Curry, Samuel George

CURRY, Samuel George (1854-1942), a leading figure in architectural circles in Toronto, Ont. where he was active in the following offices and partnerships:

Darling & Curry, 1880-1890
Darling, Curry, Sproatt & Pearson 1891-1892
S.G. Curry, 1893-1894
Curry & Baker, 1895-1898
S.G. Curry, 1898-1904
Curry, Sproatt & Rolph, 1905-07
S.G. Curry, 1908
Curry & Sparling, 1909-1917
S.G. Curry, 1918-1930

Born in Port Hope, Ont. on 15 July 1854, he was educated there, but by 1874 he had moved to Kingston, Ont. where he articled in the office of Robert Gage, and assisted him with the preparation of the drawings for the Education Block (now called the MacKenzie Building), a Kingston landmark which faces the Parade Ground at the Royal Military College (built 1876-78). While working in the office of Gage, Curry exhibited two sets of drawings for the competition for Queen's College in Kingston in early 1879, where they were complimented in local newspapers that stated "....the execution of these plans and elevations reflect the highest credit upon Mr. Curry, the talented draughtsman. There is a style of finish and colouring to these drawings that is difficult to surpass" (Daily British Whig [Kingston], 30 Jan. 1879, 2, descrip.). Curry moved to Toronto in late 1879 and may have worked as an assistant to Frank Darling; by September 1880 Darling had invited Curry to form a partnership that endured for more than a decade (see list of works under Darling & Curry). Their collaboration ended in 1892, and Curry spent the next 40 years working under his own name, or in partnership with other Toronto architects.

Throughout his career in Toronto, Curry had a remarkable ability to associate himself with some of the leading architects in Canada, including the brilliant Frank Darling, and the talented Francis S. Baker, as well as with Henry Sproatt, the master of the Collegiate Gothic style. Yet when working alone under his own name, a careful examination of the quality of his own work proves it to be uneven, and at times disappointing, and he seems to lack the formidable design skills of his illustrious partners. His own designs for private houses are competent, but much of his professional reputation rests on reliability rather than on originality as a designer. He is often mistakenly credited with the fine Edwardian design of the federal Postal Station F, still standing at the north-east corner of Yonge Street and Charles Street (1905-06), but an examination of the original drawings for this building, and now held at the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa, confirms that the design was developed by David Ewart and his staff at the Dept. of Public Works, with Curry merely acting as local associate architect in Toronto, and responsible for supervising the day-to-day construction of this building. After WW1, when working under his own name, the design which he prepared for the Reford Building on Bay Street (1922) is particularly dull and adds little to his reputation.

Curry did possess a wide-ranging knowledge of, and interest in, the architectural history of Toronto and Kingston, and he wrote extensively on these subjects. His illustrated essay on this topic, entitled “Architecture: Looking Back”, about the buildings at Queen’s Univ. and at the Univ. of Toronto, was published in Construction [Toronto], xx, June 1927, 175-83, illus. He was also active as a city planner, and prepared his own master plan for development in downtown Toronto, illustrated in an article entitled “ Suggested Improvements for Toronto’s Downtown Section” which appeared in Construction [Toronto], xxii, Feb. 1929, 63-68, illus. Curry took a keen interest in the activities of the Architectural Guild of Toronto, formed in October 1887, which later led to the creation of the Ontario Association of Architects in 1890. He served as President of the O.A.A. in 1892, and engaged in civic politics as an alderman to Toronto City Council in 1902-03. He was also nominated as an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1885 and participated in their annual exhibitions from 1885 to 1897.

Curry died in Toronto on 11 February 1942 (obit. Globe & Mail [Toronto], 12 Feb. 1942, 5; obit. R,A.I.C. Journal, xix, June 1942, 140; biog. Who’s Who and Why in Canada, 1915-16, 360). A photographic portrait of Curry appears in Canadian Architect & Builder, iii, Dec. 1890. The Library at the Art Gallery of Ontario holds an collection of nearly 100 architectural books and folios which were part of the personal library of Curry, and were donated by him to the AGO in 1936-37. A dated list of these books, with authors and titles, can be viewed at the AGO Library.


(works in Toronto unless noted)

PORT HOPE, ONT., reconstruction after a fire of the Town Hall, Queen Street, with new dome and cupola, 1893 (W.A. Craik, Port Hope Historical Sketches, 1901, 25)
(with Frank Darling and Henry Sproatt) IMPERIAL BANK, Queen Street East at Yonge Street, with additional storey to shops adjacent for John F. Brown Co., 1894; demol. (Toronto b.p. 1533, 2 March 1894)


PHILIP JAMIESON & CO., Queen Street West at Yonge Street, department store, 1895 (Globe [Toronto], 23 July 1895, 2, t.c.; C.A.B., ix, Jan. 1896, illus.; Architecture & Building (New York), xxiv, 18 Jan. 1896, 31 and plate illus.)
TORONTO ISLAND, Lakeside Home for Little Children, addition of the Ward Building, 1895 (C.A.B., viii, Sept. 1895, illus.)
TORONTO HIGH SCHOOL, Jarvis Street near Gerrard Street, additions, 1895; demol. 1928 (C.R., vi, 10 June 1895, 3)
GUELPH, ONT., major addition to the General Hospital, Delhi Street, 1896 (C.R., vii, 6 Feb. 1896, 1, t.c.; Guelph Daily Mercury, 28 Oct. 1896, 1; C.A.B., x, March 1897, 53, descrip.)
SPADINA ROAD, north of Bloor Street West, residence for Ebenezer F. Johnston, 1896 (C.R., vii, 12 March 1896, 1; C.A.B., ix, June 1896, illus.; x, Feb. 1897, 37)
MADISON AVENUE, near Bernard Avenue, residence for George Ross, 1896 (C.R., vii, 2 July 1896, 1, t.c.; C.A.B., x, Feb. 1897, 37)
NEWCASTLE, ONT., Union School, 1897 (C.R., viii, 11 March 1897, 1, t.c.)
ST. GEORGE STREET, opposite Russell Street, residence for John B. Kay, 1897 (C.R., viii, 14 Oct. 1897, 2-3)
GUELPH, ONT., residence for Dr. A. MacKinnon, Woolwich Street, 1897 (Guelph Daily Mercury, 27 Oct. 1897, 2, descrip.)


JOHN B. KAY & CO., King Street West near Bay Street, store and warehouse, 1898-99; facade relocated to Adelaide Street West near Yonge Street, 1988 (Toronto b.p. 15, 26 Aug. 1898; Globe [Toronto], 1 July 1899, 6, illus. & descrip.; 9 Sept. 1899, 4, illus. & descrip.; C.A.B., xiii, Jan. 1900, illus.)
(with Joseph Power) KINGSTON, ONT., restoration of St. George's Anglican Cathedral, King Street at Johnson Street, 1899 (C.R., x, 1 Feb. 1899, 2)
LUXFER PRISM CO., King Street West near York Street, addition to factory at rear on Pearl Street, 1899; demol. (Toronto b.p. 118, 9 June 1899)
HAMILTON, ONT., National Cycle & Automobile Co., Emerald Street North, factory, 1900 (C.R., xi, 23 May 1900, 2)
JOHN B. SMITH & SONS LTD., Wellington Street West opposite Stafford Street, brick stables and lumber sheds, 1900-01 (Toronto b.p. 12, 26 Nov. 1900)
QUEEN'S PARK CRESCENT, near Charles Street West, mansion for Elias T. Malone, 1901 (Toronto b.p. 264, 20 Sept. 1901)
GLEN ROAD, near Maple Avenue, residence for William T. McIntyre, 1902 (Toronto b.p. 473, 17 June 1902)
TORONTO DAILY NEWS, Yonge Street at Adelaide Street West, office and printing plant, 1903 (Toronto b.p. 824, 11 March 1903)
JAMES FAIRWEATHER & CO., Yonge Street near King Street West, department store, 1903 (Toronto b.p. 1375, 2 July 1903)
TORONTO CHAMBERS, King Street East at Toronto Street, extensive remodelling, 1904 (Toronto World, 28 May 1904, 6, descrip.)
BEDFORD ROAD, near Prince Arthur Avenue, residence for Mrs. Clara Chalcroft, 1904 (Toronto b.p. 1337, 6 Oct. 1904)


BAY TREE HOTEL, Bay Street at Adelaide Street West, 1905; demol. (C.R., xvi, 19 July 1905, 5)
VICTORIA ARCADE BUILDING, Victoria Street north of King Street East, 1905 (C.R., xvi, 29 March 1905, 7)
NURSE'S RESIDENCE, Elizabeth Street near Hayter Street, 1905 (Toronto b.p. 1535, 19 July 1905)
BRANTFORD, ONT., Crown Bank, 1906 (C.R., xvi, 7 Feb. 1906, 6)
NATIONAL CLUB, Bay Street near Adelaide Street West, 1906 (C.A.B., xx, Feb. 1907, 19, illus.; Const., i, April 1908, 48-54, illus.)
LOWTHER AVENUE, near Bedford Road, residence for Miller Lash, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 3059, 8 March 1906; Const., iii, Aug. 1910, 76-9, illus. & descrip. but credited to Henry Sproatt)
METROPOLITAN METHODIST CHURCH, Parsonage House, Shuter Street at Bond Street, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 3407, 11 April 1906; C.A.B., xix, May 1906, 68, illus.)
CHESTNUT PARK ROAD, residence for Joseph T. Rolph, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 3548, 23 April 1906)
POPLAR PLAINS ROAD, near Edmund Avenue, residence for George G. Burnett, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 3989, 28 May 1906)
S.F. BOUSER & CO., Fraser Avenue, factory, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 5017, 22 Aug. 1906)
MILLER CARTAGE CO., Dupont Street near Christie Street, stables, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 5404, 29 Sept. 1906)
ST. ANDREW'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, King Street West at Simcoe Street, chancel and various alterations, 1907 (C.R., xviii, 17 April 1907, 6)
AULT & WIBORG CO., Charlotte Street near Adelaide Street West, factory, 1907 (Toronto b.p. 7487, 10 May 1907)


AVENUE ROAD, near St. Clair Avenue West, residence for Mrs. E.B. Williams, 1908 (Toronto b.p. 12360, 27 Aug. 1908; C.R., xxii, 4 Nov. 1908, 22, illus.)


CANADIAN NATIONAL CARBON CO., Paton Road near Symington Avenue, factory, 1909 (Toronto b.p. 20903, 31 May 1909)
EDGAR AVENUE, residence for the architect William F. Sparling, 1909 (Const., ii, Oct. 1909, 41-5, 51, illus. & descrip.)
ROXBOROUGH STREET EAST, near Schofield Avenue, residence for George A. Evans, 1909-10 (Toronto b.p. 18606, 10 Dec. 1909)
KIMBARK BOULEVARD, near Avenue Road, residence for Ernest C. Jury, 1909-10 (Const., iv, Oct. 1911, 81-4, illus. & descrip.)
SYDNEY, N.S., St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Bentinck Street, 1910-11 (C.R., xxiv, 16 Feb. 1910, 25)
CASTLE FRANK ROAD, residence for J. Sinclair Robertson, 1910 (Toronto b.p. 20657, 18 May 1910)
GLEN ROAD, at Roxborough Drive, residence for Charles A. Davis, 1910 (Toronto b.p. 22081, 14 July 1910)
BEDFORD PARK AVENUE, residence for Reginald C. Ellis, 1910-11 (Builder & Contractor [Toronto], i, 15 May 1911, 153-4, illus. & descrip.)
TORONTO TELEGRAM, Melinda Street, warehouse for John R. Robertson, 1910; demol. (Toronto b.p. 23452, 27 Sept. 1910)
W.J. BOLUS & CO., Victoria Street near Shuter Street, warehouse, 1910-11 (Toronto b.p. 24800, 10 Dec. 1910)
QUEBEC BANK, King Street West near Jordan Street, 1911; demol. 1969 (Toronto b.p. 28703, 18 March 1911; Const., v, July 1912, 52-7, illus.)
L. RAWLINSON FURNITURE CO., Yonge Street near Gloucester Street, warehouse, 1911 (Toronto b.p. 26665, 25 April 1911)
CHARLES E. GOAD CO., Bond Street, office block, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 36684, 17 Aug. 1912)
EDGAR AVENUE, near Roxborough Street East, residence for Mrs. William F. Sparling, 1911 (Toronto b.p. 28827, 4 July 1911)
ROXBOROUGH STREET EAST, near Highland Avenue, residence for George A. Evans, 1911 (Toronto b.p. 28828, 4 July 1911)
GEORGE J. FOY LTD., Front Street West near Yonge Street, warehouse, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 31857, 29 Nov. 1911; Const.,vii, April 1914, 136-7, illus. & descrip.)
PORT HOPE, ONT., General Hospital, Ward Street, 1912 (C.R., xxvi, 17 Jan. 1912, 72, t.c.)
YONGE STREET, near Hayden Street, stores and apartments for M.H.P. Blachford, 1912 (C.R., xxvi, 14 Feb. 1912, 70, t.c.)
ST. ANDREW'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, Emily Street, the Institute Building, 1912; demol. 1987 (Toronto b.p. 34670, 10 June 1912)
ELM STREET, at Nanton Avenue, residence for A.W. Blachford, 1912 (Toronto b.p.33086, 3 April 1912)
SPADINA AVENUE, north of College Street, store and apartments for Ernest D. Burnett, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 35231, 21 June 1912)
CANADIAN JEWELLERY CASE CO., Stafford Street, near King Street West, warehouse, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 35657, 28 June 1912)
WARREN ROAD, at Heath Street, residence for Rhys D. Fairbairn, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 35655, 28 June 1912)
METALLIC ROOFING CO., King Street West at Dufferin Street, factory, 1913; demol. (Toronto b.p. 4740, 2 June 1913)
WHITNEY AVENUE, at Glen Road, residence for John B. Hutchins, 1913 (Toronto b.p. 6065, 1 Aug. 1913)
GRANITE CLUB, Church Street, 1914 (Toronto b.p. 8995, 29 Jan. 1914)
TRURO, N.S., First Presbyterian Church, Prince Street, 1914-15 (C.R., xxvii, 22 Oct. 1913, 69; Truro News, 6 March 1916, 2, descrip.)
ORIOLE PARKWAY, at Lonsdale Road, residence for Philip W. Ellis, 1914 (Toronto b.p. 8800, 6 Jan. 1914)
TRUSTS & GUARANTEE BUILDING, Bay Street near King Street West, designed by Curry & Sparling in 1916, completed by William F. Sparling & Co. in 1917 (C.R., xxx, 5 July 1916, 662, illus. & descrip.; xxxi, 12 Sept. 1917, 767-9, illus. & descrip.; Const., x, Dec. 1917, 422-30, illus.)


(with A.R. Denison) REFORD BUILDING, Bay Street at Wellington Street West, 1922; demol. 1967 (Const., xvi, Oct. 1923, 342-6, illus. & descrip.; Canadian Engineer, xlvii, 8 July 1924, 134, illus. & descrip.)