted in 2003. It can't be relevant any longer.

Yeah, whatever gets built might well look different. But at the recent community meeting for the proposed tower at 64 Shuter, the city planner presented the three towers on the present parking lot as the anticipated neighbourhood context. So at least city planning is operating under the presumption that that's what we're going to get.

I have no idea why neither any developer, nor the city itself has any interest in developing Queen/Church area, just steps away from the best location in town, especially the NE side, currently occupied by a terribly looking yellow shawama place (used to be Gino's Pizza), and a few pawnshops (business closed), just west of that mutual st parking lot. Those pawnshop are one story slabs. This is such waste of space. It is a fairly large land, how come no one is interested in building any condo or better retail stores? North of the Shawama place, more pawn shops all the way to Shuter st. Where are we exactly? Downtown Detroit?

Well, actually, about half the block is occupied by a mixed-use development with a 28-storey rental apartment building (Jazz by Concert). The ground floor has a Starbucks, Subway, dry cleaners, tanning salon, Hasty Market, and a nail place. There's a law firm on the stretch as well. Pawn shops are less than half of the block and some of them are closed. Also, the entire Church Street frontage is built to at least two storeys, and is mostly three storeys. Hardly huge, but not "one story slabs".

Recently the building immediately to the south of Jazz was demolished. It'll be interesting to see what goes in there.
 
And besides, Queen & Church has always been pawn shop central in Toronto, i.e. it's no recent "Detroitian" phenomenon; but rather, a vestige of when practically every sizeable urban centre in N America had such an inner-city zone. It's a historic (not to be confused with "heritage") thing around these parts--"downtown" has never been uniformly synonymous w/upscale gentility, you know.
 
One last note regarding the armoury. The park, adjacent and to the east of the armoury is a woeful waste of space. Apart from the rarely used tennis courts on the far north end of the park on Shutter Street, there is NOTHING there. There are no benches, no sculptures, no paths, no lights, no landscaping, nothing of visual interest, nothing to compel one to use the space. The park is there to act as a staging area for the Military so the armoury effectively consumes the entire city block. I don't think I've ever seen anyone in that park. It's just a vast desolate space. The north side of Queen East between Church and Parliament is home to several "empty" spaces so there is very little there that can be re-used or gentrified. I think I will start a downtown Queen Street East thread.
 
Though the park could certainly be improved it is not true to say it is not used. Have you seen the community garden just north of the Innis Centre? The tennis courts ARE used in summer and there are often people lying on the grass or running their dogs east of the Armoury. The military use the actual park only VERY occasionally as a staging ground for parades; probably not more than twice a year. Of course the park could be improved and it would be better if the armoury were moved (though it IS used quite a lot and does serve a valid function.)
 

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