I’ve been writing about the Small Arms building at 1352 Lakeshore Road East, located at the foot of Dixie Road, for some years.
Occasionally it’s called the Small Arms building and at other times it’s the Small Arms Building. I’m used to the first of the two spellings. Either spelling works fine. I like to be consistent, with regard to my own usage, in such cases.
If you click on the link in the first sentence at this post, you can read previous posts about the Small Arms building. As a result of efforts by the local community in Lakeview in southern Mississauga, the structure was designated as a historic building under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2009. Otherwise, it would have been destroyed. Many other historic buildings in the area are gone, but this one – with thanks to the leadership of Jim Tovey and the local community – remains.
On the morning of Monday, April 6, 2015, I attended a Sledgehammer Ceremony at the Small Arms building.
April 6, 2015 YouTube video
An April 6, 2015 YouTube video from WardOne Mississauga with highlights from the event can be accessed here.
The introduction to the YouTube video reads:
“On Monday April 6th 2015 the demolition/restoration of the historic Small Arms Building began. Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga has kindly offered to assist with the initial demolition phase of the main hall. The aim is to open up the hall of the building in order to create spaces that the community can utilize all year round.
“The Small Arms building has a rich historic background dating back to 1940 and in 2008 was under threat of being demolished. The City of Mississauga designated the structure as a historic building under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2009. Since 2008 the community, our Ward 1 office, the Small Arms Society and the TRCA have been putting into motion the restoration concept of the building so that it can once again be occupied and serve its community.
“The local community created a vision for the adaptive reuse of the building as a centre for arts, heritage, culture and science.”
[End of text]
April 6, 2015 Brampton Guardian article
An April 6, 2015 Brampton Guardian article, entitled “Teardown of interior at Small Arms Building underway,” can be accessed here.
The opening paragraphs of the article read:
“MISSISSAUGA – The first step towards turning the Small Arms Building in Lakeview into a hub of arts, culture, heritage and science was taken this morning (Monday, April 6) as the interior of the building was gutted.
“Dozens of people gathered at the old building – which was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2009 by the City of Mississauga – to mark the occasion and check out some of the work being done by volunteers with Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga. Habitat’s team of trained volunteers were busy tearing down some interior, non-load bearing walls in the building in what is the initial phase of the project.”
[End of excerpt]
Hard hat and safety vest
When I arrived at the site, I switched from street shoes to steel-toed construction boots. I also picked up a hard hat and a safety vest so you could see me at a distance, or up close if there’s a lot of dust. As well, I donned a face mask.
I noticed at once that we were dealing with an organized demolition process. Consider this. I had a large pile of pairs of boots to choose from, and the pairs of boots was identified by their size. As well, by a wall near the back entrance to the building, where the demolition work was underway, First Aid equipment was set up in a way that demonstrated a sense of order and close attention to detail. I saw tools and pieces of equipment that had been laid out, and was impressed by the fact the tools were neatly organized, as opposed to being strewn about at random.The safety equipment meant that it would be safe for me to observe the demolition work that was underway that day, at the Small Arms building, without fear that something would hit me on the head or fall on my toes.
Given that I arrived early, I had the opportunity to visit the room, where the Sledgehammer Ceremony was about to be held, as the room was being set up. I also had the opportunity to meet Jim Tovey, Councillor for Ward 1 in Mississauga, and his wife Lee Tovey, who is a Board Member of the Small Arms Society.
The media event featured brief and enjoyable speeches by assembled dignitaries and a spokesperson from Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga. I was impressed with the tenor and organization of the event, and was very pleased I had the opportunity to attend.
Jim Tovey and the Small Arms building
The story of how Jim Tovey came to be the Councillor for Ward 1 in Mississauga, and how the Small Arms building came to be designated as a heritage property is a source of inspiration for many people. It’s a strong source of inspiration or me. Two brief articles that highlight the back story are:
Mississauga Life, April 2012: Councillor Jim Tovey: Ideas in Motion
Brampton Guardian, March 11, 2010: The women who won the war
August 2013 interview with Jim Tovey
An August 2013 blog post at the Preserved Stories website based on an interview with Jim Tovey is entitled:
Click on the photos to enlarge them. Click again to enlarge them further.