Sawyer, Joseph

SAWYER, Joseph (1875-1965), a prolific architect who was active in Montreal for more than 55 years, one of the longest sustained practises in that city. Born in Trois Rivieres, Que. on 1 December 1874, he was educated at St. Joseph’s R.C. Academy in Montreal, but he did not receive a formal education in architecture. Instead, he articled in the office of Charles Chausse in Montreal (in 1894), then joined the office of Perrault, Mesnard & Venne (in 1895-96). He opened his own office as architect in April 1896, and joined the Province of Quebec Assoc. of Architects on 14 June 1898.

Sawyer appears to have been equally adept at providing designs for a wide variety of residential, commercial, institutional, ecclesiastical and industrial buildings in southern Quebec and in northern Ontario. Fluent in both English and French, his clients included businessmen in Westmount, church officials in northern Ontario, as well as representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and associated organizations in southern Quebec such as the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, as well as The Sisters of the Holy Cross. Despite his remarkable output, Sawyer cannot be considered an innovator, and much of his reputation was based on his reliability rather than on the originality of his designs. His career was often overshadowed by the sophisticated, scholarly work of leading Montreal architects such as Jean O. Marchand, Ernest Cormier or Eugene Payette. His most notable commission is that of Ste. Catherine d’Alexandrie Roman Catholic Church & Prebytery, Montreal (1924-26), a handsome though not a particularly discriminating composition in the modern French Gothic style.

Sawyer always worked alone, or with a small staff, and never entered into a partnership with others. He also scrupulously avoided entering architectural competitions, relying instead on a steady stream of clients, particularly those from the Catholic Diocese of Montreal, to offer him commissions in and around Montreal. Much of his spare time was devoted to the game of chess, and he was a provincial and national champion in Canada, and received a Gold Medal at the 7th American Chess Congress in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. He was also a member of the Westmount Chess Club and the Montreal Chess Club for many years.

Sawyer died in Montreal, Que. on 1 March 1965 (obituary & port. La Presse [Montreal], 3 March 1965, p. 90; death notice The Gazette [Montreal], 2 March 1965, 37; biog. in H. Morgan, Canadian Men and Women of the Time, 1912, 997; biog. & port. in Montreal Old & New, 1914, 262-3; biog. and port. National Reference Book, 1929-30, 389; biog. Col. W. Wood, The Storied Province of Quebec, 1931, iii, 428; biog. in Biographies Canadiennes Francaises, xvi, 1952, 229). A detailed biography and list of works by Sawyer was published in the journal Architecture Batiment Construction [Montreal], viii, January 1953, 19-21 and 34, illus.

Residential Works in Montreal

STE. CATHERINE STREET, a three storey tenement with stone front, for H.A. Duperreault, 1896 (C.R., vii, 23 April 1896, 2)
CHATHAM STREET, opposite Hunter Street, residence for L.R. McGregor, 1896 (C.R., vii, 7 May 1896, 2; 14 May 1896, 4)
ST. MARC STREET, a three storey residence for Anastasie Poissant, 1896-97 (C.R., vii, 5 Nov. 1896, 3)
PARK AVENUE, near Van Horne Avenue, residence for Domina Gagne, 1897 (C.R., viii, 10 June 1897, 3)
ST. URBAINE STREET, at Marie Anne Street, a row of three tenements, each three storeys, with stone fronts, for M.A. Labelle, 1897 (C.R., viii, 14 Oct. 1897, 4)
LAVAL AVENUE, near St. Louis Square, residence for Moise Rochon, 1897-98 (C.R., viii, 28 Oct. 1897, 2)
ERNEST STREET, residence for Mrs. C. Duperreault, 1897-98 (C.R., viii, 11 Nov. 1897, 4)
POINT ST. CHARLES, a row of four brick & stone front houses on Knox Street, for Arthur Boisvert, 1897-98 (C.R., viii, 23 Dec. 1897, 3)
AMHERST STREET, tenement house for F.X. Lapierre, 1898 (C.R., ix, 20 April 1898, 3)
WESTMOUNT, five cottages on Clandeboye Avenue for S.D. Vallieres, 1898 (C.R., ix, 20 April 1898, 5)
CHARLEVOIX STREET, at Mullins Street, a row of three tenement houses with stone and brick fronts, for J.L. Bourbonnais, 1898 (C.R., ix, 27 April 1898, 6)
CONGREGATION STREET, at Favard Street, two houses, of stone and brick, for an unnamed client, 1898 (C.R., ix, 14 Sept. 1898, 4)
MENTANA STREET, near Mount Royal Avenue East, a row of fourteen houses for S.D. Vallieres, City Alderman, 1899 (C.R., x, 3 May 1899, 5)
GRAND TRUNK STREET, opposite Hibernia Street, residence for Joseph Guay, 1899 (C.R., x, 3 May 1899, 5)
SOUVENIR STEEET, two houses with stone fronts, for Mr. Ledoux, 1899 (C.R., x, 31 May 1899, 3)
SELKIRK AVENUE, alterations and improvements to four houses, to create eight dwellings, for M.H. Gougeon, 1899 (C.R., x, 12 July 1899, 3)
ST. DENIS STREET, near Ste. Catherine Street East, tenement for William H. Edge, 1899 (C.R., x, 12 July 1899, 4)
MAGDALEN STREET, residence for M.T. Corbiel, 1899 (C.R., x, 19 July 1899, 4)
NOTRE DAME STREET, at St. Felix Street, residence for Joseph Navert, 1900 (C.R., xi, 13 June 1900, 3)
MENTANA STREET, at Mount Royal Avenue, a three storey block for S.D. Valliers, City Alderman, and 2 buildings adjacent, each two storeys, 1900 (C.R., xi, 3 Oct. 1900, 3)
HOTEL DE VILLE AVENUE, a row of five houses, each 2 storeys, for an unnamed client, 1901 (C.R., xii, 15 May 1901, 4)
LAVAL AVENUE, at Prince Arthur Street, residence for Mrs. Godfroi Langlois, 1901 (C.R., xii, 26 June 1901, 2; 10 July 1901, 3)
SEIGNEURS STREET, at Payette Street, a three storey house and retail store for Napolean Vallee, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 16 April 1902, 4)
CENTRE STREET, at de Laprairie Street, a three storey house for Dr. E.E. Laurent, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 16 April 1902, 4)
VERSAILLES STREET, two houses for Mrs. P. Rasconi, 1902-03 (C.R., xiii, 26 Nov. 1902, 3)
SOUVENIR STREET, two houses, each 3 storeys, for Alfred Fauteux, 1903 (C.R., xiv, 8 April 1903, 3)
GUY STREET, near Dorchester Street West, residence for the architect, 1907 (Le Prix Courant [Montreal], xliv, No. 25, 1907; City of Montreal, Les Residences, 1987, 626-27, illus.)
WESTMOUNT, La Fayette Apartments, de Maisonneuve Boulevard West near Redfern Avenue, 1908 (City of Montreal, Les Appartements, 1991, 154-55, illus.)
ST. DENIS STREET, at Lagauchetiere Street, apartment house for Joseph N.O. Beaudry, 1909-10 (C.R., xxiii, 3 Nov. 1909, 25; 1 Dec. 1909, 22)
SHADY NOOK APARTMENTS, Souvenir Avenue, for Mrs. J.A. Metayer, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 27 June 1928, 67)
NOTRE DAME DE GRACE, residence for Mrs. Lafleur, Northcliffe Avenue, 1929 (City of Montreal b.p. 4154, issued 1929)

Residential Works in Outremont

DUROCHER AVENUE, duplex for G. Meloche, 1904 (Town of Outremont b.p. 01, 14 Oct. 1904)
HUTCHISON STREET, duplex for E.V. Bonneville, 1905 (Town of Outremont b.p. 14, 26 April 1905)
COTE STE. CATHERINE ROAD, residence for Hubert Morin, 1907 (Town of Outremont b.p. 116, 27 Sept. 1907)
THE OUTREMONT APARTMENTS, St. Joseph Boulevard, for J.A. Jarry, 1909 (Town of Outremont b.p. 199, 8 April 1909)
OUTREMONT AVENUE, residence for Joseph Beaudry, 1909 (Town of Outremont b.p. 273, 10 Nov. 1909)
ST. JOSEPH BOULEVARD, cottage for A. Delorme, St. Joseph Boulevard, 1910; demol. 1964 (C.R., xxiv, 16 March 1910, 26; Town of Outremont b.p. 299, 8 April 1910; b.p. 378, 10 Oct. 1910)
COTE STE. CATHERINE ROAD, residence for S.D. Joubert, 1910 (Town of Outremont b.p. 363, 15 Sept. 1910)
COTE STE. CATHERINE ROAD, residence for J.A. Jarry, 1912 (Town of Outremont b.p. 645 & 646, 4 June 1912)
AINSLIE AVENUE, residence for J.H. Gareau, 1914 (Town of Outremont b.p. 932, 30 May 1914)
McDOUGALL AVENUE, pair of houses for A. & D. Boileau, 1922 (Town of Outremont b.p. 1515, 31 May 1922)
McEACHRAN AVENUE, residence for Arthur Labbe, 1922 (Town of Outremont b.p. 1583, 11 Oct. 1922)
ROCKLAND AVENUE, at Van Horne Avenue, triplex for P.J. Ryan, 1924 (Town of Outremont b.p. 1795, 12 June 1924)
OUTREMONT AVENUE, residence for Mrs. Joseph S. Picard, 1924 (Town of Outremont b.p. 1840, 24 Oct. 1924)
DUCHASTEL AVENUE, residence for Elie Gerard, 1945 (Town of Outremont b.p. 3946, 7 June 1945)
DUCHASTEL AVENUE, residence for A.H. Vincent, 1945 (Town of Outremont b.p. 4007, 11 Oct. 1945)

(works in Montreal)

Commercial & Industrial Works

W.W. OGILVIE MILLING CO., Notre Dame Street at St. Martins Street, five industrial brick buildings, including stables and mill buildings, 1899 (C.R., x, 12 July 1899, 4; 19 July 1899, 6)
HOTEL DE VILLE AVENUE, at Prince Arthur Street, large building for Joseph Leblanc, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 9 April 1902, 4)
HIBERNIA STREET, at Mullins Street, two stores and houses for Joseph Elie, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 7 May 1902, 3)
ST. DENIS STREET, at Mount Royal Avenue, two stores and houses for S.D. Vallieres, City Alderman, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 13 Aug. 1902, 3)
ESPLANADE AVENUE, a 2 ½ storey building for A. Godin [perhaps the residence of Hermenegilde Godin, Manager of the newspaper La Presse, living at 45 Esplanade Avenue], 1903 (C.R. xiv, 8 July 1903, 2)
HUDON & ORSALI CO., St. Paul Street at Vaudreuil Street, a five storey office block, 1904 (La Presse [Montreal], 26 April 1904, 8, illus.; 22 April 1905, 15, illus.)
LAPORTE, MARTIN & CO. LTD., St. Paul Street at McGill College Avenue, a six storey office and warehouse block, 1908 (La Presse [Montreal], 12 March 1908, 12, illus. & descrip.; Gazette [Montreal], 14 March 1908, 13, illus. & descrip.)
STE. CATHERINE STREET EAST, at Dufresne Street, store and residence for Francois Xavier Harel, grocer, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 17 March 1909, 21; City of Montreal, Les Magasins, Les Cinemas, 1985, 256-58, illus.)
ALPHONSE RACINE & CO., Commissioners Street at St. Paul Street, major alterations to existing warehouse, with addition of two floors at the rear, facing Commissioners Street, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 5 May 1909, 21, t.c.; City of Montreal, Les Magasins, Les Cinemas, 1985, 80-82, illus.)
ST. ANTOINE STREET, two stores and dwellings for James H. McKeown, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 15 Sept. 1909, 24)
AETNA BISCUIT CO. LTD., Delorimier Street, candy and biscuit factory, 1913 (C.R., xxvii, 23 July 1913, 73)
ST. ALEXANDER STREET, a three storey block containing three stores and offices for the Beaudry Estate, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 22 Aug. 1928, 89)

Institutional and Ecclesiastical Works

SOCIETE DES ARTISANS CANADIENS FRANCAIS DE LA CITE DE MONTREAL, St. Francois Xavier Street at Notre Dame Street, office building, 1899 (C.R., x, 23 Aug. 1899, 3)
ST. ELIZABETH’S SOCIETY, Seymour Avenue, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 7 May 1902, 3)
FIRE STATION NO. 4, Chaboillez Square, additions and alterations, 1903 (C.R., xiv, 22 July 1903, 6, t.c.; La Presse [Montreal], 27 Aug. 1903, 1, illus. & descrip.)
FIRE STATION NO. 18, Beaubien Street at Boyer Street, 1905 (C.R., xvi, 31 May 1905, 5, t.c.; La Presse [Montreal], 29 June 1905, 15, illus.)
ACADEMIE ST. PAUL, Augers Street at McGee Street, 1906 (La Presse [Montreal], 29 Sept. 1906, 27, illus.)
PENSIONNAT SAINTE CATHERINE, Dufresne Street at Ste. Catherine Street East, major addition, 1906 (City of Montreal, Les Couvents, 1984, 334-37, illus.)
ECOLE STE. HELENE, Roman Catholic Boys School, No. 3 Chaboillez Square, and Roman Catholic Girls School, at No. 5-7 Chaboillez Square, 1906 (C.R., xvii, 5 Sept. 1906, 8)
ECOLE ST. CHARLES, Roman Catholic Boys School, Island Street at Des Manufactures Street, in Point St. Charles, 1909-10 (C.R., xxiii, 25 Aug. 1909, 21; La Presse [Montreal], 1 Sept. 1909, 15, illus. & descrip.)
SISTERS OF THE HOLY CROSS, St. Hubert Street, Roman Catholic School, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 6 April 1910, 27)
OUTREMONT, Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic School, Cote Ste. Catherine Road, 1910 (Town of Outremont b.p. 351, 23 July 1910)
WESTMOUNT, St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Boy’s School, Clarke Avenue, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 29 June 1910, 25; La Presse [Montreal], 9 Sept. 1911, 17, illus. & descrip.)
ISLAND STREET, near Centre Street, a large residence building for the Roman Catholic School Commissioners, 1911 (C.R., xxv, 21 June 1911, 63)
STE. JUSTINE ROMAN CATHOLIC HOSPITAL, St. Denis Street, main building 1913-14; addition of the North Wing, 1921-22; addition of the South Wing, 1925-27; Nurses’ Home, 1932 (Montreal Old & New, 1914, list of works in biography for Sawyer, 262, illus.; C.R., xxxix, 11 Nov. 1925, 48, t.c.; Const., xxi, March 1927, 87-92, 107, illus. & descrip.; Annmarie Adams, Medicine by Design: The Architect & The Modern Hospital, 2008, 66-7, illus.)
OUTREMONT, major additions to the Roman Catholic Convent for the Sisters of Immculate Conception, Cote Ste. Catherine Road, 1918; and another addition, 1921 (Town of Outremont b.p. 1157, Dec. 1918; b.p. 1389, 22 July 1921)
ECOLE ST. JACQUES, de Montigny Street East at Sanguinet Street, 1921 (O. Maurault, Saint-Jacques de Montreal, 1923, 105)
STE. CATHERINE d’ALEXANDRIE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH & PRESBYTERY, Amherst Street at Robin Street, 1924-26 (C.R., xxxvii, 12 Sept. 1923, 52; xxxix, 14 Oct. 1925, 994, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, June 1927, 227, descrip.; v, Jan. 1928, page xxvii, illus; Const., xxi, Feb. 1928, 40-44, 47-50, illus. & descrip.; Album des Eglises de la Province de Quebec, iii, 1930, 141, illus. & descrip.)
HOLY NAME OF JESUS PARISH, Adam Street, a presbytery for the church, 1927 (C.R., xli, 18 May 1927, 58)
WESTMOUNT, Women’s General Hospital, Tupper Street near Atwater Street, 1926-27 (Const., xxi, March 1928, 78-81, illus. & descrip.; A. Gubbay & S. Hooff, Montreal’s Little Mountain, 1979, 13, illus.)
SISTERS OF THE HOLY CROSS ROMAN CATHOLIC CONVENT, Cote Des Neiges Road at Cote Ste. Catherine Road, 1928-29 (C.R., xlii, 29 Aug. 1928, 52, t.c.; Canadian Hotel Review, vi, Sept. 1928, 45; R.A.I.C. Journal, vi, Sept. 1929, page xxxi, illus. in advert.; City of Montreal, Les Couvents, 1984, 322-25, illus.)
(with Jean O. Marchand) HOPITAL NOTRE DAME DE LA MERCI, Gouin Boulevard West near Norwood Avenue, designed 1929; built 1931-32; major addition of three new wings, 1940 (La Presse [Montreal], 27 Sept. 1929, 17, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xlv, 9 Sept. 1931, 55, t.c.; C.R., liii, 31 Jan. 1940, 20; R.A.I.C. Journal, xxii, Nov. 1945, 235, illus.; City of Montreal, Les Couvents, 1984, 166-69, illus.)
HOLY NAME OF JESUS ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Desjardins Street, alterations to façade and new front entrance, 1929 (City of Montreal, Les Eglises, 1981, 457-58, illus.)
ST. CLEMENT DE VIAUVILLE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Adam Street, decoration of the church, 1930 (City of Montreal, Les Eglises, 1981, 172)
STE. JUSTINE ROMAN CATHOLIC HOSPITAL, St. Valier Street near Beaubien Street, service pavilion, 1931-32 (C.R., xlv, 19 Aug. 1931, 54; xlvi, 20 April 1932, 55; new hospital building at Cote Ste. Catherine Road near Doussin Avenue, 1950-51 (C.R., lxiii, Dec. 1950, 108)
ST. LOUIS DE GONZAGUE ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Mercure Terrace, 1931 (C.R., xlv, 2 Sept. 1931, 49)
HOPITAL NOTRE DAME DE LOURDES, Pie IX Boulevard, a major addition of 6 storeys to the existing hospital, 1938-39 (C.R., li, 28 Sept. 1938, 23, t.c.; lii, 1 Feb. 1939, 33)
(with Eugene Larose) MONTREAL CITY HALL, Gosford Street, major addition of a new Annex to City Hall, 1939 (C.R., lii, 31 May 1939, 29)
CARMELITE ROMAN CATHOLIC MONASTERY, Carmel Avenue, installation of a rood screen and stairs in the existing chapel, 1945 (City of Montreal, Les Couvents, 1984, 24-29, illus.)
PARISH OF ST. EDOUARD, St. Denis Street at Beaubien Street East, a community hall for the parish, 1946 (C.R., lix, Aug. 1946, 156)
VERDUN, St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, Moffat Avenue, 1949-50 (C.R., lxii, Nov. 1949, 125)
MONTREAL NORTH, a Roman Catholic School, 1949 (C.R., lxii, Oct. 1949, 144)

(works outside Montreal)

WEST FARNHAM, QUE., Fire Hall & Market, 1899 (C.R., x, 31 May 1899, 3)
ST. EUSTACHE, QUE., restoration of the Roman Catholic Church, 1905 (La Presse [Montreal], 10 Feb. 1905, 7, illus. & descrip.; La Presse [Montreal], 12 Oct. 1906, 10, illus.)
MEGANTIC, QUE., Notre Dame Roman Catholic Church and Convent, 1912 (C.R., xxvi, 13 March 1912, 67)
ST. LAURENT, QUE., Federal Post Office, Deschenes Street at Florence Street, 1913 (Canada, Sessional Papers, 1915, No. 19, Report of the Chief Architect, 20, descrip.; and 1916, No. 19, Report of the Chief Architect, 32, descrip.)
LAVAL DES RAPIDES, QUE., Roman Catholic Convent for the Sisters of Immaculate Conception, 1923 (Le Prix Courant [Montreal], lvi, 24 Aug. 1923, 25)
MONT LAURIER, QUE., Roman Catholic Convent & Normal School, for the Sisters of Ste. Croix, 1926 (C.R., xl, 23 June 1926, 52; xlii, 11 April 1928, 386, illus. & descrip.)
HAILEYBURY, ONT., Roman Catholic Convent for the Sisters of the Assumption, Meridian Avenue, 1927 (C.R., xli, 25 May 1927, 175-76; 13 July 1927, 52)
HAILEYBURY, ONT., Roman Catholic Hospital for the Sisters of Providence, Georgina Avenue, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 7 March 1928, 55, t.c.)
HAILEYBURY, ONT., Holy Cross Roman Catholic Cathedral and Bishop’s Residence, Sutherland Way, 1928-29 (C.R., xlii, 25 July 1928, 61; xliii, 25 Sept. 1929, 152; Ottawa Journal, 30 May 1929, 3, descrip.)
RIVIERES DES PRAIRIES, QUE., a two family summer bungalow, for an unnamed client, 1928 (Const., xxi, July 1928, 246, illus.)
NORANDA, QUE., Roman Catholic Hospital, 1929-30 (Canadian Hotel Review, vii, May 1929, 55)
MONT LAURIER, QUE., St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Seminary, 1930 (C.R., xliv, 30 April 1930, 64, t.c.; R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, May 1931, p. xxxiii, illus. in advert.; Album des Eglises de la Province de Quebec, vi, 1934, 155, illus. in advert.)
MONT LAURIER, QUE., Roman Catholic Orphanage & Hospital, 1931 (C.R., xlv, 22 July 1931, 53)
VILLE MARIE, QUE., Roman Catholic School, 1931 (C.R., xlv, 18 March 1931, 61)
PONT VIAU, QUE., addition to the Novitiate for the Sisters of Immaculate Conception, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, 18 May 1932, 45)
NOMININGUE, QUE., a three-storey cooking school building for the Sisters of Ste. Croix, 1932-33 (C.R., xlvi, 23 Nov. 1932, 34)
ST. LAURENT, QUE., addition to the Roman Catholic Convent for the Sisters of the Holy Cross, 1937 (C.R., vol. 50, 12 May 1937, 37)