The process of preparing the entries for the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950, with their accompanying dated lists of works, has been one which is both straightforward and enormously time-consuming. The compilation of biographies has been aided by the exclusive access which the Editor has been granted to examine members records held by the provincial architects associations in seven of the ten provinces in Canada. In addition, obituary articles extracted from newspapers and journals have provided unique information which may confirm, or shed new light on, data obtained from other sources.
The typical biographical entries in the Dictionary are followed by chronologically arranged lists of works, and are set in the correct sequence of the name of the firm or partnership. Each citation to a built work includes the original building name, the year of construction and, if known, the date of alterations, demolition or destruction by fire. Street locations have been verified by the careful examination of City Directories printed two or three years after completion of a work. Street addresses are not used in the Dictionary however, because the pattern of urban development in Canada has frequently necessitated the re-numbering of streets, or a legislated change has occurred in the name of the road or avenue where a building is situated. Scholars who wish to precisely locate a building may do so by examining city or town directories, assessment rolls, or urban fire insurance maps.
Each citation to a built work is immediately followed by a notation to the source where the architect has been named, confirming his or her involvement in the commission. Descriptions or illustrations which appear in original sources that do not confirm the name of the architect are excluded from this work.
Access to original newspaper sources in Canada has been made easier by the distribution of newspaper microfilms which are now accessible at most university libraries and provincial archives across the country. The National Library of Canada in Ottawa has a generous inter-library loan programme which can make these films available to public libraries in all ten provinces.
Primary Canadian periodical sources consulted for the Dictionary include:
Canadian Architect & Builder (Toronto), published monthly Vol. 1, Jan. 1888 to Vol. xxii, April 1908
The Contract Record (Toronto), published weekly with various titles including:
Canadian Contract Record, Vol. i, 27 Nov. 1889 to Vol. iv, 25 Jan. 1894 (only one location in Canada has been found for this run of the periodical, at the Metro Toronto Reference Library);
Canadian Contract Record, Vol. v, 8 Feb. 1894 to Vol. xix, 6 May 1908 (only one location in Canada has been found for this run of the periodical, within the Southam Collection at the Fisher Rare Book Library, Univ. of Toronto);
Contract Record, Vol. xxii, 13 May 1908 to Vol. xxv, 27 December 1911;
Contract Record & Engineering Review, Vol. xxvi, 3 Jan. 1912 to Vol. xlvii, 24 May 1933;
Engineering & Contract Record, Vol. xlvii, 31 May 1933 to Vol. lvii, 27 Dec. 1944,
then monthly from Vol. lviii, Jan. 1945 to Vol. lxiii, December 1950 (and still continuing in publication at present);
Canadian Homes & Gardens (Toronto), published monthly, Vol. i, May 1925 to Vol. xxvii, December 1950 (ceased publication in 1962);
Construction (Toronto), published monthly, Vol. i, Oct. 1907 to Vol. xxv, December 1932 and bi-monthly from Vol. xxvi, Jan/Feb. 1933 to Vol. xxvii, Oct./Nov. 1934;
Le Prix Courant (Montreal), a commercial trade journal published weekly from Vol. i, Sept. 1887 to Vol. xxxvi, Dec. 1903; volume numbers were then suspended for the run from Jan. 1904 to December 1909, then a new series of volumes numbers were assigned in 1911 as the journal continued publication. A complete run of this periodical can be found at the Ecole de la Etude Commerciale on the campus of the University of Montreal. A microfilm copy is held at the Administrative Studies Library, York University, Toronto.
Le Semaine Commerciale (Quebec City), a commercial trade journal published weekly from Vol. i, 1894 to 1950. A complete run of this periodical can be found at Laval University in Quebec City.
Journal of the Royal Architectural Inst. of Canada (Toronto), published quarterly from Vol. i, Jan/March 1924 to Vol. ii, Oct./Dec. 1925; bi-monthly from Vol. iii, Jan/Feb. to Vol. iv, Nov./Dec. 1926, and monthly from Vol. v, January 1927 to Vol. xxvii, Dec. 1950 (ceased publication Dec. 1973)