Haffa, James

HAFFA, James Harold Jr. (1894-1980) was the logical successor to the practice of Arthur W. Holmes, a prolific ecclesiastical architect who had dominated the field of Roman Catholic church design in Toronto and southern Ontario during the first three decades of the 20th C. Born in Toronto on 8 September 1894, Haffa articled with James A. Harvey (in 1913-14) and may have trained under his father James H. Haffa Sr., who is recorded as an architect in Toronto in the period of 1914-18. In 1921 he was listed as 'head designer' with John M. Jeffrey, but was absent from the city during the period of 1924-28. By 1930 he had joined John M. Lyle as a draftsman, remaining with him until late 1932. Haffa practiced under his own name from 1933 onward, and during a career lasting more than 40 years, he was said to have designed "....hundreds of Catholic churches and schools in Toronto and southern Ontario'.. Haffa was not a modernist; instead he drew upon Gothic and Romanesque tradition in his designs for churches, rarely departing from the formal symmetry evident in virtually every ecclesiastical plan that he prepared. His treatment of the elevation employed his recognizable trademark '..a pair of choir windows bisected with the form of a large stone cross dominating the front facade'. In 1957 he was made a Knight of St. Gregory by Pope Pius XII for a career devoted to ecclesiastical architecture. He possessed a total commitment to the design of the interiors for his commissions, and often donated the expenses incurred for all of the contents of the sanctuary, the altars, and statues to many of the churches for which he had prepared the plans. Haffa died in Toronto on 18 July 1980 (obituary Toronto Star, 22 July 1980, C 16; inf. Toronto Roman Catholic Archdiocese Archives)

VICTORIA HARBOUR, ONT., St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 1937 (inf. Toronto Archdiocese Archives)
TORONTO, ONT., major alterations and improvements to interior of St. Michael's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Bond Street, 1937 (inf. Toronto Archdiocese Archives)
VINELAND, ONT., Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Maplegrove Road, and later renamed St. Helen's R.C. Church, 1938 (Globe & Mail [Toronto], 3 Oct. 1938, 4, descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church, Bloor Street West near Royal York Road, 1940-41 (C.R., liii, 21 Aug. 1940, 19)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Cyril Roman Catholic Church and Rectory, Robinson Street, 1941 (inf. Toronto Archdiocese Archives)
BELLEVILLE, ONT., Roman Catholic Convent, Victoria Avenue at Pinnacle Street, 1941 (C.R., liv, 9 April 1941, 30)
KINGSTON, ONT., St. John's Roman Catholic Church and Rectory, Patrick Street at Quebec Street, 1941 (C.R., liv, 7 May 1941, 31)
KESWICK, ONT., Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Church, 1942 (inf. Toronto Archdiocese Archives)
HAMILTON, ONT., St. John The Baptist Roman Catholic Church, King Street East, parish Hall for the church, 1942 (Mark Osbaldeston, Unbuilt Hamilton, 2016, 74, illus. & descrip.)
OSHAWA, ONT., Roman Catholic School for Holy Cross Parish, Simcoe Street, 1942 (C.R., lv, 11 Feb. 1942, 28)
HUMBERSTONE, ONT., Roman Catholic Church and School, 1942 (C.R., lv, 30 Sept. 1942, 25)
PETERBOROUGH, ONT., Roman Catholic High School, 1944-45 (C.R., xvii, 22 Nov. 1944, 29)
EAST YORK, Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church and Rectory, Cosburn Avenue at Donlands Avenue, 1947 (inf. Toronto Archdiocese Archives)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Vladimir's Ukranian Orthodox Cathedral, Bathurst Street near College Street, 1947 (C.R., lx, June 1947, 112)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Michael's Roman Catholic Choir School, Bond Street, 1948 (C.R., lxi, Feb. 1948, 168; Toronto Telegram, 27 Feb. 1948, 17, illus.)
TORONTO, ONT., Notre Dame Roman Catholic High School, Malvern Avenue at Kingston Road, 1948 (C.R., lxi, April 1948, 144)
TORONTO, ONT., De La Salle Oaklands Roman Catholic High School, Avenue Road at Farnham Avenue, 1949 (Toronto b.p. 4001, 8 Aug. 1949)
OSHAWA, ONT., Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Simcoe Street South, 1950 (C.R., lxiii, March 1950, 136)
NORTH YORK, Christian Brothers Roman Catholic Training School, Victoria Park Avenue near Rowena Drive, 1950 (C.R., lxiii, June 1950, 125)
OTONABEE, ONT., Roman Catholic Church, 1950 (E. Boland, History of the Diocese of Peterborough 1882-1975, 221-3, illus.)