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Grand old building, constructed in 1913, had a price tag of $30,000

Do you remember when this building was an armory? Home to Georgian College? Trade shows?

Postcard Memories is a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos submitted by Marcel Rousseau. Some were previously published by the Orillia Museum of Art and History and in the book Postcard Memories Orillia. You can take a trip down memory lane with us each Saturday morning!

The Armoury was built in 1913, at a cost of $30,000, by E. Webb & Son, “on the agricultural grounds” more recently known as The Oval.

Webb built many of Orillia’s landmark buildings in the early 1900s including the Tudhope building, the Asylum building, and the addition to the old post office.   

The Armoury had a frontage of 86 feet on West Street and extended 132 feet to the rear. Built of red brick with cement trimmings, it was set back 20 feet from the sidewalk.   

Inside, a drill hall and agriculture hall, 82’ by 100’, was open to the ceiling. The rear 30’ by 82’ was two stories high, with a basement beneath that contained two furnaces, lavatories and a shooting gallery.

The ground floor had six rooms for storage, and a caretaker’s residence.  The upstairs held the men’s quarters, plus one room for officers and one for sergeants.

The first Military Ball was held in the new building on Jan. 8,1914, and was attended by more than 40 out-of-town visitors and military dignitaries, as well as over 150 Orillians eager to participate in this new event on Orillia's social calendar.

Many Orillians will remember the building being used for the storage of a large army tank during the 1940s and 1950s.

The large hall was also used for a while by the Orillla Badminton Club, with annual parties held in the upstairs men’s hall.

For many years the hall was used by the Agricultural Society during their fall fairs held annually at The Oval. It was also used for many other events including the March 1964 Industrial Trade Show (as shown above). 

In the late 1960s, the building was converted to classrooms for Georgian College, and in the 1980s, it was renovated into an apartment building. Today, the property is known as Georgian Apartments, 135 West St. N.