Lalor, George Hughes

LALOR, George Hughes (c. 1852-1881), a remarkably prolific and exceptionally talented architect active in Toronto, Hamilton, London and in several towns north of Toronto. His offices and partnerships include:

James & Lalor (Sept. 1871 to Sept. 1873)
G.H. Lalor (Oct. 1873 to Feb. 1874)
Lalor & Martin (Feb. 1874 to Dec. 1874)
G.H. Lalor (June 1875 to Dec. 1881)

Born c. 1852, his name first appears in the Toronto Directory of 1871-72, working as a draftsman for James Grand, an early and important architect in mid-nineteenth century Toronto. When Grand died in September 1871, both Lalor and Henry James formed a new partnership, acting as successors to the practise of Grand (see list of works under James & Lalor). Their collaboration lasted for two years, then Lalor worked briefly under his own name before forming a new partnership with Charles Martin. By early 1875 Lalor was again working on his own, designing significant landmarks in the Second Empire style, including the four storey Oddfellow’s Hall in London, Ont. , the Grand Opera House in Hamilton, and overseeing the reconstruction (after a fire) of the Toronto Opera House.

During the period from 1874 to 1881 the names of Lalor, and of Lalor & Martin, can be linked with more than 40 projects for commercial, institutional and residential projects in and around Toronto which are documented in tender calls published in The Globe in Toronto. In 1877 he designed one of most elaborate and ornate cast-iron gateways and fences found anywhere in Toronto. With its monumental archway, carriage gates and gas lanterns, it was erected to surround the property of St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Cathedral on Bond Street. Lalor’s skill and talent as a delineator and designer is clearly evident in the signed drawings for this exquisitely rendered elevations for the gate and fence which have survived, and are now held in the collections of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese Archives in Toronto.

In November 1877 Lalor prepared an impressive Italianate design, likely for a competition, for the North of Scotland Mortgage Company Block on King Street East in Toronto. His design was passed over in favour of another by David Dick, but Lalor’s signed presentation drawing has been located within the Horwood Collection at the Ontario Archives (OA, Horwood Coll., 459). One of the last projects designed by Lalor before his untimely death in 1881 were the large streetcar repair sheds and stables for the Toronto Street Railway Company, Front Street, which still stand today and were adapted by Zeidler/Roberts Architects in 1976-77 to create a new home for The Young People’s Theatre (see Christian Thomsen, Eberhard Zeidler: In Search of Human Space, 1992, 205-08, illus. & descrip.). Lalor died at St. Joseph's Convent at Guelph, Ont. from a "pulmonary ailment” on 6 June 1881 at the age of 28 years, and was buried at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in Toronto (death notice Globe [Toronto], 7 June 1881, 1; Guelph Weekly Mercury, 9 June 1881, 5; obit. Irish Canadian [Toronto], 9 June 1881, 5)


(works in Toronto unless noted)

QUEEN STREET EAST, at Church Street, row of five stores at south-west corner, 1874 (Globe [Toronto], 25 July 1874, 3, t.c.)
LONDON, ONT., Oddfellow's Hall, Dundas Street at Clarence Street, 1873-75; demol. c. 1930 (Irish Canadian [Toronto], 26 Nov. 1873, 4; Daily Advertiser [London], 20 Nov. 1874, 2, descrip.; 26 April 1875, 1, descrip.; dwgs. at OA, Horwood Coll. 459); Although initially credited to Lalor & Martin, it was Lalor who rightfully claimed to be the sole author of the design, as described in his Letter to the Editor, published in The Mail [Toronto], 24 Nov. 1873, 2.
(with Thomas G. Jackson) TORONTO OPERA HOUSE, Adelaide Street West near Yonge Street, 1874; burned 1879; rebuilt by George Lalor 1879-80 (Mail [Toronto], 30 March 1874, 4, descrip.; 9 Sept. 1874, 4, descrip.; 2 Feb. 1880, 4, descrip.; New York Times, 16 April 1874, 2, descrip.; W. Dendy, Lost Toronto, 1978, 100-01, illus.)
BULL'S HEAD HOTEL, Niagara Street at Wellington Street West, 1874 (Globe [Toronto], 27 Nov. 1874, 3, t.c.)


ST. MICHAEL'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL, Bond Street, large gateway, fence and railings, 1876-77 (Globe [Toronto], 5 Oct. 1876; Irish Canadian [Toronto], 27 June 1877, 3, descrip.; dwgs. at Roman Catholic Archdiocese Archives, Toronto)
BATHURST STREET, at College Street, store for Michael Ryan, 1876 (Globe [Toronto], 12 Aug. 1876, 7, t.c.; 4 Dec. 1876, 3)
EARL STREET, at Sherbourne Street, residence for Archbishop John J. Lynch, 1876 (inf. from Christopher Thomas, Toronto)
JARVIS STREET, north of Isabella Street, residence for George Morphy, 1876 (Jessica Mace, "The City as Spectacle - Modernity and the Urban Fabric of Jarvis Street, Toronto", in Lucie Morisset, The Architecture of Identity, 2020, 49-50, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at OA, Horwood Coll. 457, 458)
NEWMARKET, ONT., presbytery for St. John's Roman Catholic Church, Ontario Street, 1876 (Globe [Toronto], 10 April 1877, 3, t.c.)
ST. MARY'S ROMAN CATHOLIC SEPARATE SCHOOL, Bathurst Street at Adelaide Street West, facing McDonnell Square, 1877 (Globe [Toronto], 26 April 1877, 3, t.c.)
YONGE STREET, at Dundas Street East, block of buildings for Henry B. Morphy, 1878 (Globe [Toronto], 8 Nov. 1878, 3, t.c.)
ST. PATRICK'S ROMAN CATHOLIC SEPARATE SCHOOL, St. Patrick's Street north of Dundas Street West, addition, 1878 (Globe [Toronto], 28 Aug. 1878, 3, t.c.)
ST. PAUL'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Power Street at Queen Street East, chapel and several additions, 1878; demol. 1887 (Globe [Toronto], 25 June 1878, 3, t.c.)
AURORA, ONT., block of three stores on Yonge Street, 1879 (Globe [Toronto], 17 Jan. 1879, 2, t.c.)
KING STREET EAST, near Victoria Street, commercial block for Charles Potter, 1880 (Globe [Toronto], 27 Nov. 1880, 7, descrip.)
HAMILTON, ONT., Grand Opera House, James Street North at Wilson Street, 1880; partly demolished 1962 (Spectator [Hamilton], 26 April 1880, 4, descrip.; 18 May 1880, 4, descrip.; 30 Nov. 1880, 4, descrip.)
TORONTO STREET RAILWAY CO., George Street at Front Street East, stables and workshops, 1880 (Globe [Toronto], 21 July 1880, 7. t.c.; 27 Nov. 1880, 8, descrip.)
TORONTO STREET RAILWAY CO., Front Street East at Frederick Street, trolley car shed, 1880; altered and restored 1976-77 (Globe [Toronto], 21 July 1880, 7, t.c.; 27 Nov. 1880, 8, descrip.)