The Royal Canadian Military Institute or RCMI is located at 426 University Ave (just south of Dundas St W) in Downtown Toronto.
The 125 Year History of the RCMI
In 1890, Lieutenant-Colonel William Dillion Otter founded the member-supported organization which studies and discusses military history, defence, security and international affairs. For the first 15 years, the Institute rented a home just south of their present-day location, where Canada Life Building stands today.
In 1905, the Institute purchased a 2½-storey house at 245 Simcoe St which backed onto University Ave. It was an ideal location as it was only 150 m or 500 ft, diagonally across the street from the University Avenue Armouries. In 1908, the fireproof museum and 3,500 volume library which fronted onto University Ave were completed.
In 1910, the house at 243 Simcoe St was purchased as land in the area was being taken up. In 1915, the address became listed as 96 University Ave as at the time, the southerly limit was at Queen St W. In 1931, the street was lengthened to Front St W and the address was updated to 426 University Ave.
Royal Canadian Military Institute Today
While updates to the century-old building were made through the years, there were concerns about its declining state. The solution came in a complete redevelopment. The original building was demolished in 2010. Reconstruction of the historic façade and interior along with a condo tower took four years to complete. The organization occupies the first 6 1/2 floors of the 42-storey residential condo.
For the benefit of their members, in addition to conferences, seminars and speaker events, the Royal Canadian Military Institute operates a library, museum and archives. The Library is the largest, privately funded collection of its kind in Canada with over 15,000 volumes on military history, science and art. The Museum has 11,000 artifacts and archival materials. Other services include hosting private events, accommodations and fitness facilities. Visit RCMI for more details.