English, Jay Isadore

ENGLISH [orig. ANGELCHIK], Jay Isadore (1903-1947), active in Toronto, Ont. and a leading designer of movie theatres in Ontario and British Columbia. He was born to a Jewish family named Angelchik in Lukow, Poland on 1 December 1903 and was brought to Canada by his family at a young age in 1905 or 1906. He attended Ryerson Public School in Toronto from 1912 to 1919, then enrolled in evening classes in building design and construction at the Toronto Technical School from 1919 to 1923. During this period, he spent his days training with local architects including Dowswell & Dolphin (in 1920), with F.S. Mallory (in 1921), and with Ellis & Ellis (in 1922). In 1923 he moved to Detroit, Mich. and joined the architectural office of Charles L. Phelps (in 1923-24), and from 1925 to 1927 he studied architecture at Columbia University in New York. While there, he spent two years in the office of A. Loomis Harmon, a leading architect in New York City who would later join Richard Shreve and William Lamb to design the Empire State Building (built 1929-31), the world’s tallest building at the time of its completion. In late 1927 English moved back to Detroit and accepted a position as designer in the office of Albert Kahn Inc. one of the largest architectural and engineering firms in America, where he assisted with design and completion of the mammoth Fisher Building, West Grand Boulevard, Detroit (1927-28). English remained in Kahn’s office for five years, then returned to Toronto in late 1932.

He commenced his career in Toronto in 1932, and became a registered architect in Ontario (in 1935), in British Columbia (in 1940), and in Nova Scotia (in 1945). He specialized in the design of movie theatres, at first for Famous Players Co., and, from 1945, as Chief Architect for the Odeon Theatre chain in Canada. His largest and most important theatre commission was for the Odeon Carlton Theatre in Toronto, the flagship of the Odeon chain, and a striking modernist work with an 80 foot tower visible from several blocks away (built 1947-48; demol. 1974). The promising career of J.I. English came to an abrupt end on 18 August 1947 when, at the age of 45 years, he drowned in a canoe accident on Gull Lake near Gravenhurst, Ont. (obituary and port. Globe & Mail [Toronto], 19 Aug. 1947, 4; obit. and port. Toronto Star, 19 Aug. 1947, 14; obit. Ottawa Journal, 19 Aug. 1947, 6; inf. Ontario Association of Architects; inf. Architectural Institute of British Columbia). At the time of his death, he was said to have 19 movie theatre buildings under design development or in the construction stage. His successor was Leslie H. Kemp, FRIBA, a British architect who was brought over to Canada by the management of the Odeon chain to complete the projects by Jay English which were then under construction in 1947-48.

Jay I. ENGLISH - Movie Theatres

TORONTO, ONT., movie theatre, Bathurst Street, south of St. Clair Avenue West, 1936 (Daily Commercial News [Toronto], 22 April 1936, 5, illus. & descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., on Westover Hill Road, Cedarvale, between Eglinton Avenue West and Dewborn Road, a tract of 35 bungalows on both the east side and west side of the street, 1936 (Toronto Star, 17 July 1936, 15, descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., Fox Movie Theatre, Queen Street East, east of Beech Avenue, alterations and improvements to entrance and lobby, 1927; still standing in 2023 (dwgs. at City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 410, File 800)
PETERBOROUGH, ONT., major alterations and improvements for the Royal Theatre, George Street, 1938 (Canadian Moving Picture Digest [Toronto], 16 July 1938, 10)
TORONTO, ONT., National Theatre, Yonge Street near Gerrard Street East, new facade and major alterations, 1938 (Canadian Moving Picture Digest [Toronto], 8 Oct. 1938, 9)
SUDBURY, ONT., theatre with two stores, Durham Street North, 1938 (C.R., li, 21 Sept. 1938, 25)
ST. CATHARINES, ONT., theatre and stores, St. Paul Street, 1938-39 (C.R., li, 30 Nov. 1938, 33)
ORILLIA, ONT., Geneva Theatre, 1939 (Building in Canada, Winter 1940, 8, illus.)
WINDSOR, ONT., Park Theatre, Ottawa Street at Moy Avenue, 1939-40 (C.R., lii, 15 Nov. 1939, 33; Canadian Moving Picture Digest [Toronto], 23 Dec. 1939, 7)
NIAGARA FALLS, ONT., Seneca Theatre, 1940 (inf. Architectural Inst. of British Columbia)
TORONTO, ONT., New Orpheum Theatre, Queen Street West near Bathurst Street, 1940 (Canadian Moving Picture Digest [Toronto], 31 Aug. 1940, 6)
PORT ARTHUR, ONT., theatre for Famous Players Co., Park Street at Court Street, 1941 (C.R., liv, 15 Jan. 1941, 30)
FORT WILLIAM, ONT., theatre for Famous Players Co., Brodie Street, 1941 (C.R., liv, 15 Jan. 1941, 30)
HAMILTON, ONT., theatre for Famous Players Co., 1941 (C.R., liv, 15 Jan. 1941, 30)
WELLAND, ONT., theatre for Famous Players Co., 1941 (C.R., liv, 5 March 1941, 34)
SUDBURY, ONT., theatre and two stores for McKim Theatre Co., Durham Street North, 1941 (C.R., liv, 26 March 1941, 32)
SARNIA, ONT., extensive alterations to former Embassy Club, North Christina Street, for a new theatre for Famous Players Co., 1941 (Canadian Moving Picture Digest [Toronto], 15 March 1941, 4)
CORNWALL, ONT., theatre for Famous Players Co., Montreal Road, 1941 (C.R., liv, 9 April 1941, 30)
TORONTO, ONT., Odeon Carlton Theatre, Carlton Street near Yonge Street, 1946-47; demol. (C.R., lix, Aug. 1946, 153)
TORONTO, ONT., Odeon Danforth Theatre, Danforth Avenue at Pape Avenue, 1946-47; demol. (C.R., lix, Oct. 1946, 95)
OTTAWA, ONT., Odeon Theatre, Bank Street, 1946-47; completed by Leslie Kemp, 1948-49; demol. 1999-2000 (C.R., lix, Dec. 1946, 74; Ottawa Journal, 20 May 1949, 30-32, descrip.)
LONDON, ONT., Odeon Theatre, Dundas Street, 1946-47 (C.R., lix, Dec. 1946, 74)
PETERBOROUGH, ONT., theatre for Northland Theatre Co., George Street, 1946-47 (C.R., lix, Dec. 1946, 78)
OSHAWA, ONT., Odeon Theatre, King Street at Victoria Street South, 1946-47 (C.R., lix, Dec. 1946, 78)
NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C., Odeon Theatre, Lonsdale Avenue near 14th Street, 1947 (C.R., lx, Feb. 1947, 149)
PORT ARTHUR, ONT., Odeon Theatre, South Court Street, 1947 (C.R., lx, May 1947, 124)
FORT WILLIAM, ONT., Odeon Theatre, Victoria Avenue, 1947 (C.R., lx, June 1947, 112)
TORONTO, ONT., Odeon Fairlawn Theatre, Yonge Street at Fairlawn Avenue, 1947 (C.R., lx, June 1947, 110; R.A.I.C. Journal, xxv, Feb. 1948, 47-9, illus.)

Jay I. ENGLISH - Other works

TORONTO, ONT., John H. Simmons & Sons, Florists, Yonge Street, west side, at Elm Street, major interior alterations to retail store, 1932-33 (City of Toronto b.p. 31326, 1932; and b.p. 36102, 1933; inf. Marybeth McTeague, City of Toronto)
TORONTO, ONT., Shully Auto Supplies & Service Station, Yonge Street at Hillsdale Avenue, 1934; demol. (Toronto Daily Star, 25 May 1934, 19, illus. & descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., Carnation Apartments, Bathurst Street opposite Markdale Avenue, 1937 (C.R., vol. 50, 9 June 1937, 32)
TORONTO, ONT., Cheritan Manor Apartments, Cheritan Avenue at Yonge Street, 1937 (C.R., vol. 50, 24 Nov. 1937, 10, illus.)
SCARBOROUGH, ONT. [East Toronto], Chateau des Quante Vents Apartments, Queen Street East near Courcelette Road, 1938 (C.R., li, 6 April 1938, 37; Financial Post [Toronto], 11 June 1938, 15, descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., Edgewood Terrace Apartments, Chatsworth Drive at Yonge Street, 1939 (Toronto b.p. 63282, 29 March 1939)
TORONTO, ONT., Village Heights Apartments, Old Forest Hill Road at Eglinton Avenue West, 1939 (C.R., lii, 28 June 1939, 30)
TORONTO, ONT., Warwick Manor Apartments, Bathurst Street at Warwick Avenue, 1939 (C.R., lii, 28 June 1939, 30)