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)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nova Scotia Day 6: St. Malcolm-in-the-Fields...

Today was another excellent day for a building hop. We bid a fond farewell to Lunenburg and headed west for the southern coastal towns. Our greatest accomplishment today was getting inside Holy Trinity Anglican, Jordan Falls - with its Sompting-inspired tower and open-timber roof it's a great architectural find!

(Left: Trinity Anglican, exterior)
(Right: Trinity Anglican, interior)

Some further highlights include the Barrington Meeting House of 1765 (which was unfortunately locked, though it looked great when we were peeking through the windows) and the Courthouse in Liverpool of 1854 which featured nicely executed Doric elements in wood.
Above: The wooden Doric entablature at the Liverpool Courthouse

Tomorrow we (sadly) leave the south shore behind but look forward to exploring some of the north shore before heading back to the airport in Halifax tomorrow night.  We'll give you the final buildings-visited-count of the overall trip after we wrap up tomorrow, but we will tell you that today was a jam-packed day that pushed our total building count through the roof.  Until then, here's one last taste of the south shore (for now): the lighthouse marking the entrance to Lunenburg Harbour.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nova Scotia Day 5: A Day on the Atlantic

Today we took some time to explore some of the sights that Lunenburg had to offer. If you are ever in Lunenburg, we highly recommend the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic which was both our spectacular venue for the SSAC conference and an excellent museum to visit. We were able to learn about the fishing industry and its deep roots in the town of Lunenburg as well as about how fishing boats and crews traditionally worked. The museum has a few former shipping boats including a trawler and a schooner that you can explore and it is also the current home of the Bluenose II.

Later on in the day, we visited some more churches along the coast and stopped at seven, including one with an all wooden interior - amazing! We also came across a floating bell cote and even a floating tower. We're pretty sure that these were removed, then haphazardly replaced when the vinyl siding was put on each church. Whatever the reason, these were very strange-looking:
The highlight of the day for us was definitely our afternoon spent  whale watching.  Candace and I were fortunate to have the sunniest, warmest day to date for our trip and we were ready for anything.  We'd heard that the previous day's trip hadn't had any luck, but fortunately, the marine life knew that we were waiting for them.Because, while on the trip, we saw Minke whales.......dolphins...... and a whole lot of seals!  Incredible!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nova Scotia Day 4: Conference and Coves

This morning began with some excellent papers by three Malcolmites and even the chief himself. Between Barry, Candace, Peter and Malcolm, the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were
Above: Candace, our new Ontario Rep. embraces her nautical side

thoroughly explored. In addition to this, we had two papers discussing Saskatchewan churches - with all of these presentations, a good portion of English-speaking Canada was covered. Well done everyone, it was an interesting and informative morning!

Further congratulations are in order as this afternoon, Candace was elected as the SSAC's Ontario representative, Barry was voted in as one of the Vice Presidents and Peter was voted in as President of the SSAC. Way to go team - don't screw it up!

Above: New VP and Phyllis Lambert Prize winner
Above: Our new President looking very dapper

Before dinner, we were able to squeeze in visits to six buildings in several cove towns. Some were nicer than others, thanks in no small part due to the outbreak of vinyl cladding plaguing Nova Scotia.... For the most part, today, we came across two-cell plans (though some of the chancels are not original) with an off-centred Western tower. Again, we saw another excellent open timber roof at St Michael and All Angels, Petite Riviere of 1886.
Above: St Micheal and All Angels, Petite Riviere 1886
Interestingly, we also found a pristine Anglican church that would have done the Ecclesiologists proud. I say interestingly because the church was not built in the mid 19th century, but rather in 1903!
Above: St John the Evangelist, La Have Island 1903

After a great day we all enjoyed the banquet where we feasted on local lobsters. Delicious!

Above: Malcolm toasting his little red friend while Jess gets ready to start crackin'!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nova Scotia Day 3: The Conference Begins...

...and begin with a bang it did! Jess kicked off the 37th Annual Conference of The Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada by chairing the opening session and presenting a brilliant paper on domestic pattern books from the 19th century and how they were used in Port Hope, Ontario. The paper was well-received - nice work Jess! (Tomorrow is my turn...the nerves are kickin' in).

Later in the day we decided to take off and check out the local churches. We thoroughly photographed Lunenburg last year when we were in NS, so we decided to explore the surrounding towns where we found some amazing open timber roofs and some architectural peculiarities. First the open timber - Pugin would be so proud of Nova Scotia - so much wood and amazing craftsmanship, likely thanks in part to the ship-building industry in the Maritimes.
 Above: Detail of the hammer-beam roof of Lutheran Church,  La Have 1901

Then we came across the Catholic Church, St. Joseph's (1889), which oddly looked like an Anglican building with additions that made an unexpected composition.
 Above: St Joseph's Roman Catholic, Bridgewater 1889
On our way back to Lunenburg we made our last stop at Maitland to see Christ Church (1866), which was extremely picturesque; however, the shingle tower is a later addition to the main body, which has a unique board-and-batten finish where the battens overlap the window mouldings.
 Above: Christ Church Anglican, Maitland 1866

We were soon rained out by the unpredictable NS weather, so we returned to Lunenburg for dinner and then took in a lecture about the reconstruction of St. John's Church, Lunenburg - very interesting. It's been a full day of talks, buildings and photography, but overall it was extremely satisfying!

Left: St John's Anglican, Lunenburg

Nova Scotia Day 2: Rural Delights

Day 2 was a definite highlight for us as we were able to visit 8 churches and managed to get inside a record-breaking 7 of them.  We began bright and early in Wolfville with St John's Anglican where the minister was kind enough to give us a brief history of her church as well as a recommendation to visit the Covenanter's Church at Grand Pre of 1804 (thanks so much for the tip!).  This beauty was originally built as a Presbyterian meeting house without a tower.  The interior is in excellent shape and complete with box pews.
Left: Covenanter's Church, Grand Pre
Below: Interior, Covenanter's Church, Grand Pre

Next was St Andrew's Anglican of 1890 in Hansport.  Here too, we were lucky enough to have the minister unlock the church for us so that we were able to see the wonderful scissor-beam roof.
Above: Detail of the scissor beams in St Andrew's, Hansport
After this, we were fortunate to see not one, but two fantastic examples of James Gibbs style churches gone Gothic in Brooklyn and in Centre Rawdon.
 Above: St Paul's Anglican, Centre Rawdon 1845
From here we went on to see two rural delights in two very different styles of Gothic.  The first, St Paul's Anglican at Northfield, is quite Picturesque with simple lancet windows and stepped buttresses.
 Above: St Paul's Anglican, Northfield
The second, St Peter's Anglican at Upper Kennetcook, is a prime example of Carpenter's Gothic, incorporating domestic motifs and carpentry into this interesting church.
 Above: Detail of the bell cote, St Peter's Anglican, Upper Kennetcook
On the whole, it was a busy day, but an incredibly rewarding one.  We ended up in Lunenburg in the evening for the opening reception of the 2010 SSAC-SEAC conference, and we are looking forward to exploring the south shore in our free time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nova Scotia Day 1

Today we arrived in Nova Scotia and true to form we got off the plane and headed straight to the nearest 19th-century building. Our first stop was St. John's Anglican Church, Truro (1881).
 Above: Jess and Candace fresh off the plane at St John's, Truro

Also in Truro we found the Provincial Normal College (1877), which was an unexpected treat - a Second Empire School with eclectic ornamentation - a real beauty!
Above: The Provincial Normal College, Truro

We were then off to rural Northern Nova Scotia for an afternoon of churching in Great Village, Moose River, Diligent River, Maitland, and Lattie's Brook.
Stay tuned - tomorrow we're back to Maitland for some amazing domestic buildings!

Monday, May 24, 2010

SSAC this week!

We leave tomorrow for Nova Scotia to attend the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada Annual Conference in Lunenburg.
We have a couple of days before and after the conference to sneak in some Nova Scotia buildings, so keep checking in; we'll be posting from Nova Scotia all week!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Building of the Week: St Paul's Catholic, Fulford Bay, Saltspring Island

Built between 1880 and 1885, St Paul's is Saltspring Island's first church.  Several of the features of this church are from Cowichan Bay's "Butter Church," including the bell, the windows and the door.  The island is dotted with Gothic churches on a similarly small scale, although this is the only "stone" church.  I say "stone" because the exterior is composed of a faux-stone cladding that was added in 1973.  Presumably, the original facing was wooden, while now the "stone" is highly convincing from a distance but less-so from up close, as seen below.  Regardless, this is an excellent example of a small British Columbia church in the Gothic style.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Poll Results

We asked you which house you preferred, Auchmar in Hamilton, or Ruthven in Cayuga and 80% of readers prefer the Gothic Auchmar!  While both are incredibly beautiful in their own right, it seems as though, in this case at least, our readers much prefer the Gothic style over the Classical.

Thanks for voting and be sure to join us again soon!

Above: Plaster boss in the main entrance hall at Auchmar

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Poll: Which house do you like best?

Recently we visited two incredible houses and we want to know which you like best.  The two houses are the Gothic Auchmar in Hamilton and the Classical Ruthven in Cayuga.

We love them both for different reasons, but we're curious to find out which style our readers prefer.

Let us know!  Cast your vote on the left sidebar of the blog!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Last Friday we visited two large, but very different houses - the first was the Gothic manor, Auchmar, in Hamilton and the second was the Classical mansion, Ruthven in Cayuga, Ontario.

This large estate was built for David Thompson in 1845-1847 in a stately Classical style.  The house faces the river and is framed by a wooden temple front of the Doric order with a few flourishes.  Regular and square in plan, on both the exterior and the interior, Ruthven is completely up to date with upper class houses of the time in both Canada and in England.

The interior is elaborately decorated with Classical plaster moldings  and, most impressively, a spiraling central staircase.

The entire home is remarkably well-preserved and maintained as it is a National Historic Site - one that can be visited and toured by the public.  This is a definite must-see for anyone interested in 19th-century architecture in Ontario.