Wright, Richard Cotsman

WRIGHT, Richard Cotsman (1860-1927) served as Chief Architect of the federal Department of Public Works from May 1918 until his death in Ottawa on 18 January 1927. Born in London, Ont. on 5 January 1860 he was educated there and received private tutoring as an architect and construction engineer. He articled with Tracy & Durand, the leading firm of architects in London, from 1877 to 1881, then left for New York City where he spent fifteen years working as assistant to some of the leading architects there including Richard M. Hunt, Bruce Price, and Charles C. Haight. He then became associated with Clarence S. Luce, in New York. While on a visit to his hometown of London, Ont. in 1906 he was offered a position of Assistant Chief Architect in the DPW in Ottawa, serving directly under David Ewart (C.A.B., xx, Jan. 1907, xiv). He accepted the offer, and moved to Ottawa. In June 1914 he retired to work in the private sector, but was recalled to Ottawa in October 1915 to resume his old post. In early 1918 he succeeded E.L. Horwood as Chief Architect in that government department, and in this capacity he supervised the design and construction of every post office, customs building and federal government building erected in Canada between 1918 until 1927. His most significant work was that for the Confederation Building (1927-30), a distinctive landmark west of Parliament Hill, executed in the prevailing Chateau Style and echoing the form and massing employed on the Chateau Laurier Hotel by Ross & MacFarlane, erected twenty years before. Wright died while in office in January 1927 (obit. Ottawa Citizen, 19 Jan. 1927, 1; obit. Ottawa Journal, 19 Jan. 1927, 1 & 2; Contract Record [Toronto], xli, 26 Jan. 1927. 97; biog. Ontario Land Surveyors Annual Reports, 1928, 110-11, with port.). His successor was Thomas W. Fuller, son of the former Chief Architect Thomas Fuller.

Post Office Buildings

(inf. extracted from Canada, Sessional Papers, 1919 to 1928, and from NAC RG11, which contains detailed architectural specifications for each building noted below. Drawings for virtually all Post Office Buildings designed by Wright and his staff suring his tenure as Chief Architect of the Dept. of Public Works are not held at the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa)

CALGARY, ALTA., Dominion Public Building, 1919-21 (C.R., xxxiii, 17 Sept. 1919, 46, t.c.)
HAMILTON, ONT., Postal Station B, Barton Street at Stirton Avenue, 1919-20
OSHAWA, ONT., Customs Examining Warehouse, 1919-20
GRAND PRAIRIE, ALTA., Post Office, Second Avenue at Second Street, 1919
ANNAPOLIS, N.S., Post Office, built as 'an exact replica of the old building', 1920-21
TERREBONNE, QUE., Dominion Public Building '…to replace the building which burned', 1922-23
SACKVILLE, N.B., Dominion Public Building, Main Street at York Street, 1924-25
ALEXANDRIA, ONT., Dominion Public Building, Main Street at Catherine Street, 1924-25
SYDNEY, N.S., major addition to the Dominion Public Building, 1924-25
LORETTEVILLE, QUE., Dominion Public Building, Main Street, 1924-25
VERDUN, QUE., Dominion Public Building, Church Street, 1925
COURTENAY, B.C., Dominion Public Building, Alice Street at Isabel Street, 1925
KAMLOOPS, B.C., Dominion Public Building, Seymour Street at Third Avenue, 1925
REVELSTOKE, B.C., Dominion Public Building, First Street at Boyle Avenue, 1925
STELLARTON, N.S., Dominion Public Building, Main Street, 1926
CHIPMAN, N.B., Dominion Public Building, Gordon Rioad, 1926
SOUTH NELSON, N.B., Dominion Public Building, 1926
MANIWAKI, QUE., Dominion Public Building, Laird Street at Notre Dame Street, 1926
MONTREAL, QUE., Postal Station '˜R', St. Denis Street near Beaubien Street, 1926
ST. JACQUE DE L'ACHIGAN, QUE., Dominion Public Building, Main Street , 1926
GRAVENHURST, ONT., Dominion Public Building, Muskoka Street at Bay Street, 1926
PORT COLBORNE, ONT., Dominion Public Building, Clarence Street at King Street, 1926
STOUFFVILLE, ONT., Dominion Public Building, Main Street at Market Street, 1926
WIARTON, ONT., Dominion Public Building, Bedford Street at George Street, 1926

Other Public Buildings

(inf. extracted from Canada, Sessional Papers, 1919 to 1928, and from NAC RG11, which contains detailed architectural specifications for each building noted below. Drawings for virtually all Post Office Buildings designed by Wright and his staff suring his tenure as Chief Architect of the Dept. of Public Works are not held at the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa)

OTTAWA, ONT., The Hunter Building, Queen Street at Albert Street and O'Connor Street, 1918-19 (Const., xi, Oct. 1918, 331, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xxxiv, 7 Jan. 1920, 7-8, illus. & descrip.; Canada, Sessional Papers, lv, 1920, Report No. 19, 18, descrip.)
OTTAWA, ONT., War Trophies Building, Sussex Street, '..to the south of the Archives', 1920
OTTAWA, ONT., Central Experimental Building, addition of the Poultry Office Building, 1920; Botanical Laboratory Building, 1924-25
KINGSTON, ONT., Royal Military College, major addition to the Education Block, with west wing, assembly hall, and tower, 'in the Collegiate Gothic style', 1920-21; addition to RMC Dormitory Building, 1924-25 (Canadian Engineer, xxxix, 26 Aug. 1920, 292, illus. )
OTTAWA, ONT., Dominion Archives of Canada, Sussex Drive, major addition to existing building, with stair tower, 1923-24 (C.R., xxxvii, 19 Dec. 1923, 46)
OTTAWA, ONT., Rideau Hall, addition of the Palm House Conservatory, 1924-25
OTTAWA, ONT., The Confederation Building, Wellington Street at Bank Street, 1927-30 (C.R., xli, 25 May 1927, 511, illus. & descrip.; Canada, Sessional Papers, Vol. iv, Report of the Deputy Minister of Public Works, 1928-29, 7-8, descrip.)