The Small Arms Inspection Building History
"The Lakeview community has had a strong industrial and military presence, playing a significant role in Canada's history from the early 1800s. The Small Arms Inspection Building is the last remaining building on the site dating from the 1940s."
The Small Arms Inspection building is located on the 15.7-hectare parcel of land known as the Arsenal Lands on the eastern border of the Mississauga waterfront. This parcel of land sits on what was the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the traditional homeland of the Wendat, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee nations.
In 1806, the lands were patented to Colonel Samuel Smith who served with the Queen’s Rangers during the Revolutionary War and later as administrator of the Province. In 1910 the land was acquired for military purposes and shortly after registered by the Department of National Defense as ‘The Toronto Barracks Site’. The lands became part of the Long Branch Rifle Ranges which were used as an active site for militia training and a Cadet program used by the Department of National Defence during World War I. Remnants of the bunkers remain on the site today.
In 1915 Canada’s first aerodrome operated on the current Ontario Power Generation lands to the west, training pilots that went to England to serve with the Royal Naval Air Services during World War I. In 1930 the Small Arms Limited Building was designed by Allward and Gouinlock Architects.
The Department of Defence purchased the Arsenals Lands and Small Arms Limited in 1935 and in 1940 the site became a large munitions plant manufacturing rifles and small arms for the Canadian Army through the Second World War until 1974.
Small Arms Limited recruited and supported a significant number of women who made up about 2/3 of the factory’s workforce. This was critical to changing the role of women and recognizing their significance to the workforce in Canada.
In 1992, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) acquired the Arsenal Lands and the Small Arms Inspection Building. In 2008 the City of Mississauga intervened as the building was scheduled for demolition and designated the building under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2009.
The Building includes over 43,000ft2 with three distinct components: a two-storey front former administration wing, a bridging section with one- and two-storey components, and a rear one-storey former inspection plant. The Arsenal Lands are currently zoned “Open Space” (OS2); which allows for a range of active and passive recreational opportunities.