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)

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Poll! Which church do you like best?

Hi everyone, it's time again for a reader's poll!

This time we have two Port Hope Anglican churches going head to head and we want to know which one you like best.  We have St Mark's Anglican coming in at 188 years old versus St John's Anglican coming in at 143 years old.

Cast your vote (on the left sidebar of the blog) and see who will prevail!


St Mark's, Port Hope, 1822                                   St John's, Port Hope, 1867

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Behind the scenes of the "Building of the Week"

Here is the photo (quite literally) behind the making of this week's "Building of the Week" photograph at St. Peter-in-Chains, Peterborough.  I was able to sneak this shot of Yoda and Luke in action while setting up my tripod.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The results are in... churches rule!

Our first poll has now closed.  We asked you what type of building you like best and here are the results:

A whopping 55% of readers prefer church architecture.
In second place is a tie with 18% of readers preferring civic architecture and another 18% preferring houses.
Finally, coming in at 9% are those who prefer commercial architecture.

Thanks to all who voted!  Be sure to check in for our next poll, opening next week.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Building of the Week: Trafalgar Castle, Whitby

This one is a personal favourite of mine. Built in 1859-62 by Toronto architect (and later Toronto mayor) Joseph Sheard (1813-1883), this gigantic house is truly one of a kind.  The owner, Nelson Gilbert Reynolds, was adamant that it be built lavishly - so much so that he paid an exorbitant sum and subsequently went bankrupt.  The house had to be sold to the Methodist Church a few short years after its completion and became a school for girls, which it still is to this day.

Today, Trafalgar Castle stands out against its suburban backdrop and shows us that you can find really great architecture anywhere.

Warning: shameless self-promotion coming up...

For more information on this fantastic building, see my article titled “Storming the Castle: The Architecture of Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario” in the Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, Vol. 33, No. 2, 2008; pp. 43-51.  Unfortunately, it’s not online, but can be found in a library near you!

For a larger image, see the "Building of the Week" section at the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy 198th Birthday Pugin!

This month we celebrate the 198th birthday of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852), the man behind the Gothic Revival!  Well, he wasn't singlehandedly behind the Gothic Revival, but he was a big part of it and he is our very favourite Gothic fanatic.  While Pugin didn't make it too far past his own 40th birthday, his career and influence were those of a man twice his age, and so we continue to celebrate him to this day.

As a side note, next year's Gothic Summit Conference will be held in honour of Pugin and his 199th birthday in the hopes that a publication celebrating his works will be ready for his 200th.  More information will be available on that conference later this year.  Who knows, there may even be a Gothic-style cake or even a Pugin face-cake at the conference...

Happy birthday, big guy - we love you!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Building of the Week: St James' Anglican, Mahone Bay

This week’s Building of the Week is St James' Anglican, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.  It was built in 1885-1887 by the important east coast architect William Critchlow-Harris (1854-1913) who was especially active in Nova Scotia and P.E.I.  This particular building fits in nicely with the spread of Ecclesiology in Nova Scotia and with the long-standing tradition of wooden-church building on the east coast in general.  For a larger image, see the bottom of the page for our "Building of the Week" section.

Mahone Bay is a must-see for anyone interested in church architecture as the town’s waterline is dominated by three side-by-side nineteenth-century churches.  We came across this church last spring on a road trip around Nova Scotia before the 2009 Gothic Summit in Halifax (and hope to stop there again on our way to Lunenburg for the 2010 SSAC Conference!).  This shot was taken moments before all three churches were let out on Good Friday - needless to say, I’m lucky I got this shot before the crowds of people trampled through the frame (and trampled over me) on their way out.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Canadian Architecture 101: Classical or Gothic?

In Canada’s architectural past, there are two main competing streams of styles; the Classical and the Gothic.  Each style came in and out of favour several times over the years and each style has its own merits.
But how do you tell the difference between a Classical building and a Gothic building?
The simplest way is by looking at the shape of the windows.

A round-headed window is Classical:

A pointed window is Gothic:

This is just a basic distinction, but more often than not it does the trick.  There are other ways to tell that involve the ornamentation used, the planning of the building, etc., and of course there are buildings that sample from each style, but this is a pretty surefire way to tell which is which. 

We will have more on the difference between the two styles in posts to come, but in the meantime, you can use this one to impress your friends!