JEFFREY, John MacNee (1883-1956) was active in Toronto from 1913 where he was employed as a staff architect for Canadian Investments Ltd., a real estate and investment company. In 1915 he opened his own office in that city and obtained several major commissions for movie theaters for Famous Players Co. and for Paramount Films Ltd. Born in Glasgow, Scotland on 1 April 1883, he articled with David Andrew Jr. of Glagow from 1899 to 1904 while studying at the Glasgow School of Art. He moved to London in 1904, and worked as an assistant in the Architects' Department of the London County Council until 1907, then joined Emanuel V. Harris of London and was employed as his assistant in 1907-08. He emigrated to Canada in 1912 and settled in Toronto, Ont., but did not open his own office until 1915. His best known works are his designs for early moving picture theatres in Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, and Peterborough, Ont., and as far away as Victoria, B.C.
In November 1923 he left Canada and emigrated to the United States, settling in Burbank, California where he was employed as a staff member of the New York City firm of Schultze & Weaver, Architects, overseeing their work on the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel. After 1926 he moved to the White Plains area, north of New York City, and continued to work for Schultze & Weaver (later Schultze & Associates), assisting them with the design of landmark hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria (1931), The Sherry Netherland (1927), The Pierre (1929), the Park Central, and the Lexington Hotels, all in New York City, as well as helping to plan the Miami Biltmore Hotel, and the White Plains Hospital.
In early 1931 an item appeared in a Toronto architectural journal which noted that ".....J.M. Jeffrey, who for the past several years has been in California and New York, has returned to Toronto to practice" (Const., xxiv, May 1931, 176). However, this attempt to sustain a practise in the depths of the Depression were unsuccessful, and within a year, Jeffrey had returned to New York State, taking up residence in Valley Cottage, near White Plains. He served as Building Inspector and Zoning Officer in Clarkstown, then opening his own office as an architect after 1945. His works there include the Fire Halls at New City and at Stony Point, the Westwood Episcopal Church, and the Avon Court Apartment Block, South Middletown Road, Pearl River, N.Y., 1954-55 (Journal-News [White Plains], 1 Feb. 1955, 12-13, illus.). Jeffrey later died at Valley Cottage, N.Y. on 10 March 1956 (obituary Journal-News [White Plains], 10 March 1956, 1). Jeffrey was an Associate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, and a summary of his career up to 1914 appears in The Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, 2001, 1017 (biog. Dictionary of Scottish Architects [online].
(works in Toronto unless noted)
SWANSEA PUBLIC SCHOOL, Windermere Avenue, 1916 (Const., ix, Oct. 1916, 363)
MORNINGSIDE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, Kennedy Avenue at Morningside Avenue, Swansea, 1916 (Const., ix, Nov. 1916, 396)
ALTON, ONT., country residence for Andrew Dods, Caldeon Township, 1917 (Const., x, May 1917, 160-1, illus.)
BELLEVILLE, ONT., residence for Jamieson Bone, Bridge Street East at Charles Street, 1919 (C.R., xxxiii, 19 March 1919, 48)
SAULT STE. MARIE, ONT., movie theatre from Paramount Theatres Ltd., 1920 (C.R., xxxiv, 28 April 1920, 61)
PALACE THEATRE, Danforth Avenue at Pape Avenue, for Famous Players Corp., 1920; demol. 1988 (Toronto b.p. 32479, 3 July 1920)
VICTORIA, B.C., movie theatre for Famous Players Corp., 1920 (C.R., xxxiv, 25 Aug. 1920, 49)
PETERBOROUGH, ONT., movie theatre for Paramount Theatres Ltd., 1921 (C.R., xxxv, 23 March 1921, 55)
STANDARD THEATRE, [later called The Strand Theatre; and later renamed The Victory Burlesque Theatre], Spadina Avenue at Dundas Street West, 1921 (Toronto b.p. 37477, 23 March 1921)
CENTRE ISLAND, summer home for Arthur Cohen, 1921-22 (C.R., xxxv, 14 Dec. 1921, 53)
HILLCREST CHURCH OF CHRIST, Vaughan Road at Helena Avenue, 1922-23 (Toronto b.p. 50153, 16 May 1922; Const., xvi, Feb. 1923, 68-70, illus. & descrip.)
PORT CREDIT, ONT., major addition and alterations to residence for John P. Bickell, Gravel Road, 1922 (C.R., xxxvi, 22 Feb. 1922, 54)
BABY POINT CRESCENT, residence for Frank Coryell, 1922 (C.R., xxxvi, 9 Aug. 1922, 51)
HIGH PARK GARDENS, residence for Andrew W. Dods, 1923 (C.R., xxxvii, 30 May 1923, 174)