Brown, Benjamin

BROWN, Benjamin (1890-1974) was born in Lithuania on 14 January 1890 and brought to Canada as a child. He was educated at the York Street Public School and at the University of Toronto where he graduated from the Department of Architecture (then part of the School of Practical Science) in 1913. He was among the first Jewish architects to sustain a successful practice in Toronto during the first decades of the 20th century. Opening an office under his own name in 1913, he was soon sought after by many Jewish clients in the clothing trade who commissioned him to design functional loft buildings constructed of reinforced concrete and dressed in a stylish Art Deco cladding of cut stone and brick. His best known works include the Tower Building (1927) and the Balfour Building (1929-30) which stand opposite one another on Spadina Avenue at Adelaide Street West, framing the street and forming a urban gateway to the heart of the garment district in Toronto. Brown remained active in Toronto until after 1950 and retired in 1955. He died there on 11 December 1974 (death notice in the Toronto Star, 12 Dec. 1974, B6; obit and port. Canadian Jewish News [Toronto], 7 Feb. 1975). The Ontario Jewish Archives in Toronto holds a collection of his drawings, and this organization staged an exhibition of his works in early 2016 (Globe & Mail [Toronto], 19 Feb. 2016, G3; inf. Ontario Association of Architects).

(works in Toronto)

BEVERLEY STREET, at Grange Avenue, row of ten houses for Simon Rabinowitz, 1913 (Toronto b.p. 7738, 28 Oct. 1913)
DUNDAS STREET WEST, near Roncesvalles Avenue, apartment block for M. Goodheim, 1914 (Toronto b.p. 8836, 9 Jan. 1914)
ST. GEORGE STREET, near College Street, residence for Mendel Granatstein, 1919 (Toronto b.p. 28043, 10 Dec. 1919)
(with Arthur W. McConnell) HERMANT BUILDING, Victoria Street at Dundas Square, warehouse, 1920 (Toronto b.p. 28715, 26 Feb. 1920)
(with Arthur W. McConnell) THE PRIMROSE CLUB (now the University of Toronto Faculty Club), Willcocks Street near Spadina Avenue, 1920 (Toronto b.p. 28858, 6 March 1920; dwg. at the Toronto Jewish Archives)
(with Arthur W. McConnell) LYNDHURST AVENUE, at Nina Street, residence for Mandel Mehr, 1921 (Toronto b.p. 37040, 11 March 1921; dwgs. at Toronto Jewish Archives)
POPLAR PLAINS ROAD, at Clarendon Avenue, residence for Mrs. Winnie Curry, 1920 (Toronto b.p. 32556, 6 July 1920)
HEBREW INSTITUTE, Brunswick Avenue at College Street, designed 1920; built 1923-24 (Toronto b.p. 33283, 9 Aug. 1920; C.R., xxxvi, 20 Dec. 1922, 43; xxxviii, 2 Jan. 1924, 46)
BETH JACOB SYNAGOGUE, Henry Street at Cecil Street, 1921-22 (C.R., xxxv, 2 Nov. 1921, 50)
THE TEXTILE BUILDING, Richmond Street West at Duncan Street, warehouse for Gelber Brothers Ltd., 1923 (C.R., xxxvii, 15 Aug. 1923, 50, t.c.; 28 Nov. 1923, 52; Toronto b.p. File No. 64665, 7 Sept. 1923)
DUNVEGAN ROAD, residence for Herman Mendelson, 1922 (C.R., xxxvi, 19 April 1922, 56, t.c.)
IMPERIAL CLOAK CO., Adelaide Street West at Peter Street, factory, 1922 (Toronto. b.p. 46192, 26 Jan. 1922)
GELLER BROS., Spadina Avenue at St. Andrew Avenue, garage, 1923 (Toronto b.p. 60175, 2 May 1923)
EMPIRE CLOTHING MFG. CO., Spadina Avenue at Phoebe Street, factory, 1923; addition, 1926 (C.R., xxxvii, 25 July 1923, 56; Toronto b.p. 87010, 17 Feb. 1926)
DUNDAS STREET WEST, at Elizabeth Street, five stores and offices for Dr. M. Kates, 1924 (Toronto b.p. 68304, 25 Feb. 1924)
BEVERLEY STREET, at Dundas Street West, apartment block for Benjamin Brown, Architect, 1924 (Toronto b.p. 69319, 7 April 1924)
READING BUILDING, Spadina Avenue at Camden Street, for H. Greisman, 1925 (Toronto b.p. 77115, 12 Jan. 1925; C.R., xxxix, 11 Feb. 1925, 50)
WOLVERINE LTD., Duncan Street at Nelson Street, factory for H. Greisman, 1925 (Toronto b.p. 82873, 11 Aug. 1925)
ST. CLAIR AVENUE WEST, at Robina Avenue, stores and apartments for S. Wilks, 1926 (Toronto b.p. 87556, 24 March 1926)
RELIANCE ENGRAVERS LTD., Bond Street, factory, 1927 (C.R., xli, 18 May 1927, 54, t.c.; Daily Journal of Commerce [Toronto], 31 May 1927, 1, illus.)
LYNDHURST AVENUE, near Austin Crescent, residence for Samuel Shapiro, 1927 (C.R., l June 1927, 51)
HERMANT BUILDING, Victoria Street at Dundas Square, factory 1927; stores and office tower, 1929 (Toronto b.p. 99100, 21 May 1927; B 8407, 17 June 1929; C.R., xlv, 9 Dec. 1931, 59, illus. in advert.)
COMMODORE BUILDING, Adelaide Street West at Peter Street, at the south-east corner, for S. Fremes & Co., 1928-29 (C.R., xli, 21 Dec. 1927, 47; Toronto b.p. B3987, 10 Dec. 1928)
TOWER BUILDING, Spadina Avenue at Adelaide Street West, at the north-west corner, factory for Superior-Oxford Ltd., 1927-28 (C.R., xli, 23 March 1927, 53; 2 Nov. 1927, 57, illus.; Daily Journal of Commerce [Toronto], 20 June 1927, 1, illus.)
JARVIS COURT APARTMENTS, Jarvis Street at Maitland Street, 1928-29 (Toronto b.p. B4188, 24 Dec. 1928; Weekly Building Reporter [Toronto], 6 Sept. 1930, 9 and 12, illus. & descrip.)
CHARLES STREET EAST, near Church Street, stores and office building for Power Investments Ltd., 1929 (C.R., xliii, 24 April 1929, 65-6)
BALFOUR BUILDING, Spadina Avenue at Adelaide Street, at the north-east corner, for the Schiffer-Hillman Clothing Co., 1929-30 (Toronto b.p. B 8501, 19 June 1929; C.R., xliv, 22 Oct. 1930, 34, illus. in advert.)
THE COLLEGE-SPADINA BUILDING, College Street at Spadina Avenue, at the north-east corner, for University Investments Co., 1930 (Toronto b.p. 13858, 5 March 1930)
CASTLE FRANK CRESCENT, south of Bloor Street East, residence for Benjamin Brown, architect, 1930 (inf. Ontario Jewish Archives, Toronto)
LEVY AUTO WRECKERS, Queen Street West, c. 1930 (dwgs. at Ontario Jewish Archives, Toronto)
LEVY AUTO WRECKERS, Queen Street East near Sackville Street, 1932 (dwgs. at Ontario Jewish Archives, Toronto)
SCHIPPER BROS., Bay Street near Scollard Street, fur showroom and workshop, 1933 (C.R., xlvii, 26 April 1933, 38)
EGLINTON AVENUE WEST, at Elmsthorpe Avenue, two stores for Lorenzo DeGrande, 1935 (Toronto b.p. 45268, 8 July 1935)
PARADISE THEATRE, Bloor Street West at Westmoreland Avenue, 1937; restored 2017-18 (Globe & Mail [Toronto], 10 Aug. 2018, H9, illus. & descrip.)
ONTARIO HOSIERY CO., King Street West near Bathurst Street, factory, 1950 (Toronto b.p. 10592, 20 Oct. 1950)