Standing on the corner of Beatty and Dunsmuir Streets on the eastern edge of downtown Vancouver stands a stately building from the beginning of the 20th Century. The Drill Hall, a fine sample of classic military from the Edwardian age, is home to the oldest and finest Regiment in British Columbia. The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own) is a reserve armoured reconnaissance regiment with a long and storied history dating back to the mid-19th Century.
The building was designed by architect David Ewart and opened on 30 September 1901 by the Duke of Cornwall (later King George V). With two large castle-like turrets complete with battlements, and two tanks and a 64-pounder Gun alongside the large white structure, Beatty Street Drill Hall has long been a Vancouver landmark and is listed as a class-A heritage building.
The walls are three and a half feet thick, and the building rests on huge granite blocks. Limestone from Gabriola Island was used for the parapet and it features a rusticated stone trim. The Drill Hall includes a parade square, offices, and store rooms. It formerly contained a firing range and bowling alley. Originally, the Cambie Street Grounds, now a parking lot across the street, was also used as part of the Regiment’s training facilities.
In the Canadian Forces, an armoury is a place where a reserve unit trains, meets, and parades.