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Jerry Amernic: The downfall of Canada’s military

FJAG

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Yes. Reserve armouries, almost without exception, are very very dated buildings generally build to house more social clubs that training facilities. One could make a strong argument, for example, to shut down both of them in Edmonton and have the reserve regiments use the enormous LTF and TAPV barn. Hell 41 service could do weekend shifts at 1 Svc.
Reserve armouries were perfectly suited for the housing of the units that existed when the armories were built. They had all the QM and weapon stores needed, enough space for drill - both ceremonial and battle - all the necessary space for the low level of administration needed by units in those days, maybe even a maintenance facility for the half dozen or so vehicles a battalion had, lecture rooms and yes, a few messes.

Our use of those spaces over the last half century has changed dramatically and few of the buildings could be adequately upgraded in a way to make them more suitable.

Moss Park is a bad example because it is a relatively new armoury (1965) but was stressed almost the moment it was built by having to house four battalion sized units and, while it has an underground garage, its adjacent footprint for both military and civilian parking is almost entirely absent. Bad, bad planning caused by too many politicians and senior retired and serving officers in the pie.

I always thought that the divestiture of Downsview was stupid. I have the same opinion about the divestiture of CFB Calgary. I'm a firm follower of John Jacob Astor's:

Buy on the fringe and wait. Buy land near a growing city! Buy real estate when other people want to sell. Hold what you buy.

You'll never, ever have the opportunity to rebuy land in or very near a city at an economical price. If you don't have a use for it now, turn it into a cow pasture and rent it out to an urban farmer on a year-to-year lease. Someday you'll need a big patch of land in the city. If you already have it - you're golden.

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GK .Dundas

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It's the thing about real estate and why buying land whenever possible is advised .
Simply put with the possible exceptions of Iceland and Hawaii. ,they're not making it anymore.
 

FJAG

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It's the thing about real estate and why buying land whenever possible is advised .
Simply put with the possible exceptions of Iceland and Hawaii. ,they're not making it anymore.



Season 9 Yes GIF by Friends


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markppcli

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Reserve armouries were perfectly suited for the housing of the units that existed when the armories were built. They had all the QM and weapon stores needed, enough space for drill - both ceremonial and battle - all the necessary space for the low level of administration needed by units in those days, maybe even a maintenance facility for the half dozen or so vehicles a battalion had, lecture rooms and yes, a few messes.

Our use of those spaces over the last half century has changed dramatically and few of the buildings could be adequately upgraded in a way to make them more suitable.

I would say we’re in the operative word here. See my point about them being very dated. Most of my time in the Reserves I thought it was a very weird structure; having armouries built to facilitate drill nights for essentially neighborhood or community regiments is a concept that should have been left in the Victorian era. Weekend trainings are more value to the training audience, and the tax payer. Additionally you can have those reserve soldiers drive a little longer and probably offer them some different career choices ( perhaps some one in Lethbridge isn’t interested in being Artillery?).
Moss Park is a bad example because it is a relatively new armoury (1965) but was stressed almost the moment it was built by having to house four battalion sized units and, while it has an underground garage, its adjacent footprint for both military and civilian parking is almost entirely absent. Bad, bad planning caused by too many politicians and senior retired and serving officers in the pie.

I always thought that the divestiture of Downsview was stupid. I have the same opinion about the divestiture of CFB Calgary. I'm a firm follower of John Jacob Astor's:

The super bases concept is… difficult I think. I don’t know that the Bdes really need to be co located to work together.
 

mariomike

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Moss Park is a bad example because it is a relatively new armoury (1965) but was stressed almost the moment it was built by having to house four battalion sized units and, < snip >

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Considering the University armoury was demolished in 1963, they had to replace it with something.

I bet the land value, then and now, at Moss Park was / is pretty cheap compared to University Ave.

Moss Park is a short walk from the subway. Also, well served by TTC streetcars and buses.

Close to the downtown core and financial district.

Post-secondary institutions like the U of T, Ryerson, and George Brown College nearby.

Convenient to the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.

while it has an underground garage, its adjacent footprint for both military and civilian parking is almost entirely absent.

I guess if the situation ever became too deperate, they would turn the adjacent green space into a parking lot.
 

Halifax Tar

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Considering the University armoury was demolished in 1963, they had to replace it with something.

I bet the land value, then and now, at Moss Park was / is pretty cheap compared to University Ave.

Moss Park is a short walk from the subway. Also, well served by TTC streetcars and buses.

Close to the downtown core and financial district.

Post-secondary institutions like the U of T, Ryerson, and George Brown College nearby.

Convenient to the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.



I guess if the situation ever became too deperate, they would turn the adjacent green space into a parking lot.

I had no idea there was a university armoury. I had to google it. That looks like it was huge, and similar in style to the Halifax Armory.


Interestingly the architect's grandson is this guy:

 

MilEME09

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Yes. Reserve armouries, almost without exception, are very very dated buildings generally build to house more social clubs that training facilities. One could make a strong argument, for example, to shut down both of them in Edmonton and have the reserve regiments use the enormous LTF and TAPV barn. Hell 41 service could do weekend shifts at 1 Svc.
Debney armoury in Edmonton is actually was of the newest and most modern reserve facilities we have. Proper maintenance facilities, classroom space, a sleeping area for troops on course.

Problem is this is the exception, not the norm, by comparison calgary for example tries to stuff 3 units into the former ASU which is was never designed for.

We are too stuck on history and the regimental mafias will fight tooth and nail to keep their old buildings. If we want a modern army, and a functional reserve, then we need the facilities to properly train, at this point, it would require billions in infrastructure to do.


Your idea though of taking shifts with 1 service isn't far fetched, but I'd argue instead of 1 svc, integrate reserve CSS as an element of base maintenance.
 

mariomike

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I had no idea there was a university armoury. I had to google it. That looks like it was huge, and similar in style to the Halifax Armory.


Interestingly the architect's grandson is this guy:


I never saw it, except in pictures. But, my former unit was there.

The Governor General's Horse Guards and the 5th Column RCASC moved to Denison Armoury at Downsview.
 

daftandbarmy

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Debney armoury in Edmonton is actually was of the newest and most modern reserve facilities we have. Proper maintenance facilities, classroom space, a sleeping area for troops on course.

Problem is this is the exception, not the norm, by comparison calgary for example tries to stuff 3 units into the former ASU which is was never designed for.

We are too stuck on history and the regimental mafias will fight tooth and nail to keep their old buildings. If we want a modern army, and a functional reserve, then we need the facilities to properly train, at this point, it would require billions in infrastructure to do.


Your idea though of taking shifts with 1 service isn't far fetched, but I'd argue instead of 1 svc, integrate reserve CSS as an element of base maintenance.

Not true, in my experience anyways.

Except for a very few examples, the CAF and GAC have no interest or resources to address the infrastructure upgrade needs to bring the Reserves into the 21st C. Regimental Mafias have little to do with such infrastructure investment decisions.

This means replacing/modernizing armouries, many over 100 years old, that consign their troops to train in environments that have remained largely unchanged since the time of their great grandfathers.
 

RangerRay

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I had no idea there was a university armoury. I had to google it. That looks like it was huge, and similar in style to the Halifax Armory.


Interestingly the architect's grandson is this guy:

While these old armouries serve no practical purpose for today’s Reserve, it does seem like a crime to see those beautiful buildings demolished. In a perfect world, our Reserve units would have new armouries to meet their needs and old armouries would be repurposed and preserved.

My unit is in a relatively modern building, but even for a company platoon, it was extremely cramped.
 

Spencer100

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Gee what could possibly make us less inclined to wear uniforms out in public ? Was there perhaps a fairly recent violent event ?



Bearing in mind that Gault was already a Captain when he did that, it was a massively different world when he did that. Same with Lord Strathconna, paying for imperial adventure isn’t exactly fashionable for the super wealthy. There’s a reason we have seen Musk’s Own Hussars in Ukraine.
Yes I understand those points. I get it. But then also understand the need for better PR. The CAF is not seen by regular Canadians. I was putting ideas out there. Plus wearing uniforms to more civilian functions, balls, wedding, proms, galas, fund raisers etc. would not in my mind be a huge increase in risks. Also it would not have to be mandatory. Everyone can assess there own risks. (I wish as a whole society we all did this more and less top down control...that's different topic) I would like to see more uniforms out there. I think it would be good for everyone. Plus you know a man (or woman) in uniform! :) And some of them look pretty damn good.

I was not meaning a regimental to go "imperial adventure" but more of a connect with the larger business and social communities. I think it would be great for members after leaving the forces too. Show the talent and skill set of the people in the CAF. As an aside I had to even tell my HR people not disregard past or current service for hiring and put it at the top. It was happening and I didn't even know it (shame on me) Just taking the HR profession they have a natural bias against military types. (don't kill the messenger and may not always be true, but its what I have seen)

I do think if a Regiment went asked a CEO of Large Firm Inc. to be a HCapt HCo etc. they would be interested. Here come on base or Armoury here is a C8 have at it! OH and here you get to have a nice dress ware. Damn most would. I do know that happens now but the individual has to reachout or is a big name IE royalty, pol, or actor etc. I am meaning at the local level and national for CEO of the MegaCorp Inc.

But to go off topic.....raising private regiments to go Imperial adventuring....is that really out of fashion? Wagner, Xe, and other PMC enter the conversation. :)
 

daftandbarmy

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While these old armouries serve no practical purpose for today’s Reserve, it does seem like a crime to see those beautiful buildings demolished. In a perfect world, our Reserve units would have new armouries to meet their needs and old armouries would be repurposed and preserved.

My unit is in a relatively modern building, but even for a company platoon, it was extremely cramped.

I'm no expert in facilities, but some of the old armouries I've seen would likely be condemned by any competent civilian authority given half a chance.

Some I served in were continually falling apart with pipes bursting, roofs leaking, electrical systems failing, walls slumping and parking lots subsiding.
 

Halifax Tar

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I'm no expert in facilities, but some of the old armouries I've seen would likely be condemned by any competent civilian authority given half a chance.

Some I served in were continually falling apart with pipes bursting, roofs leaking, electrical systems failing, walls slumping and parking lots subsiding.

Like the old hangers at Borden or Wellington House in Halifax. Designated historic buildings, so we cant knock them down. Instead we abandon them in the hopes the fall on their own accord sooner than later.
 

FJAG

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I would say we’re in the operative word here. See my point about them being very dated. Most of my time in the Reserves I thought it was a very weird structure; having armouries built to facilitate drill nights for essentially neighborhood or community regiments is a concept that should have been left in the Victorian era. Weekend trainings are more value to the training audience, and the tax payer. Additionally you can have those reserve soldiers drive a little longer and probably offer them some different career choices ( perhaps some one in Lethbridge isn’t interested in being Artillery?).


The super bases concept is… difficult I think. I don’t know that the Bdes really need to be co located to work together.
I agree fully. In the 1800s and early 1900s when cities were smaller and most folks walked or took a horse drawn street car to the armouries, they worked. That ended in the late 1950s to 1960s.

For the reserve force, I still want their facilities close to your potential recruiting pool. Smaller abandoned malls factories in suburban settings could work. So long as there is a good footprint for facilities available.
I bet the land value, then and now, at Moss Park was / is pretty cheap compared to University Ave.
I joined 7th Toronto in the interval, just after University went down and before Moss Park was finished and while we and the QOR paraded in an old four storey warehouse on Richmond Street. (My battery, me included, still claims to be the first unit to have done drill on Moss Park's parade square several weeks before it opened - others dispute that) In those days Moss Park was surrounded by homeless missions and apartments of ill repute. Queen and Jarvis did not have a good reputation. There was a lot of horse trading that went on vis a vis those two plots of land. Personally I think the military got screwed but even then costs of maintaining an old facility like University vs having a spanking new structure made the bean counters eyes shine.

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RangerRay

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Like the old hangers at Borden or Wellington House in Halifax. Designated historic buildings, so we cant knock them down. Instead we abandon them in the hopes the fall on their own accord sooner than later.
I guess my use of the word “preserve” may have been poorly chosen. I lived for a few months on a suite in a heritage house in Victoria. It was well kept, but the landlord was complaining to me one day that being a heritage house, she couldn’t install modern and more efficient fixtures and was quite limited in what she could do to renovate suites to make them appealing to modern renters.

I am not sure what to do with the old armouries. On one hand I would hate to see them demolished. But I imagine they would cost a fortune to repurpose.
 

daftandbarmy

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I guess my use of the word “preserve” may have been poorly chosen. I lived for a few months on a suite in a heritage house in Victoria. It was well kept, but the landlord was complaining to me one day that being a heritage house, she couldn’t install modern and more efficient fixtures and was quite limited in what she could do to renovate suites to make them appealing to modern renters.

I am not sure what to do with the old armouries. On one hand I would hate to see them demolished. But I imagine they would cost a fortune to repurpose.

Or renovate... but at least this is a strong hint that the Seaforths won't be 'cancelled' anytime soon ;)

"The only people making a regular appearance in the building for the last four years were the construction teams that seismically upgraded the armoury, as well as built the Major-General Bert Hoffmeister 39 Brigade facility. Improvements and construction cost $55 million."

 

MilEME09

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Not true, in my experience anyways.

Except for a very few examples, the CAF and GAC have no interest or resources to address the infrastructure upgrade needs to bring the Reserves into the 21st C. Regimental Mafias have little to do with such infrastructure investment decisions.

This means replacing/modernizing armouries, many over 100 years old, that consign their troops to train in environments that have remained largely unchanged since the time of their great grandfathers.
I meant the desire to hold onto old facilities not the money to replace them.
 

Weinie

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Hey there's a place for my sponsorship idea! The RCR Wolseley Barracks presented by Canada Life. The HMCS Star and National Flag Ship Haida by Circle K.

One comment: the old armoury buildings of 1900's will out last the new ones built today.
Judging on the girth of some of the real wood beams I have seen in some of the Armouries, and our shitty engineered stuff today, I don't doubt it.
 
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