Mason, Robert Ethelbert

MASON, Robert Ethelbert (1883-1937), a prominent architect in northern Ontario who lived and worked in Fort William (now part of Thunder Bay) for over thirty years. Born in London, Ont. on 18 June 1883, he attended London Collegiate, but he does not appear to have obtained a formal university education in architecture. Instead, much of his knowledge of design and building construction came from his apprenticeship in the office of Hubert C. McBride, a leading architect in London, Ont., where he trained from 1902 to 1904. Mason then moved to the Lakehead in 1905 and worked as a draftsman in the office of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in Fort William. He opened an office under his own name in 1906 and designed a variety of ecclesiastical, educational, commercial and residential buildings in Fort William, and well as in nearby Fort Frances, Ont. His best known works in Thunder Bay include the modern Gothic design for St. Paul‘s Anglican Church (1907-08), as well as for the substantial brick building of the Vocational School (1930-31), executed in a refined Collegiate Gothic style.
Mason died in Port Arthur at the age of 54 years on 26 November 1937 after a long illness (obit. Port Arthur News-Chronicle, 27 Nov. 1937; obit. Engineering & Contract Record [Toronto], vol. 50, 8 Dec. 1937, 27; inf. Ontario Assoc. of Architects). A photographic portrait of Mason can be found in the Fort William Times- Journal, 26 April 1911, 6.


ST. PAUL'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, Ridgeway Street at John Street, 1907-08; burned 1932; rebuilt (Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 15 April 1907, 1 & 3, illus.; Fifty Years of Christian Witness: St. Paul's Anglican Church, Fort William, 1958, illus. & descrip.)
ARCHIBALD STREET SOUTH, at Ridgeway Street, residence for Edward R. Wayland, 1907 (Fort William b.p. 231, 1907)
JOHN STREET, residence for Dr. O.G. Hassard, 1907 (Fort William b.p. 260, 1907)
SYNDICATE STREET SOUTH, at Ridgeway Street, residence for Dr. Henry E. Paul, 1908 (C.R., xix, 20 May 1908, 28, t.c.)
FRANCIS STREET SCHOOL, Francis Street at Brock Street, 1908; addition, 1919; demol. (C.R., xix, 13 May 1908, 28, t.c.; Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 7 April 1919, 3)
OGDEN STREET SCHOOL, major addition, 1908; major additions, 1919; demol. c. 1975 (C.R., xxii, 17 June 1908, 30; Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 7 April 1919, 3)
ALGOMA STEAM LAUNDRY CO., Hardisty Street at McVicar Street, 1910 (Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 19 March 1910, 5, illus. & descrip.)
RIDGEWAY STREET, at Catherine Street, residence for Frederick R. Morris, 1910 (Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 20 April 1910, 1)
SYMES & CO., Hardisty Street North at Leith Street, warehouse, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 22 June 1910, 27)
CENTRAL SCHOOL, Miles Street, major addition, 1911; demol. 1960 (C.R., xxv, 29 March 1911, 51)
POLICE STATION & COURT HOUSE, Donald Street, 1910-11 (Morning Herald [Fort William], 8 April 1911, descrip.)
CATHERINE STREET, at Ridgeway Street, residence for William J. Ross, 1911 (C.R., xxv, 21 June 1911, 59)
(with David W.F. Nichols) YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION, Archibald Street East at Miles Street, 1911-12 (Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 27 June 1911, 15, t.c.; 2 Nov. 1911, 1, illus.)
McKELLAR HOSPITAL, Archibald Street near Arthur Street, Nurse's Residence, 1911; addition to hospital, 1926 (Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 15 Dec. 1911, 2, descrip.; Fort William b.p. 309, 1 Sept. 1926)
SIMPSON STREET, residence for John Manion, 1912 (Fort William b.p. 247, 1912)
CAMERON-HEAP CO. LTD., Simpson Street at Finlayson Street, warehouse, 1913-14 (C.R., xxvii, 1 Jan. 1913, 79; Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 19 Dec. 1914, 8, descrip., but lacking attribution)
FIFE HARDWARE CO., Hardisty Street South, warehouse, 1913 (Fort William b.p. 382, 20 Aug. 1913)
ARLINGTON APARTMENTS, Brodie Street North near Miles Street, 1913 (Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 19 Jan. 1914, 12, descrip.)
CAMERON & JENKENS, Victoria Avenue, apartments and funeral parlor, 1914 (C.R., xxviii, 22 April 1914, 78)
SELKIRK STREET, at Isabella Street, residence for James Murphy, 1917 (C.R., xxxi, 21 March 1917, 45)
ISABELLA STREET SCHOOL, major addition, 1919 (Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 7 April 1919, 3)
FORT WILLIAM COLLEGIATE & TECHNICAL SCHOOL, Marks Street South near Isabella Street, 1919-20; addition 1924 (Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 15 March 1916, 3; 12 April 1919, 7, t.c.; C.R., xxxviii, 22 Oct. 1924, 50)
CRAWFORD AVENUE SCHOOL, Crawford Avenue at Amelia Street, 1922 (C.R., 17 May 1922, 139)
AVENUE HOTEL, McVicar Street at George Street, addition, 1926 (Const., xix, July 1926, 212)
ELKS CLUB, Syndicate Street at Miles Street, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 8 Aug. 1928, 63)
VOCATIONAL SCHOOL, Selkirk Street South, 1930-31 (Const., xxiii, May 1930, 176; Canadian Engineer, lxiv, 26 Jan. 1932, 33, illus. in advert.)
(with Harry M. Scott) FORT WILLIAM SANATORIUM, Lillie Street near Miles Street, 1934 (C.R., xlviii, 1 Aug. 1934, 669)


FORT FRANCES, ONT., Moore Public School, Second Street East, 1913; addition 1926 (inf. from Fort Frances-Rainy River Board of Education)
FORT FRANCES, ONT., Skating Arena, 1921 (Winnipeg Tribune, 29 Sept. 1921, 6)
FORT FRANCES, ONT., High School, 1922 (C.R., xxxvi, 24 May 1922, 58)
FORT FRANCES, ONT., Knox Presbyterian Church, 1926-27 (C. Schubring, History of Presbyterianism in Fort Frances, Ont., n.d.)


KENORA, ONT., High School, 1927. Mason was one of five architects who submitted a design in the competition for the new High School in Kenora in northwest Ontario (Winnipeg Tribune, 23 Nov. 1927, 10). His submission was passed over in favour of the winning scheme by Northwood & Chivers of Winnipeg.