Denison, Arthur Richard

DENISON, Col. Arthur Richard (1857-1923) of Toronto, Ont., a prominent architect there for forty years who conducted his practise under the following names:

Denison & Falloon, Toronto, 1878-79 (with John Falloon)
Stewart & Denison, Toronto, 1880-1886 (with George A. Stewart)
A.R. Denison, Toronto, (after the early departure of Stewart), 1883-1890
Denison & King, Toronto, 1890-1891 (with George W. King)
A.R. Denison, Toronto, 1891- 1893
Dension & Fellowes, Toronto, 1893-1894 (with Frederick F. Fellows)
A.R. Denison & Co., Toronto, 1894-1906
Denison & Stephenson Toronto, 1906-1919 (with George W. Stephenson)
A.R. Denison Toronto, 1919-1922

His name can be linked to more than 100 ecclesiastical, commercial, industrial, institutional and residential works throughout southern Ontario, including completed buildings in Toronto, Walkerton, Port Hope, Markham, Uxbridge, Lindsay, and as far north as Fort William, Ontario. Born at “Heyden Villa“, Dovercourt Road, the Denison family estate in Toronto on 20 January 1857, he was the son of Col. Richard Denison, an English officer who was Commander of the York Military District during the Rebellion of 1837. Arthur was educated at Upper Canada College and about 1875, it was claimed that Denison had begun the study of architecture as an assistant in the office of the eminent John G. Howard (who had, in fact, retired from the profession in 1855), and it was also reputed that he served his apprenticeship under Walter R. Strickland, and then under Joseph Connolly, but these claims cannot be substantiated in listings of the annual City of Toronto Directories. It can be confirmed, however, that Denison worked in (and likely trained with) the office of Silas James & Co. from early 1877 to May 1878 (City of Toronto Directory, 1878, 269). In May 1878 he formed the first of several partnerships, this time with John Falloon, and their firm was active until late 1879.

In September 1880 Denison was invited by his father-in-law George A. Stewart (1830-1917) to form a partnership in Toronto, but Stewart left the city in 1883 to take up residence in Winnipeg, Man. and to pursue his career as an architect there, leaving his business partner A.R. Denison in Toronto to continue the work of the firm of Stewart & Denison until 1886 (see list of works under George A. Stewart). He continued to work under own name until May 1890 when he formed a new partnership with George W. King, but their collaboration was brief, and ended in 1891. Denison formed yet another partnership with Frederick L. Fellowes in late 1893 and, like the previous arrangement with King, this too was dissolved within months. Denison formed a new company in 1894, and it was during the next twelve years that he produced some of his best work, mixing an eclectic range of styles from Romanesque Revival (the Ossington Avenue Police Station 1890), to the late Victorian (such as the Walkerton Town Hall (1897), and even the Moorish influence in the highly mannered façade of the Athenaeum Club on Church Street (1891; demol. except for façade).

In 1906 he was once again in partnership, this time with George W. Stephenson, a successful and productive collaboration which lasted until 1919. It appears that Denison remained active under his own name right up until just one year before his death in 1923. Denison also styled himself as a Civil Engineer, and he wrote a lengthy illustrated article on the subject of “Slow Burning and Mill Construction” (Contract Record [Toronto], xxxi, 14 March 1917, pp. 219-20, illus.) He used this construction technology extensively in many of his industrial buildings such as the Purman Building, (1915-16; still standing), the Compton Corset warehouse (1915; demol. 2004), and Temple Pattison warehouse (1913; still standing).

In 1909 the firm of Denison & Stephenson was hired by the Ontario Government to prepare more than 30 different prototype designs for school buildings to be erected in villages and rural areas throughout Ontario. All of these plans, illustrated with colour plates, were published by the Ontario Dept. of Education in 1909 in their book entitled “Plans for Rural School Buildings“. A copy of this book is held at the Ontario Archives, York University, Toronto. In 1912 Denison prepared a design for a colossal Monument to Edward [Ned] Hanlan, the world renowned oarsman, to be located near the entrance to the docks at Hanlan’s Point on Toronto Island. Intended to be 100 feet in height, and made of white marble on a granite base, this 10 storey high monument would have been visible from every vantage point along the shoreline of downtown Toronto, but it was not built. A full description of the design by Denison was published in the Evening Mail [Halifax], 17 July 1912, 1, descrip.; and in the Bassano News [Bassano, Alberta], 25 July 1912, 9, descrip., and in other newspapers across the country.

Denison died in Toronto at the age of 68 years on 30 June 1924 and was buried at St. John‘s Cemetery at Humber Bay, West Toronto (obit. Mail & Empire, 1 July 1924, 7; The Globe [Toronto], 1 July 1924, 11, with port.; Telegram [Toronto], 2 July 1924, 10; biog. & port. in Rev. W. Cochrane, The Canadian Album - Men of Canada, Vol. 1, 1891, 302; biog. and list of works in Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, 14; biog. in A. Fraser, History of Ontario, 1907, ii, 683-84; biog. in Jesse Middleton, The Municipality of Toronto, 1923, iii, 348; biog. Stephen Beszedits, Eminent Toronto Architects of the Past, 1983, 84-5; inf. Kent Rawson, Toronto). The successor to his practise was Ernest V. Stokes, with whom he had been associated from 1909 to 1924 (Const., xvii, Oct. 1924, 328).

DENISON & FALLOON (works in Toronto)

LAKE VIEW AVENUE, near Ossington Avenue, 'Dover Court', additions to the villa of Col. Richard L. Denison, including vestibule, verandah and conservatory, 1878 (Leader [Toronto], 6 May 1878, 1, t.c.)
CARLTON STREET, two brick houses for an unnamed owner, 1878 (Globe [Toronto], 28 May 1878, 3, t.c.)
PARKDALE, brick additions to a public school, Jameson Avenue, 1878-79 (Globe [Toronto], 28 Dec. 1878, 7, t.c.)
PARKDALE, a brick school house, 1879 (Globe [Toronto], 12 Feb. 1879, 3, t.c.)

A.R. DENISON (Commercial & Industrial works in Toronto unless noted)

YORK STREET, at Richmond Street West, two stores for Hatton de W. Strathy, 1882 (Toronto b.p. 183, 17 Nov. 1882)
MARKHAM, ONT., factory for Fred A. Clarry, 1886 (Telegram [Toronto], 26 June 1886, 3, t.c.)
J.A. ARMSTRONG CO., Queen St. East, foundry, 1889 (Architectural Era [Syracuse], iii, March 1889, 75)

A.R. DENISON (Institutional & Ecclesiastical works in Toronto unless noted)

BROCKTON VILLAGE, near Dundas Street West, public school, 1881 (Globe [Toronto], 15 June 1881, 4)
WEST TORONTO JUNCTION, Public School for S.S. 22, Elizabeth Street at Louisa Street, 1882 (Toronto Board of Education Archives: West Toronto School Trustees Minute Books)
HOPE STREET PUBLIC SCHOOL, addition, 1883 (Toronto Board of Education Archives)
NIAGARA STREET PUBLIC SCHOOL, addition, 1884 (Annual Report of the Inspector of Public Schools of the City of Toronto for 1884, Appendix, 4)
ST. PHILIPS ANGLICAN CHURCH (later St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church), Spadina Avenue at Dundas Street West, 1883-84; demol. c. 1980 (dwgs. at Roman Catholic Archdiocese Archives, Toronto)
TORONTO ISLAND, St. Andrew's-by-the-Lake Anglican Church, 1884; addition 1894; church relocated to an adjacent site on the Island, 1959; and church still standing in 2023; addition of a rectory for Bishop Sweatman, 1884; rectory demol. c. 1960 (C.R., v, 16 Aug. 1894, 2; J.R. Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, iv, 1904, 51-5, descrip.; W. Dendy, Lost Toronto, 1978, 26-7, illus.)
ARGONAUT ROWING CLUB HOUSE, on the Lakeshore at the foot of York Street, 1887; demol. (Telegram [Toronto], 16 April 1887, 5, t.c.; Toronto World, 18 July 1887, 4, descrip.)
ST. ANN'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, Dufferin Street at Dundas Street West, extension to nave and transepts, and new tower, 1888 (Canadian Churchman, 3 Jan. 1889, 8, descrip.)
ST. HELEN'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Dundas Street West at St. Claren's Avenue, 1889 (Toronto World, 18 May 1889, 6, descrip.)
COWAN AVENUE FIRE HALL, 1890 (C.R., i, 22 Feb. 1890, 3, t.c.)
OSSINGTON AVENUE POLICE STATION, Ossington Avenue, north of Bloor Street West, 1890-91; still standing in 2023 (C.A.B., iii, Jan. 1890, illus.; Globe [Toronto], 20 Feb. 1890, 5, t.c.; Toronto Daily Mail, 30 March 1892, 6, descrip.)

DENISON & KING (works in Toronto unless noted)

RICHARD S. WILLIAMS BLOCK, Yonge Street, north of Gould Street, a block of three stores at 363-367 Yonge Street, 1890 (C.R., i, 26 April 1890, 3; P. McHugh, Toronto Architecture, 1985, 71, illus.)
PUBLIC LIBRARY, College Street at Bellevue Avenue, adjoining the Fire Hall, 1890 (Globe [Toronto], 31 May 1890, 9, t.c.)
ST. ALBAN'S SKATING & CURLING CLUB, King Street West at Cowan Avenue, 1890 (Toronto World, 28 Nov. 1890, 2, illus. & descrip.)
COMSTOCK BUILDING, Victoria Street at Lombard Street, for Alan G. Thompson, 1890 (City Archives of Toronto, Drainage Plan 3913, 21 Oct. 1890)
ATHENAEUM CLUB, Church Street near Shuter Street, 1891; partly demol. 2006-07, but facade still standing in 2023 (Globe [Toronto], 7 Feb. 1891, 5, illus. & descrip.; Toronto World, 15 April 1891, 2, descrip.; C.A.B., iv, April 1891, illus.; Toronto Daily Mail, 5 April 1892, 2, descrip.; Toronto Star, 30 Sept. 2006, Section P, page 23, illus.)
CRAWFORD STREET, three detached houses for an unnamed client, 1891 (C.A.B., iv, Sept. 1891, illus.)
ADELAIDE STREET WEST, near York Street, warehouse for an unidentified client, 1891; demol. (C.A.B., iv, Oct. 1891, illus.)

A.R. DENISON (Commercial & Industrial works in Toronto unless noted)

DUNDAS STREET WEST, at Lansdowne Avenue, hotel and four stores for John Mallon, 1891 (dwgs. at OA, Horwood Coll. 139)
TORONTO ISLAND, Hanlan's Hotel, with Auditorium Building, refreshment pavilion and club house, 1895; addition to hotel, 1897; all demol. (C.R., v, 23 Jan. 1895, 1, t.c.; viii, 30 Sept. 1897, 2)
JAMES EATON & CO. [not to be confused with T. Eaton Co., located three blocks to the north], Yonge Street at Temperance Street, reconstruction of three stores, 1895; new stores 1897-98; demol. (C.R., vi, 27 June 1895, 2; viii, 17 June 1897, 3, descrip.; ix, 2 March 1898, 3, descrip.; dwgs. at OA, Horwood Coll. 139)
W.R. BROCK & CO., Bay Street at Wellington Street West, major addition to warehouse, 1898; burned April 1904 and rebuilt 1905; demol. (Toronto b.p. 1, 7 Feb. 1898; Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, p. 14)
GEORGE H. HEES & SON, Davenport Road at Bedford Road, factory and warehouse, 1898; and new warehouse, Pears Avenue near Avenue Road, 1903 (C.R., ix, 27 April 1898, 5, descrip.; Toronto b.p. 716, 4 Feb. 1903; Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, p. 14)
STANDARD BANK, Queen Street West at Elm Grove Avenue, new facade and alterations, 1898 (C.R., ix, 27 April 1898, 5)
TORONTO GLASS CO., Victoria Street north of Queen Street East, office block, 1898; demol. (C.R., ix, 20 July 1898, 4)
TORONTO GLASS CO., Blair Street at Dovercourt Road, factory, 1898 (Toronto b.p. 2, 19 Aug. 1898)
JOHN HALLAM CO., West Market Street near The Esplanade, warehouse, 1899 (Toronto b.p. 32, 31 Oct. 1899)
CANADA BISCUIT CO., King Street West at Bathurst Street, factory, 1900 (Toronto b.p. 157, 31 Aug. 1900; Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, p. 14)
PORT HOPE, ONT., Queen's Hotel, Walton Street at John Street, reconstruction for Louis Bennett, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 9 April 1902, 2)
DIGNUM & MONYPENNY, Bay Street at Wellington Street West, warehouse, 1902; burned 1904; then rebuilt in 1905; demol. c. 1960 (Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, p. 14; C.R., xiii, 7 May 1902, 1; Toronto b.p. 999, 5 Aug. 1904)
TORONTO JUNCTION, Gurney Foundry Co., Junction Road at Weston Road, factory, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 19 March 1902, 1; Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, p. 14)
GEORGE H. HEES & SON, Bay Street at Piper Street, near Wellington Street West, a 5 storey warehouse, 1905; demol. (Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, p. 14; and 11 Sept. 1905, 7, but incorrectly credited to A.R. Davison (sic), architect; Toronto b.p. 2064, 21 Sept. 1905)
BOISSEAU BLOCK, Temperance Street at Yonge Street, 1905 (Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, p. 14)
HOME BANK OF CANADA, Queen Street West at Bathurst Street, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 2788, 10 Jan. 1906)
McCANN-KNOX MILLING CO., Jarvis Street at The Esplanade, 1906 (C.R., xvii, 28 March 1906, 4)
(with Lawson & O'Gara, local assoc.) CALGARY, ALTA., large brick warehouse for W.R. Brock Co. Ltd., Eighth Avenue at 2nd Street West, 1906 (Daily Herald [Calgary], 25 July 1906, 7, t.c.)
ADAMS FURNITURE CO., Victoria Street near Dundas Street East, warehouse, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 5723, 25 Oct. 1906)
POSITIVE CLUTCH & PULLEY CO., Jarvis Street at The Esplanade, 1911-12 (C.R., xxv, 1 Nov. 1911, 59)
CONTINENTAL PUBLISHING CO., Spadina Avenue at Sullivan Street, warehouse, 1918 (Canadian Builder & Carpenter [Toronto], viii, March 1918, 20-21, illus. & descrip.)

A.R. DENISON (Institutional & Ecclesiastical works in Toronto unless noted)

LOMBARD STREET FIRE HALL, major addition, Lombard Street, west of Church Street, 1895 (C.R., vi, 13 June 1895, 2)
FIRE HALL NO. 13, Dundas Street West near St. Clarens Avenue, 1895 (Globe [Toronto], 20 June 1895, 5, t.c.)
WALKERTON, ONT., Town Hall, Jackson Street, 1897; still standing in 2023 (C.R., viii, 20 May 1897, 1, t.c.; Bruce Herald [Walkerton], 17 Feb. 1898, 8; Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, 80 for 80: Celebrating 80 Years of the A.C.O., 2013, 150-51, illus. & descrip.)
DON ROWING CLUB, Cherry Street at the Lakeshore, clubhouse and boat storage building, 1898 (C.R., ix, 16 Feb. 1898, 3-4)
KENDAL, ONT., clubhouse for the Kendal Fishing Club, 1898 (C.R., ix, 16 March 1898, 4, t.c.)
ST. LAWRENCE MARKET, Front Street East at Jarvis Street, major alterations, with extensive glass and iron archway spanning Front Street East linking both the north and south market halls, 1898; archway removed c. 1950; South Market Hall still standing in 2023 (C.R., ix, 6 April 1898, 3, descrip.)
FORT WILLIAM, ONT., John McKellar Memorial Hospital, Arthur Street at Archibald Street, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 9 April 1902, 4)
WESTERN CATTLE MARKET, Wellington Street West at Portland Street, office building, bank, and caretaker's residence, 1901-02 (C.R., xii, 30 Oct. 1901, t.c.; Toronto b.p. 184, 15 Jan. 1902)
TEMPLE OF LABOUR, Church Street, south of Dundas Street East, opposite Metropolitan Church, 1905 (Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, p. 14)
TORONTO ISLAND, club house for the Island Amateur Aquatic Association, 1905 (C.R., xvi, 25 Oct. 1905, 4)
TORONTO ISLAND, Emmanuel Anglican Church, Hanlan's Point, 1906 (J.R. Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, v, 1908, 320-1, illus.)
ST. BARNABAS ANGLICAN CHURCH, Halton Street at Givins Street, addition of chancel, transepts and tower, 1910-12 (O.C. Bentley, St. Barnabas Church Fiftieth Anniversary, 1935, 5, illus.)
WALKERTON, ONT., St. Thomas Anglican Church, 1910-11 (Canadian Churchman, 23 Feb. 1911, 123, illus. & descrip.)

A.R. DENISON (Residential Works in Toronto unless noted)

ST. HELEN'S AVENUE, residence for Patrick Tracy, 1893 (Toronto b.p. 1334, 29 May 1893)
PARKDALE, residence for David Kennedy, Dominion Street near Tyndall Avenue, 1898; demol. (C.A.B., xi, April 1898, illus.)
ST. GEORGE STREET, near Prince Arthur Avenue, major addition and alterations to residence for George Hees, 1901 (C.R., xii, 8 May 1901, 1, t.c.)
BELLWOODS AVENUE, at Treford Place, row of four houses for G. Harold Muntz, 1902 (Toronto b.p. 63, 4 April 1902)
NANTON AVENUE, near Elm Avenue, residence for Albert S. Rogers, 1902-03 (Toronto b.p. 646, 10 Dec. 1902)
LANGLEY AVENUE, pair of houses for J.P. Rogers, 1904 (Toronto b.p. 368, 3 May 1904)
SUSSEX COURT APARTMENTS, Sussex Avenue at Huron Street, 1905 (Toronto Daily Star, 23 June 1905, Industrial Edition, p. 14)
CARLTON STREET, at Ontario Street, residence for Dr. James S. Island, 1905 (Toronto b.p. 1564, 24 July 1905)
SPADINA GARDENS APARTMENTS, Spadina Road at Lowther Avenue, 1905; still standing in 2023 (Toronto b.p. 1333, 26 June 1905)
DAVENPORT HILL, west of Bathurst Street, a large residence, in the Shingle Style, for an unnamed client, 1905-06 (Toronto Daily Star, 28 Oct. 1905, 16, illus., elevations & plans, with descrip.)
PARK ROAD, near Collier Street, residence for George Kappele, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 4651, 18 July 1906)

DENISON & STEPHENSON (works in Toronto unless noted)

NATIONAL DRUG & CHEMICAL CO., Wellington Street West near Bay Street, 1906-07; demol. (Toronto b.p. 5992, 22 Nov. 1906)
BALMORAL AVENUE, near Avenue Road, residence for George F. Macdonnell, 1907 (Toronto b.p. 6210, 7 Jan. 1906)
BANK OF HAMILTON, Bloor Street West at Bathurst Street, alterations and remodelling of existing building for the new bank branch, 1907 (Globe [Toronto], 19 Oct. 1907, 5)
BANK OF HAMILTON, College Street at Ossington Avenue, 1907 (Toronto b.p. 9414, 23 Oct. 1907)
McWILLIAM & EVEREST CO., The Esplanade near Scott Street, warehouse, 1908; demol. (C.R., xix, 15 April 1908, 27, t.c.)
WILLCOCKS STREET, near Spadina Avenue, residence for Henry Coleman, 1908 (Toronto b.p. 11740, 8 July 1908)
LAKEVIEW CURLING CLUB HOUSE, Harrison Street, 1908 (Const., ii, Nov. 1908, 65)
HOME FOR INCURABLES, Dunn Avenue, Nurses Home, 1909; demol. (Toronto b.p. 14636, 7 April 1909)
WELLINGTON STREET WEST, near Bay Street, factory for Leigh C. Todd, 1909; demol. (Toronto b.p. 11 Oct. 1909)
KENT BUILDING, Yonge Street at Richmond Street West, 1910-11; demol. (Toronto b.p. 19525, 30 March 1910; Const., v, Jan. 1912, 46, illus.)
MacMILLAN PUBLISHING CO., Bond Street near Shuter Street, warehouse, 1909 (Toronto b.p. 17334, 18 Sept. 1909; Const., vi, March 1913, 92, illus.)
NICHOLLS BUILDING, King Street West near Simcoe Street, 1910 (Toronto b.p. 19584, 4 April 1910)
CONSOLIDATED OPTICAL CO., Richmond Street West at Spadina Avenue, wareshouse, 1910 (Toronto b.p. 24140, 27 Oct. 1910)
HOME BANK, Broadview Avenue at Dundas Street East, 1911; converted to retail use c. 1990; still standing in 2023 (Toronto b.p. 26580, 24 April 1911)
JAMES ROBERTSON CO., Spadina Avenue at Sullivan Street, warehouse, 1911 (Toronto b.p. 28819, 4 July 1911)
W.R. BROCK CO., Bay Street at Wellington Street West, warehouse, 1911; demol. c. 1972 (Toronto b.p. 28575, 28 June 1911)
WESTON, Toronto Free Hospital for Consumptives, Buttonwood Avenue, 1911; and Children's Building, Nurse's Home and power house, 1912 (C.R., xxv, 23 Aug. 1911, 60; xxvi, 31 Jan. 1912, 61; Const., x, June 1917, 210-13, illus. & descrip.)
E.W. GILLETT CO., Fraser Avenue at Liberty Street, office and factory, 1911 (Toronto b.p. 30681, 28 Sept. 1911; 30783, 5 Oct. 1911)
BACHRACK CO., Bay Street near Wellington Street West, 1912; demol. (C.R., xxvi, 7 Feb. 1912, 66, t.c.)
GRAVENHURST, ONT., Fulford Cottage at the Muskoka Sanatarium, 1913 (Canadian Builder & Carpenter [Toronto], iii, July 1913, 33, illus. but lacking attribution; with correction and credit, iii, Aug. 1913, 36)
TEMPLE PATTISON CO., College Street near Huron Street, warehouse, 1913 (Const., vii, April 1914, 140, illus.; Toronto Architectural Conservancy, College Street: A Study - Part One, 2012, 18-20, illus. & descrip.)
NORTH STREET, residence for Archibald D. Langmuir, 1917 (Const., x, Aug. 1917, 288)
CROMPTON CORSET CO., College Street at Palmerston Avenue, warehouse, 1915; demol. 2004 (Const., xi, Jan. 1918, 28-9, illus. & descrip.; Toronto Architectural Conservancy, College Street: A Study - Part One, 2012, 43-44, illus. & descrip.)
ALADIN BUILDING, King Street West at Simcoe Street, warehouse, 1919; demol. c. 1960 (Toronto b.p. 26784, 9 Oct. 1919)
PRINCES RESTAURANT, Yonge Street near King Street West, 1920 (Const., xiii, Oct. 1920, 317-20, illus. & descrip.)

A.R. DENISON (works in Toronto)

HOME BANK, Dundas Street West at McCaul Street, 1922; demol. (C.R., xxxvi, 18 Jan. 1922, 56, t.c.)
(with Samuel G. Curry) REFORD BUILDING, Bay Street at Wellington Street West, 1922-23; demol. 1966 (Const., xvi, Oct. 1923, 342-6, illus. & descrip.)