5. Beatty Street Drill Hall (1899-1901); Bessborough Armoury (1931-1932)

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2003 Top10 Watch List

5. Beatty Street Drill Hall (1899-1901); Bessborough Armoury (1931-1932)
Exterior of Beatty Street Drill Hall (1899-1901); CVA AM54-S4-: Bu P721

The Beatty Street Drill Hall, built from 1899 to 1901 as the headquarters of the B.C. Regiment, Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles, is Vancouver’s oldest surviving drill hall.

The structure, with its massive brick walls, crenellated turrets and original interiors, is an A-listed heritage building.

The Bessborough Armoury, a B-listed heritage site, was constructed between 1931 and 1933, and was officially opened by the Earl of Bessborough in 1934. This later structure is reinforced concrete rather than brick, and features cast Art Deco motifs.

Both the Beatty Street and Bessborough facilities are threatened by federal plans to consolidate military reserve operations in new utilitarian structures adjacent to the Seaforth Armoury at First and Burrard. Both buildings retain their historic military reserve functions.

Maintaining the original function is crucial not only to their historic significance but ultimately to their survival — otherwise they risk abandonment, decay, demolition, or at best conversion.