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Elora Drill Shed

Elora Drill Shed

Photos by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted December, 2011

Elora Drill Shed

Plaque Location

The County of Wellington
The Township of Centre Wellington
In Elora, on Metcalfe Street
immediately south of the Grand River bridge


Coordinates: N 43 40.798 W 80 25.741

Map

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Plaque Text

This handsome stone structure, built in 1865, is a rare surviving example of early drill hall architecture in Canada. During the 1860s, the American Civil War and the Fenian Raids raised fears for the defence of British North America. In response, the Canadian militia was strengthened, and many rural communities erected drill halls to train their volunteers. Notable for its classical proportions, its semicircular fan light over the door and oculus in the gable, this is an unusually well-constructed building of its type.

Related Ontario plaque
Aurora Armoury

More
Military

Other Plaques in Elora
Charles Clarke 1826-1909
The Founder of Elora
David Boyle 1842-1911

More
Centre Wellington Plaques




Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted October 11, 2015
I am doing research on military drill sheds, since we have the fallen remains of one from 1837-38 built for the Loyalist troops stationed here (a hotbed of the 1837 Rebellion) to suppress rebellious activity. I am interested in knowing the dimensions (LWH) of the building, how many men were stationed here, what troops they consisted of etc. but primarily how it was constructed as we want to reconstruct as much as possible, the squared log structure we have fallen in a nearby field. There was also a squared log powder magazine twinned with it, straddling Centre Street in Lloydtown, which still exists in good condition, though moved to and incorporated in a private home. For many years, loyalist tradition locally insisted that the Drill Shed was not used for military purposes, merely for civic uses (choirs, skating etc). We know troops were quartered here as Rev. Osler was sent to serve the Anglican garrison (under duress as he was terrified of coming to Rebel Town!), but recently friends have passed to me copies of handwritten muster rolls and victualling lists, showing rations purchased, amounts spent, names of officers and men, dates of arrival etc. One could logically assume they were not quartered with hostile rebels(!) so they had to have been in the Drill Shed, the only building large enough (it looks like about 46' x 26' judging from remains) to hold any number of men. The location adjacent to the powder magazine also suggests they would be there for defense. These are the only purpose-built military structures here, so logic says that is where they would be, despite the rather whitewashing loyalist version of events.
I am very excited about our project and hope no one minds my burbling on. If anyone happens to have any details of construction etc., I would be most grateful. I am also wondering if such drill sheds were erected on specific plans, perhaps by British Army Engineers, or whether they were rather ad hoc and "in the head" of any engineer detailed to a particular location, put up quickly as needs be. It is my understanding that there is one from 1874 in Aurora which we will go and see, but also that there were I believe, three blockhouses erected on Bloor St., near Yonge, to defend against the 1837 Rebels and their American allies, a sentiment not far from that governing the Elora construction a bit later. I am also looking into the possibility that the famous Stanley Barracks down by the Exhibition Grounds in Toronto, may have originated in the 1837 Rebellion but have not confirmed that as yet. It looks rather like a large version of the Elora one.
Kathleen Adamson kathleen.adamson@sympatico.ca




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