Welcome to the Canadian Architecture blog!

Welcome to the first Canadian Architecture blog brought to you by the Malcolmites! We hope this blog will encourage those interested in Canadian architecture to talk (or more specifically, type) about architecture in Canada.

Featured Building

Featured Building
William Eckhardt House, Unionville, Ontario (1852)

Friday, April 30, 2010


Located on 'the Mountain' in Hamilton, Ontario, Auchmar is the former estate of Isaac Buchanan (1810-1883) and one of two manor houses we visited today.The estate, which was built in 1854, was named after the Buchanan estate on Loch Lomond, Scotland. The manor house is decidedly Gothic on the exterior with crenellated oriel windows, pointed arch windows and a steep, complicated roof composition.

The interior further emphasizes the Gothic feel of the exterior with a fully vaulted main floor hallway, pointed arch details, traceried doors, molded entranceways, and small Gothic details that enrich the fabric of the house.

In addition to the lavish decorations, the house reflects its wealthy patrons as it features a large dining hall, a ballroom, servants quarters and several large bed chambers.  Auchmar was most certainly built to impress and it continues to do so even to this day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

And Speaking of Shameless Self-Promotion...

All of the Malcolmites have some speaking engagements coming up...
Malcolm, Candace, Peter, Jess, and Barry will all be presenting papers at the 2010 SSAC Conference in Lunenburg, NS May 26-29.
Malcolm and Candace are each presenting papers at the 2010

Ontario Heritage Conference in Chatham-Kent June 11-13.
Malcolm Thurlby: Christ Church, Maugerville, New Brunswick, Bishop John Medley, Frank Wills and the Transmission of Ecclesiological Principles in Anglican Churches in Canada
Candace Iron: William Hay and the Tradition of Church Building in Canada
Peter Coffman: 'Innovation' in Nova Scotian Gothic
Jess Mace: Architecture without Architects: Pattern Books and Port Hope, Ontario
Barry Magrill: Measuring Resistance: Modern Gothic and Reinforced Concrete

Ontario Heritage Conference:
Malcolm Thurlby: Places of Worship in the Rural Social Landscape
Candace Iron: From Provincial to Local Significance: Henry Langley and T.J. Rutley' two influential architects in Chatham-Kent

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Summit Recap and Building of the Week

Has it really been almost a week since our last post?  I guess that the frenzy of posts while we were in B.C. made us feel like we were full up on posts for a while or maybe the jet lag made us forget to update.  Well, whatever the reason, we’re all recovered from our whirlwind tour of B.C. and ready to post again. And I do mean whirlwind - in 6 days (well, 5 really, since we didn’t visit any buildings on the day of the conference) we hit 27 churches, one suspension bridge and a whole lot of scenery.  Over the next little while, we’ll slowly be updating you on all of the buildings that we visited through both our “Building of the Week” section and through some more informative posts.
Above: Shannon Falls, Squamish, B.C. visited on Day 4

For now, be sure to check out our latest “Building of the Week,” the “Skookumchuck” Church.  We have information and more photos of this remarkable building in a post from last week, if you'd like more on the church.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to Geneva Quipp for showing us around and for telling us all about the church’s history.  We just can't get enough of the Skookumchuck Church and we hope that you enjoy it too!
Above: The hand-carved altar at the Skookumchuck Church

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gothic Summit 2010: Last Day

Yesterday was our last day of churchings, but we were only able to hit three churches. Several more were planned though we were not able to find them, but believe me, we searched. Sadly, they had been destroyed since the publication of the book that we were using as a guide book. This is further testament to the fact that many of the beaten down churches that we visit need to be well documented before they too are torn down.

Fortunately, we were also able to visit some churches that have been remarkably well preserved. We visited one such church yesterday in Hope, BC; Christ Church Anglican of 1861. This church boasts its status as the oldest surviving church on BC's mainland.

Christ Church Anglican, Hope

This wooden church was completed shortly after the height of the Gold Rush in the town of Hope. The interior features a lovely open-timber roof and also, interestingly, board and batten walls.
Interior, Christ Church Anglican, Hope

Today we officially wrapped up the 2010 Gothic Summit and flew back to Toronto. It was a busy week and we covered a lot of ground and a lot of buildings. Though the Summit is now done, we hope you aren't sick of BC churches as we have many more photos and highlights to share - in fact, our Building of the Week may just be a BC church from now until the Malcolmites reunite next month in Nova Scotia for another week of churchings!

Thanks again to Barry for an excellent conference and for being an amazing adventure guide!

Malcolmites at work in BC

To this point we have mainly been posting pictures of the buildings we saw in BC, however those pictures didn't take themselves; here are some images of us hard at work.
(left: Peter and Barry in Saanich)

(above: Jess at Holy Trinity Church, North Saanich, BC)

(above: Malcolm at St. Paul's Catholic Church, Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island)

(above: Candace in the wilderness at St. Paul's Catholic Church, Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gothic Summit Day 5: Malcolmites in the Mountains

This morning, we started out in the Gold Rush town of Lillooet with a 1913 wooden suspension bridge spanning the Fraser River.  This was an unusual stop for us, but an amazing one, nonetheless.

The Old Bridge, Lillooet                                                                                            View from the bridge

We then continued on with our usual string of drive-by churchings, making stops in towns and First Nations reserves throughout the BC interior.  In the end, we saw 13 churches, one bridge and Hell's Gate Rapids - a busy day!  It was a hot, sunny day (difficult for photography), but luckily it was broken up by frequent stops and some cool breezes while driving through the mountains.
St Andrew's Anglican, Cayoosh Creek

All of the churches today were small, wooden churches with either a one-cell or two-cell plan.  We saw a wide variety of woodwork from simple log construction to timber-frame clapboard construction.
 Anglican Church at Spences Bridge

We were also presented with a range of styles from vernacular to Gothic.  With so many different types, styles and date ranges, we are excited to see what tomorrow brings!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Church of the Holy Cross, Skookumchuck, BC

Today we literally made a pilgrimage to Skookumchuck, BC to see the Church of the Holy Cross (c.1905). This Carpenter's Gothic wilderness church was likely the third one to be built in Skookumchuck by local aboriginal artisans. The church features soaring spires that demonstrate the excellence of the craftsmen who built them by combining the glory and height of the Gothic style with a local craftsman flavour. The interior of the church also reflects the culture of the people; the arrangement of the wood on the walls resembles the patterns found in local basket weaving, and the pews, altar, and sculptures were all hand carved by local artisans.
Unfortunately this church is in a state of disrepair. The community and local historical society are doing thier best to keep up and restore this historic church, however any help in form of donations is always appreciated. To help this church and community or to learn more about this remarkable building please visit the Ama Liisaos Heritage Trust Society: http://www3.telus.net/public/a3a01408/HC.html

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gothic Summit Day 3

Well, today was the last day of the conference portion of the Summit and while we are sad to leave Victoria, we are excited to continue on in our travels in BC.  The day began with a tour of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, in which all conference-goers were given a thorough tour of the church - including a visit above the vaults and out on the roof below the flyers!
 Above: On the roof at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria

After saying goodbye to the group, a few of us hopped a ferry to Salt Spring Island to check out some of the local architecture.  A highlight for us was the anticipation of seeing the only stone church on the island, which we soon found out was actually a wooden church covered with a faux-stone cladding!  Still a good church and a nice find, nonetheless.
 Above: The firing squad in front of St Paul's Catholic "Stone" Church, Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island

After a whirlwind tour of the churches on Salt Spring Island, we got back on the ferry to head back to Vancouver Island and head up to Nanaimo for the night.  BUT, before leaving, we saw some seals!  It may seem silly that we are this excited about a little bit of wildlife, but it's rare to see much wildlife in Toronto that doesn't consist of squirrels, pigeons or subway mice... let us have this one.
Above: Malcolmites on the BC Ferries

Top 5 Victoria Area Churches

Today was our last day on Vancouver Island for the 2010 Gothic Summit, and while we did not see the entire island and its surroundings, here are some of our favourites that we did see:

St Stephen's Anglican, Saanich

Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria

St Paul's Catholic Church, Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island

Holy Trinity Church, North Saanich

St Mary's Anglican, Salt Spring Island

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gothic Summit Day 2: Bunnies, Bunnies Everywhere

Today was the conference portion of the Summit; we heard many interesting and insightful papers covering topics across Canada, Britain, and even South of the Equator. We found that UVic was a welcoming campus with blooming trees and flowers everywhere. What we weren't prepared for were the hordes of bunnies hopping all over the campus (we say hordes because we don't know if the correct term is flock, gaggle, murder, or herd); there were literally thousands of little bunnies from babies to behemoths all over the campus munching on treats left for them by the students - it was an odd and yet endearing scene all around.
NOTE: a conferencer who shall remain unnamed ate rabbit for dinner!!!

The Daily Debacle - April 15th

Our first day in Victoria was on the whole a good one, though our spirits were lifted and then crushed when we thought we spotted a killer whale in the Victoria Harbour (unlikely - we know). While walking by the pier and admiring the view we saw ocean spray like from a blow hole, we quickly went for our cameras ready for the orca to strike again, but what we not prepared for was our excitement to be smashed to discover the blow hole spray was really a repeated splash caused by a kid throwing rocks off a cliff - what a jerk.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Victoria 2010 - Malcolmites Unite in the Name of Gothic Architecture

This marks the beginning of the 2010 Gothic Summit in Victoria, BC. We have all descended upon Victoria to discuss our current research interests in the realm of Gothic architecture in Canada. In the tradition of the Summit we have arrived early to check out the local architecture scene before the conference begins.

Our adventure began early this morning on an airplane ride fit for Monty Python - one stinky onion lady, one mid-air yoga practitioner aiming his rear end in our general direction, and one gaseous gent dropping stink bombs up and down Malcolm's aisle!!!

Once arriving in Victoria we dropped off our luggage and hit our first church, St. Andrew's Presbyterian, 1890.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our Building of the Week: St. George's Anglican Church, Sibbald Point

Stepping through the lych gate and entering the churchyard of St. George's, Sibbald Point is like stepping out Ontario and into rural England. This is the second St. George's on this property, which was donated for the construction of a church by the Sibbald family. Built in 1877, the current church replaced the original 1839 wooden church. The current building was designed by Gavillais and Thompson of Barrie and executed by local craftsmen in the memory of Susan Sibbald.
Architecturally the church is lovely with quoines, stringcourses, labels and functioning gargoyles all executed in handcut stone.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Nice Day of Architecture Spotting...

I would like to recommend Unionville, Ontario to those looking for a nice day of building hunting. Unionville is a small village in Markham, Ontario that developed over the course of the 19th century. The village is freckled with Victorian architecture - cottages, houses, a historic railway station, mills, factories, storefronts and churches - making it a great spot for lovers of 19th-century architecture.

( Former Second Congregational Church, 1879, E.J. Lennox, architect.)

Posting Drought

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to apologize for our lack of posts lately - the winter term is just ending and there are lots of papers to write and, even worse, to mark. 

On the bright side, it looks as though the drought will soon be over as we are heading out to B.C. next week for the Annual Gothic Summit conference and to check out a bunch of B.C. architecture!  We're hoping to post pretty regularly while we're out there, so please stay tuned to check in on our adventures!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poll Results

We asked you what church you like best, St Mark's Port Hope or St John's Port Hope, and 100% of voters chose St John's!

It seems that our readers (by far) prefer the more advanced style of Gothic Revival used at St John's, built 1867-1868 by the firm of Gundry and Langley, over the Commissioners' style of Gothic used at St Mark's.

Thanks for voting and be sure to check in soon to vote for the next poll!