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Welcome to the
Small Arms
Inspection Building

The Small Arms Inspection Building (SAIB) is a historic, multi-purpose building that presents a wide range of arts and cultural programs. As the only cultural hub of its kind in Mississauga, the SAIB supports meaningful audience engagement through dynamic exhibitions, events and experiences. This unique venue provides much needed cultural space that will be used to present open and responsive programming that fosters collaboration and community-building on a local, regional, national, and international level.

Based on the Culture Master Plan, the goal for this facility is that it be used to present programs that:

  • provide access to multi-disciplinary arts and cultural programs
  • maintain inclusive, sustainable and accessible programs and practices
  • help strengthen the creative sector in Mississauga and Ontario
  • engage in partnerships that promote diverse practices and community self-representation
  • support multiple audiences and uses
  • promote equitable access to a diverse community of local, provincial and regional artists and cultural groups

Equity of Access

The Small Arms Inspection Building is owned and operated by the City of Mississauga’s Culture Division and is an accessible venue designed to welcome diverse audiences and collaborators. Providing access to underserved community members who are living with disabilities, are Indigenous or racialized, or self-identify as 2SLGBTQ+ is the mandate for this facility.

The Small Arms Inspection Building has ground-level, automatic entrances and designated accessible parking. There are accessible, single-user, all-gender washrooms available.

Accessibility and inclusivity is a priority for this space, exhibitions, and public programs. Staff is committed to meeting the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Any questions or feedback about the accessibility of this site? Please contact us.

Future Directions

Small Arms Inspection Building staff is committed to fostering inclusive artistic practices and participatory experiences.

This unique space will continue to evolve over time. Long-term programming includes:

Tracing Mississauga

Throughout 2019, artist Hiba Abdallah will lead a series of collaborative workshops, discussions, projects, and interventions that trace our collective food memory. Together we will consider the commemoration of place through walking, discussing, and eating together. One of the aims of the project is to build an acute awareness of the multiple communities who are present in Mississauga, and the histories of immigration and colonialism that have shaped the city through food.

Artist bio:

Hiba Abdallah is a text-based artist who often works with others to develop public installations, projects, and exhibitions about the narratives of place. Abdallah’s work cultivates a playful yet reverent sense of community that seeks to foster collective public imagination.

Image: Hiba Abdallah in collaboration with Justin Langlois, EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING RIGHT HERE, Calder Plaza, Grand Rapids, MI, 2017

Orchard

Over the next several years, artist Diane Borsato will be working with the Small Arms Inspection Building staff and the City’s Public Art Curators to realize Orchard, an ongoing project aiming to plant rare, historic or eccentric apple varietals in various locations. This long-term program combines ecological, aesthetic, and gastronomical interests – while challenging traditions of public sculpture and contributing to urban life.

Artist bio:

Diane Borsato (BFA York University, MFA Concordia University, MA Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University) was awarded the Victor Martyn-Lynch Staunton Award from the Canada Council for the Arts, and was twice nominated for the Sobey Art Award. She has exhibited the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Power Plant, the AGYU, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Art Centre and in galleries and museums in the US, France, Germany, Mexico, Taiwan and Japan.

In her projects she has worked closely with various other practitioners including artists, dancers, and amateur naturalists.

Borsato was recently the Artist in Residence at the AGO, where she produced Your Temper, My Weather, a major durational performance involving the participation of one-hundred beekeepers. In 2016 she produced a new work with the Toronto Dance Theatre, and was artist in residence in the Burrard Marina Field House Studio at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver. She also recently co-led the Art of Stillness Residency from artists from across disciplines at the Banff Centre for the Arts with Pico Iyer, Christopher House, and Richard Reed-Perry.

As Associate Professor at the University in Guelph, she teaches advanced courses that explore the relationships between art and everyday life­ including Food and Art, Special Topics on Walking, Live Art, and OUTDOOR SCHOOL.

Image: Diane Borsato, The Orchard, 2016 TO Image: Diane Borsato, Orchard, 2016.

Education

The Small Arms Inspection Building is an exciting location for engaging educational programs. Programs are available for elementary students and offer on-site learning opportunities rooted in interactive experiences and unique approaches to storytelling.

Current Program: World War II Changing Times

Through this new program students will explore the changing role of women in the 1940s and the contributions made to the war effort here in Mississauga.  Students will use primary sources connected to the women who lived and worked in the building as discovery tools.

Curriculum Strands:
Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada Past and Present, People and Environments: Canada’s Interactions with the Global Community (gr. 6)

For more information contact:
small.arms@mississauga.ca
905-615-4860 ext 2110

Bookings

The Small Arms Inspection Building is the City of Mississauga’s newest cultural facility. This 18,000 square foot, flexible, open-concept industrial space has a capacity of 400 and may be rented for exhibitions, performances, theatre productions, rehearsals, conferences and events, festivals, and more.

Download Rules and Procedures (pdf)

For more information regarding rental fees and availability please contact: small.arms@mississauga.ca.

History

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 Mississauga’s waterfront. 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 two-thirds 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 City of Mississauga acquired the building in 2017 with the intention of repurposing it as an arts and culture hub.

Small Arms Inspection Building – Timeline

1939 – The Small Arms Limited Building was designed by Allward and Gouinlock Architects
1935 – The Department of Defence purchased the Arsenals Lands and Small Arms Limited
1940 – The site became a large munitions plant manufacturing rifles and small arms for the Canadian Army through the Second World War until 1974
1992 – The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) acquired the Arsenal Lands and the Small Arms Inspection Building
2008 – The City of Mississauga intervened as the Small Arms Inspection Building was scheduled for demolition
2009 – The City of Mississauga designated the building under the Ontario Heritage Act
2017 – The City of Mississauga acquired the Small Arms Inspection Building
2018 – The Small Arms Inspection Building officially opens as one of the City’s cultural sites

The City acknowledges the contributions of the Small Arms Society (SAS), a non-profit corporation and community partner, for helping preserve the history of this building through the designation process and through delivering community programming.

Contact Us

Small Arms Inspection Building
1352 Lakeshore Road East
Mississauga ON L5E 1E9

Hours: Wednesday to Saturday,  12-4pm
Open to the public as of September 8th

Phone: 905-615-4860
Email: small.arms@mississauga.ca