Dyson, Charles Edmund Cyril

DYSON, Charles Edmund Cyril (1880-1960) of Toronto, Ont. held the position of Chief Architect for the Toronto Board of Education from 1920 until 1950 and was singularly responsible for several outstanding Collegiate Gothic designs for school buildings erected before WWII. Born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England on 2 May 1880, he was the son of the architect John W. Dyson and was an indentured pupil under his father from 1895 to 1899. During this period, he also studied art and architecture at Durham University. After graduating in 1899, Dyson worked as an assistant in the office of William H. Thorp of Leeds (in 1899-1901), and then returned to his father’s office in late 1901 and was employed as his assistant until 1907. Dyson arrived in Canada in April 1907 and settled in Hamilton where he worked in the office of W.A. Edwards in 1909-10. He then moved to Toronto and assisted in the offices of James L. Havill, and later in the office of Burke, Horwood & White. He also appears to have been undertaking his own work on a freelance basis. In 1913 he was one of 39 architects from across Canada who submitted a design in the competition for the new City Hall at Winnipeg (City of Winnipeg Archives, Council Communications, 1913, Box A 169, Item 9741, list of entrants). He was not among the five finalists, and the First Prize was later awarded to Clemesha & Portnall of Regina.

In 1920 he applied for the position of Chief Architect to the Board of Education in Toronto and he was accepted for the post, succeeding Charles H. Bishop, the former Chief Architect to the Board who had resigned in disgrace in 1919. In his new position, he and his team of designers and draftsmen prepared the plans for more than thirty public and secondary schools in Toronto, and he also arranged for independent commissions which were granted to other architects (such as Stephen B. Coon) to design new school buildings in Toronto for the Board. His chief assistant during this period was Arthur J. Freestone.

Dyson was a proponent of the popular Collegiate Gothic style, best seen in his carefully composed designs for Jarvis Collegiate (1922-23), for Danforth Technical School (1923), and for Northern Secondary School (1930). He employed absolute symmetry in both plan and elevation, accentuating the facades with projecting entrance towers that featured cut stone oriel window bays which became a hallmark of his best work. Unimpeded by budgetary restraints, he used this formula even in some of the smallest and most modest public school buildings such as Earl Haig Public School (1924), which is still standing in east end Toronto. Dyson also wrote a lengthy article on the architectural design of school buildings in Ontario entitled “Typical Schools of the Province of Ontario”, published in two consecutive issues of the R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, July 1927, 255-62, illus., and August 1927, 302-08, illus. A transcript of his radio address on the subject of “Architecture in Educational Buildings” appeared in the R.A.I.C. Journal, xiii, Dec. 1936, 232.

Dyson retired from his post with the Board of Education in 1950. His successor at the Board was A.J. Freestone. Dyson retired from the Ontario Assoc. of Architects in August 1952. He later died in Maple, Ont. on 15 July 1960 (obituary Toronto Star, 16 July 1960, 46; Globe & Mail [Toronto], 16 July 1960, 5; inf. Ontario Assoc. of Architects, Toronto). At the time of his death, he was said to have been responsible for the design and construction of nearly 50% of the public and high school buildings in Toronto erected between 1920 and 1950.

(works in Toronto)

DEWSON PUBLIC SCHOOL, Concord Street near Dewson Street, major addition, 1921-22 (City of Toronto b.p. 44090, 12 Oct. 1921)
HILLCREST PUBLIC SCHOOL, Bathurst Street at Nina Street, 1922-23 (Const., xv, Dec. 1922, 394-5; R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, July 1927, 251, illus)
ROSE AVENUE PUBLIC SCHOOL, Ontario Street at Rose Avenue, 1922 (Const., xvi, Jan. 1923, 32-4, illus.; R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, May 1927, 190, illus.)
JARVIS COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE, Jarvis Street at Wellesley Street East, 1922-23 (Const., xvii, June 1924, 180-91, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, July 1927, 251, illus.)
DANFORTH TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL, Greenwood Avenue at Strathmore Boulevard, 1923; major addition, 1939 (C.R., xxxvii, 4 July 1923, 653-55, illus. & descrip.; Const., xvii, June 1924, 180-91, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, Aug. 1927, 306, illus.; City of Toronto b.p. 64485, 9 June 1939)
GENERAL MERCER PUBLIC SCHOOL, Turnberry Avenue at Weston Road, 1923-24 (R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, July 1927, 261, illus.)
EASTERN HIGH SCHOOL OF COMMERCE, Phin Avenue at Chatham Avenue, 1924-25; major addition of 6 classrooms, auditorium, swimming pool and two gymnasiums, 1930 (Globe [Toronto], 14 Nov. 1925, 15; inf. Toronto Board of Education Archives; inf. Alex Bozikovic, Toronto) WILLIAM HOUSTON PUBLIC SCHOOL, Nassau Street, near Spadina Avenue, 1925 (inf. Alex Bozikovic, Toronto)
WHITNEY PUBLIC SCHOOL, Rosedale Heights Drive at MacLennan Avenue, 1925-26 (C.R., xxxix, 14 Oct. 1925, 47)
BRANT STREET PUBLIC SCHOOL, Brant Street at Adelaide Street West, 1926-27 (Globe [Toronto], 16 Sept. 1926, 11, descrip.)
ALLENBY PUBLIC SCHOOL, St. Clement’s Avenue at Avenue Road, 1927 (Daily Journal of Commerce [Toronto], 3 Sept. 1927, 5)
WESTERN TECHNICAL & COMMERCIAL SCHOOL [also called HUMBERSIDE COLLEGIATE], Glendonwynne Road at Humberside Avenue, 1927-28 (Daily Journal of Commerce [Toronto], 23 July 1927, 5; The Globe [Toronto], 31 Oct. 1927, 22, descrip.; Const., xxi, Dec. 1928, 413-16, 421-23, illus. & descrip.)
PARKDALE COLLEGIATE, Jameson Avenue near Queen Street West, 1927 (Daily Journal of Commerce [Toronto], 20 June 1927, 5)
ADAM BECK PUBLIC SCHOOL, Scarborough Road at Swanwick Avenue, 1927 (The Globe [Toronto], 17 Dec. 1927, 15)
DUKE OF YORK PUBLIC SCHOOL, Pembroke Street near Shuter Street, 1929 (P. McHugh, Toronto Architecture: A City Guide, 1985, 154, illus.)
MAURICE CODY PUBLIC SCHOOL, Belsize Drive at Cleveland Street, 1929 (C.R., xliii, 23 Jan. 1929, 86-87, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, vi, Sept. 1929, 314-16, illus. & descrip.)
JARVIS JUNIOR VOCATIONAL SCHOOL FOR BOYS, George Street near Gerrard Street East, 1929; demol. 1958 (The Globe [Toronto], 23 Oct. 1928, 13; Const., xxii, Oct. 1929, 320-24, illus. & descrip.)
NORTHERN VOCATIONAL SCHOOL, Mount Pleasant Road at Roehampton Avenue, 1930 (C.R., xliv, 22 Jan. 1930, 65; Const., xxxiii, Oct. 1930, 335-38, 341-45, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xliv, 1 Oct. 1930, 1225-35, illus. & descrip.)
HARBORD COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE, Harbord Street, from Manning Avenue to Euclid Avenue, 1930 (Toronto Star, 7 May 1930, 3, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xlv, 21 Jan. 1931, 20, illus; 4 Nov. 1931, 1309-11, illus. & descrip.; Const., xxxv, Jan. 1932, 4-10, 12, illus. & descrip.; inf. Alex Bozikovic, Toronto)
TORONTO BOARD OF EDUCATION SUPPLY BUILDING, McCaul Street at Orde Street, 1931-32 (Canadian Engineer [Toronto], lxiv, 22 March 1932, 21, illus. in advert.; Larry W. Richards, University of Toronto - The Campus Guide, 2009, 186, illus. & descrip.)
RODEN PUBLIC SCHOOL, Ashdale Avenue at Fairford Avenue, 1932; demol. 1970 (C.R., xlvi, 20 April 1932, 54)
BOWMORE ROAD PUBLIC SCHOOL, Bowmore Road at Wrenson Road, major addition, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, 22 June 1932, 43)
BLYTHWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL, Blythwood Road at Strathgowan Crescent, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, 17 Feb. 1932, 44)
OAKWOOD COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE, St. Clair Avenue West at Oakwood Avenue, major addition, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, 24 Feb. 1932, 120)
WILKINSON PUBLIC SCHOOL, Donlands Avenue at Strathmore Boulevard, 1934 (C.R., xlviii, 2 May 1934, 36; 6 June 1934, 35; 11 July 1934, 94)
JOHN WANLESS PUBLIC SCHOOL, Brookdale Avenue at Greer Road, major addition, 1934 (C.R., xlviii, 28 Feb. 1934, 29)
DOVERCOURT PUBLIC SCHOOL, Bartlett Avenue at Hallam Street, 1938 (Toronto Star, 7 May 1938, 11, descrip.; inf. Alex Bozikovic, Toronto)
MALVERN COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE, Hannaford Street at Swanwick Avenue, major addition, 1938-39 (City of Toronto b.p. 62014, 12 Nov. 1938)
BROCK AVENUE PUBLIC SCHOOL, Margueretta Street near College Street, major addition, 1938 (City of Toronto b.p. 61751, 25 Oct. 1938)
BLOOR COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE, Bloor Street West near Dufferin Street, major addition of two gymnasiums, auditorium, and shower and dressing rooms, 1948-49 (Globe & Mail [Toronto], 20 Aug. 1948, 4, descrip.)
FERN AVENUE PUBLIC SCHOOL, Fern Avenue at Roncesvalles Avenue, major addition, 1950 (City of Toronto b.p. 6401, 18 Feb. 1950)