Long Branch Rifle Range(s), Small Arms Building, and the Arsenal Lands
In subsequent posts, I’ve begun referring to the Long Branch Rifle Ranges (that is, “ranges” in plural. Occasionally, the name that is used is “range” (singular).
The military history mural currently located at the front of the Small Arms building at Dixie Road and Lakeshore Road East in Mississauga will, as I understand, be moved to the building facade in the spring of 2015.
My most recent post about the Small Arms building, also known as the Small Arms Inspection Building, is entitled:
I much admire the stylized, gestural quality of the imagery at the Small Arms mural. The mural shows evidence of extensive research, a coherent approach to composition and design, and the coordinated efforts of many artists.
The gestural quality is associated with a sense of energy and vigour that is a source of inspiration for me. I like to think the mural was created under deadline conditions; it’s my belief that such conditions would help to account for the mural’s sense of energy and directness.
The images of the four officers, dressed in green outfits, fit in well with the traffic signs – of trucks entering into a roadway, of kids at play in areas where motor vehicles may be travelling, and the like – in the surrounding area. The images depend upon simplified (yet often expressive) outlines and forms to effectively communicate messages. The entire area in the vicinity of the mural and far beyond is an outdoor museum, is an outdoor art gallery, curated by each passerby.What is art, what is artifact, depends upon curation and context. It depends upon how we define things in everyday life.
Click on the images to enlarge them. Click again to enlarge them further
Figure D, in the detail highlighted at this post, is an especially appealing image. The posture of the officer tells a particular story of a person’s demeanour and experiences in life. His expression is not easy to read; it’s up to each viewer to decide what feeling the expression evokes. The image and the mural as whole constitute an evocative, fully realized work of art.
Archaeological Assessment (Stage 1)
Other properties in the area of the Small Arms building include the G.E. Booth Waste Water Treatment Facility, the Long Branch Rifle Ranges, and the Arsenal Lands.
A July 25, 2013 Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project document, at the Credit Valley Conservation Authority website, entitled Appendix J – Archaeological Assessment (Stage 1), provides the following overview (which I’ve broken into shorter paragraphs) of the Arsenal Lands and Long Branch Rifle Ranges [the document switches between “Range” and “Ranges”; a City of Mississauga document uses the singular form]:
“In 1910,” the document notes, “the Minister of Militia and Defense for the Dominion of Canada purchased part Lot 4 and 5 for a military training facility. Often the term Arsenal Lands is used locally to define the area west of Etobicoke Creek to the former location of the aerodrome site west of the Long Branch Rifle Ranges.
“By the early 1940s a large munitions factory was constructed on the property to support the Second World War and was known as the Small Arms Limited. In addition to the 81,000 square foot factory there existed a water tower, several administration buildings and miscellaneous outbuildings.
“Many jobs became available and Lakeview had a housing boom to shelter the women who came to produce munitions for the men who were overseas.
“After the war, the company became part of Canadian Arsenal Limited and continued to produce a small amount of weapons for the Crown but was later sold due to competition with private companies.
“Since that time, the property has been leased to Ontario Power Generation for use as a training facility for hydro workers, has been used as a drill hall for the Cadet Organization Police School, was sold to Canada Post for use as a sorting and distribution centre and most recently purchased by the TRCA in the early 1990s.
“In 1996 the large factory was demolished. The only surviving structures of the wartime industry are the Small Arms Inspection building built in 1941 and the water tower built in 1910 during World War I.”
Long Branch Rifle Range
“In 1868,” the document adds, “the Ontario Rifle Association was formed to train militia. At the request of the City of Toronto their base of operation was moved in 1891 from Garrison Commons at Fort York to property in Lakeview which became known as the Long Branch Rifle Ranges.
“The range acted as a training ground for the Department of National Defense during World War II and as the administration offices for the Royal Ontario Air Force. The Long Branch Rifle Range closed its doors in 1957. While the majority of the rifle ranges lay to the west of the study area, a portion is now in the location of the G.E. Booth [Waste Water Treatment Facility].
“Earthen-filled wooden baffles and a concrete backstop [are] the only surviving remnants of the rifle ranges located in the greenspace south of the Small Arms Inspection Building. This area is currently owned by the Region of Peel.”
[End of texts from Credit Valley Conservation Authority website]
The source for the two overviews is a July 25, 2013 Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project document at the Credit Valley Conservation Authority website entitled Appendix J – Archaeological Assessment (Stage 1). If you have information that may account for the ambiguity related to whether we are dealing with a Range or Ranges, please contact me.