Holmes, Arthur William

HOLMES, Arthur William (1863-1944) was a prodigious and talented ecclesiastical architect who devoted most of his active career to the design of buildings for the Roman Catholic church in southern Ontario. Born in London, England in 1863 he received his early education there and is said to have trained with George Edmund Street (1824-1881), the innovative master of the High Victorian style in England. Although Street died in December 1881 when Holmes was just eighteen years of age it is conceivable that Holmes may have assisted Street with his final (and important) ecclesiastical works executed in London, Rome and Paris. Holmes emigrated to Canada in late 1885 and maintained an office on Adelaide Street in Toronto for one year before joining Joseph Connolly, for whom he worked at first as a student, and then as a draftsman, from 1887 until 1891. It was during this period that he converted from the Protestant faith to the Catholic faith in Canada, a decision that undoubtedly influenced the direction of his career during the next forty years (Catholic Register [Toronto], 1 April 1944, 3). He entered a partnership with Albert A. Post in July 1891 and together they executed several designs for Catholic churches in communities around the Toronto region (see list of works under Post & Holmes). This partnership was dissolved in December 1895 and Holmes continued the practise on his own. He appears to have moved away from Toronto in 1896 and 1897, perhaps for travel and study abroad, but he had returned to the city in early 1898 to devote his full time attention to the design of parish churches in the Toronto Catholic diocese region. With the death of Joseph Connolly in 1904 Holmes became the successor to his former mentor, and Holmes then dominated the field of ecclesiastical design for Roman Catholic churches in southern Ontario until 1940.

Holmes cannot be considered as an architectural innovator; many of his works were executed during a period of ultra-conservatism in the Catholic theology, but his knowledge and familiarity with a variety of classical styles, ranging from the High French Gothic to the Renaissance and Baroque, should not be overlooked. He was adept at handling the appropriate liturgical and architectural symbols and details required for the large parish churches. He frequently drew upon historical precedent for his inspiration, as in the design of Holy Name Church on Danforth Avenue (1914-26), which makes specific allusions to, but does not mimic, the design of Il Gesu Catholic Church in Rome (1568-84) by Giacomo Vignola. His largest commission, and perhaps his most important work, is the Beaux-Arts design for St. Augustine's Seminary, Scarborough (1910-13), a superbly sited complex of buildings containing a Chapel that draws heavily on Baroque precedent at Queen's College, Oxford, England (1714), designed by William Townesend.

In the final years of his career Holmes returned to the use of a stripped-down Gothic revival style best seen in his Collegiate Gothic complex for Brennan Hall and Teefy Hall at St. Michael's College, Toronto (1935-36). He died in Toronto on 15 March 1944 ; his wife Madeleine Kormann Holmes predeceased him, and he was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Toronto (obituary in Toronto Star, 16 March 1944, 29; Globe & Mail [Toronto}, 17 March 1944, 5; Christopher Thomas, 'A Thoroughly Traditional Architect: A.W. Holmes and the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto 1890-1940', in Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada Bulletin, x, March 1985, 3-9, illus.)

Arthur W. HOLMES (Ecclesiastical works in Ontario and Nova Scotia)

MERRITTON, ONT., St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, 1898-99 (Catholic Register [Toronto], 16 June 1898, 1, illus. & descrip.; Daily Standard [St. Catharines], 14 Nov. 1898, 2, descrip.)
KITCHENER, ONT., St. Agatha Roman Catholic Church, 1898-1900 (Catholic Register [Toronto], 23 June 1898, 1; and 7 June 1900, 8)
KITCHENER, ONT., St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Young Street, 1900-03 (Berlin News Record (Kitchener), 28 April 1900, 7; Catholic Record [London], 27 Oct. 1900, 8, descrip.; and 26 Dec. 1903, 8, descrip.; C.A.B., xvi, Nov. 1903, illus.)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, St. Patrick Street near Dundas Street West, additions and alterations, 1900; later replaced by a new church in 1905, also designed by A.W. Holmes (C.R., x, 3 Jan. 1900, 2)
PENETANGUISHINE, ONT., Memorial Church of the Martyrs, begun 1886; completed by Holmes 1900-02 (Catholic Register [Toronto], 18 Dec. 1902, 1, descrip.)
ALBION, ONT., St. John The Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, 1901-02 (C.R., xii, 18 Sept. 1901, 4; Pictorial History of St. John the Evangelist Church, Albion 1901-1976, 12, 14-15, illus.)
CARDWELL, ONT., Roman Catholic Church, 1901 (C.R., xii, 20 Feb. 1901, 3)
TORONTO, ONT., Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, King Street West at Close Avenue, 1902; Rectory, 1905 (Catholic Register [Toronto], 11 Dec. 1902, illus. & descrip.; J.R. Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, 1904, iv, 593, illus. & descrip.)
WHITBY, ONT., St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Gifford Street, 1902 (Catholic Register [Toronto], 18 Dec. 1902, 1)
CHEPSTOW, ONT., Roman Catholic Church, 1903 (Catholic Record [London], 6 June 1903, 8, descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Power Street at Queen Street East, parish hall, 1903; rectory 1904, demol.; tower for the church, 1905 (Toronto b.p. 379, 3 May 1904; E. Kelly, Story of St. Paul's Parish, 1922, 184-85, illus.)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, McCaul Street near Dundas Street West, 1904-05; tower 1907; still standing in 2023 (Toronto Daily Star, 5 April 1904, 5; and 11 Sept., 1905, 2, illus. & descrip.; Toronto b.p. 279, 18 Feb. 1905, 987, Catholic Register [Toronto], 7 July 1904, 8, descrip.; and 27 July 1905, 8; and 5 Nov. 1908, 1, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xvii, 20 Feb. 1907, 2, t.c.)
UPTERGROVE, ONT., St. Columbkill Roman Catholic Church, 1905 (C.R., xvi, 5 April 1905, 2, t.c.; Catholic Register [Toronto], 27 July 1905, 1, descrip.)
COLGAN, ONT., St. James Roman Catholic Church, County Road 14 at 5th Line, interior decoration by Arthur Holmes in 1906, still standing in 2024 (Toronto Daily Star, 24 March 1906, 7)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Bloor Street West at Markham Street, 1906-07; demol. (Catholic Register [Toronto[, 26 April 1906, 8; and 18 April 1907, 1, illus. & descrip.)
GUELPH, ONT., Church of Our Lady Roman Catholic Church, interior alterations and decoration, 1907 (Church of Our Lady - Descriptive Handbook, 1908, 6)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Helen's Roman Catholic Church, Dundas Street West at St. Claren's Avenue, 1908-09; rectory 1911, spire 1924 (Catholic Register [Toronto], 23 July 1908, 1, illus. & descrip.; J.R. Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, 1914, vi, 19-21, illus. & descrip.; Toronto b.p. 26338, 13 April 1911; Const., xvii, Oct. 1924, 320-21, illus. & descrip.)
ST. THOMAS, ONT., Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church, Talbot Street, 1910-11 (C.R., xxiv, 21 Sept. 1910, 28, t.c.; Catholic Record [London], 2 March 1912, 5, descrip. & illus.)
MILDMAY, ONT., Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, 1911 (C.R., xxv, 22 May 1911, 59, t.c.)
PRESTON, ONT, St. Clement's Roman Catholic Church, Duke Street, 1911 (C.R., xxv, 2 Aug. 1911, 61)
ST. CATHARINES, ONT., St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, St. Paul Street West, 1912-13 (Daily Standard [St. Catharines], 20 March 1912, 3, t.c.; and 21 Oct. 1912, 1, descrip., but erroneously credited to "...architect A.W. Owens [sic] of Toronto"; and 6 Feb. 1914, 1, illus.; .C.R., xxvi, 3 April 1912, 72, t.c.; Catholic Register [Toronto], 12 Feb. 1914, 1)
HANOVER, ONT., Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, 1912 (C.R., xxvi, 3 April 1912, 72, t.c)
TORONTO, ONT., Newman Hall Roman Catholic Student Chapel, south side of St. Joseph Street, behind the current Flahiff Basilian Centre, and backing onto St. Basil Lane, built 1913 and still standing as of 2019 (dwgs. Archdiocese Archives of Toronto; inf. Suzanne Scorsone, Toronto)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church, Gerrard Street East at Degrassi Street, 1913-14 (Toronto b.p. 3799, 2 May 1913; Const., viii, Dec. 1915, 495-98, illus. & descrip.; H. Kalman, History of Canadian Architecture, 1994, 588-9, illus. & descrip.)
WELLAND, ONT., St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Hellems Street at Griffith Street, 1913-14 (C.R., xxvii, 12 Nov. 1913, 68)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Clare's Roman Catholic Church, St. Clair Avenue West at Westmount Avenue, 1913-14 (Catholic Register [Toronto], 21 Aug. 1913, 8)
PETERBOROUGH, ONT., Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Rogers Street, 1914; completed 1933 (E. Boland, History of the Diocese of Peterborough 1882-1975, 1976, 46)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, Grace Street at Mansfield Avenue, 1914-15; rectory 1921 (C.R., xxx, 9 Feb. 1916, 130-32, illus & descrip.; Const., ix, Dec. 1916, 400-04, illus. & descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Mary of the Angels Roman Catholic Church, Dufferin Street at Davenport Road, 1914 (dwgs. at City of Toronto Building Records Div.)
SCHOMBERG, ONT., St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, 1915 (inf. Christopher Thomas, Toronto)
TORONTO, ONT., Holy Name Roman Catholic Church, Danforth Avenue at Gough Avenue, 1915; completed 1926; still standing in 2023 (Holy Name Parish 1913-1927, 8, 23, 30-31; Const., xix, June 1926, 184-87, illus. & descrip.)
KITCHENER, ONT., Polish Roman Catholic Church, Charon Street at Shanley Street, 1917-18 (C.R., xxxi, 7 Feb. 1917, 45; News Record [Kitchener], 28 Sept. 1918, 1, illus. & detailed descrip.)
ENNISMORE, ONT., St. Martin's Roman Catholic Church, 1923 (E. Boland, History of the Diocese of Peterborough 1882-1975, 1976, 192, 195)
PETERBOROUGH, ONT., St. Peter's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Reid Street, interior alterations and decoration, 1923 (E. Boland, History of the Diocese of Peterborough 1882-1975, 1976, 55)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Michael's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Bond Street at Shuter Street, alterations and additions to the sacristy, 1924; still standing in 2023 (inf. Christopher Thomas, Toronto)
HAMILTON, ONT., St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Locke Street at Herkimer Street, 1923-24 (C.R., xxxix, 14 Jan. 1925, 24-5, illus. & descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, St. Clair Avenue West at Tweedsmuir Avenue, 1926-27 (inf. Christopher Thomas, Toronto)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Chapel, Hoskin Avenue, east of St. George Street, 1926-27; still standing in 2023 (Toronto Star Weekly, 7 Aug 1926, 6, illus. & descrip. C.R., xli, 21 Dec. 1927, 1278-79, illus. & descrip.)
TILLSONBURG, ONT., St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Venison Street, 1932 (Tillsonburg News, 9 June 1932, 1, 6)
SCARBOROUGH, ONT., Shrine Church of St. Theresa, Kingston Road at Midland Avenue, 1933; demol. c. 1965 (Const., xxvii, May/June 1934, 74, 77-8, illus. & descrip.)
ANTIGONISH, N.S., St. Ninian's Roman Catholic Cathedral, new sacristy, vestry and office addition and alterations, 1937; still standing in 2023 (E. Pacey, More Stately Mansions-Churches of Nova Scotia 1830-1910, 1983, 93)

Arthur W. HOLMES (Schools & Colleges in Ontario)

TORONTO, ONT., St. Patrick's Separate School, Caer Howell Street, 1898; demol. (Toronto b.p. 282, 10 Aug. 1898)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Cecilia's Separate School, Edwin Avenue, 1900 (Toronto b.p. 115, 7 Aug. 1900)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Aloysis Separate School, Bond Street near Dundas Street East, 1900-01; still standing in 2023 (Toronto Daily Star, 5 Sept. 1900, 2; Toronto b.p. 30, 6 Dec. 1900; Catholic Register [Toronto], 5 Sept. 1901, 1, descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., Holy Family Separate School, Close Avenue, 1901-02 (Toronto Daily Star, 5 June 1901, 3; Toronto b.p. 233, 26 May 1902)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Michael's College, St. Joseph Street at Bay Street, extension of the East Wing, 1902-03 (inf. Christopher Thomas, Toronto)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Anthony's Separate School, Gladstone Avenue at Shanly Street, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 5468, 6 Oct. 1906)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Joseph's Separate School, Leslie Street near Dundas Street East, 1907 (Toronto b.p. 8484, 16 July 1907)
TORONTO, ONT., St. Francis of Assisi Separate School, Manning Avenue, addition, 1908 (C.R., xix, 12 Feb. 1908, 20)
SCARBOROUGH, ONT., St. Augustine's Seminary, Kingston Road near Brimley Road, 1910-13; dormitory 1926 (C.R., xxv, 18 Oct. 1911, 41-2, illus. & descrip.; Catholic Register [Toronto], 4 Sept. 1913, 1, 8, descrip. & illus.; Const., viii, Dec. 1915, 484-87, illus. & descrip.)
PETERBOROUGH, ONT, Girl's Academy for Sisters of Mount St. Joseph, Monaghan Road North, 1933 (C.R., xlvii, 14 June 1933, 37, t.c.)
TORONTO, ONT., master plan and new buildings for St. Michael's College, Queen's Park Crescent at St. Joseph Street, including the Pontifical Institute, More House, Fisher House, and Teefy Hall, 1935-36; Brennan Hall, 1938; Refectory for the college, 1938; all still standing in 2023 (Toronto Star Weekly, 9 March 1929, 1 and 2, illus. and descrip., and Toronto Daily Star, 11 Oct. 1929, 8, illus.; University of Toronto Monthly, xxix, March 1929, 223-4, illus. & descrip.; Toronto Daily Star, 27 May 1938, 28, descrip.; and 3 June 1938, 29, illus. & descrip.; inf. St. Michael's College Archives)
NORTH YORK, ONT., St. Mary's Girl's Training School for the Sisters of Good Shepherd, Dufferin Street at Lawrence Avenue West, 1940 (C.R., liii, 21 Aug. 1940, 20; dwgs. at OA, RG 15-13-2-1177)

Arthur W. HOLMES (Other Works in Toronto)

KORMANN BREWERY, Richmond Street East near Sherbourne Street, 1897 (Toronto b.p. 3069, 7 April 1897)
MOUNT HOPE CEMETERY, Erskine Avenue, gate lodge, entrance gates and fences, 1899 (C.R., 2 Aug. 1899, 1, t.c.)
ONTARIO STREET, near Dundas Street East, pair of houses for Elizabeth O'Hagan, 1904 (Toronto b.p. 265, 19 April 1904)
BROADVIEW AVENUE, near Hogarth Avenue, residence for Charles Germann, 1905, demol. (Toronto b.p. 835, 11 May 1905)
POWELL AVENUE, residence for Franz J. Kormann, 1905 (Toronto b.p. 1017, 3 June 1905)
QUEEN STREET EAST, at Carlaw Avenue, residence for Dr. Peter J. Brown, 1905 (Toronto b.p. 2119, 28 Sept. 1905)
HOTEL CECIL, Queen Street West at Beaconsfield Avenue, additions and alterations, 1906 (C.R., xvi, 31 Jan. 1906, 1)
ST. MICHAEL'S CEMETERY, Yonge Street near St. Clair Avenue West, Gate Lodge, 1906; demol. (inf. Christopher Thomas, Toronto)
HOUSE OF PROVIDENCE INFANTS HOME, for the Sisters of St. Joseph, Sackville Street near King Street East, 1906; demol. (Catholic Register [Toronto], 30 Aug. 1906, 8)
QUEEN STREET EAST, near Ashport Avenue, residence for Daniel J. Hayes, 1906 (Toronto b.p. 5080, 29 Aug. 1906)
(with J.P. Hynes) BISHOP'S PALACE, Church Street near Shuter Street, additions and extensive alterations, 1908-09; still standing in 2023 (Catholic Register [Toronto], 13 May 1909, 1, 7, descrip.)
SHERBOURNE STREET, near Wellesley Crescent, residence for Archbishop Fergus P. McEvoy, 1910 (Toronto b.p. 19164, 5 March 1910)
POWER STREET, Community House for the Sisters of St. Joseph, 1910 (Toronto b.p. 22002, 11 July 1910)
BATHURST STREET, near Adelaide Street West, Clubhouse for St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 1910 (Toronto b.p. 22891, 24 Aug. 1910)
LESLIE STREET, near Queen Street East, rectory for St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, 1914 (Toronto b.p. 9718, 20 March 1914)
BOND STREET, south of Dundas Street East, a 5 storey office block for the Catholic Register newspaper, 1914; still standing in 2023 (inf. Christopher Thomas, Toronto)
RONCESVALLES AVENUE, rectory for St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, 1931 (inf. Christopher Thomas, Toronto)
MERCY HOSPITAL FOR INCURABLES, Power Street, addition, 1932; demol. (Toronto b.p. 29186, 23 Feb. 1932)
ST MICHAEL'S HOSPITAL, Victoria Street at Shuter Street, addition to Nurses Residence, 1932, demol. 1987 (C.R., xlvi, 22 June 1932, 722)
ST. JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL, Queen Street West at Sunnyside Avenue, Nurses Home, 1934 (Toronto b.p. 41710, 3 Oct. 1934)

Arthur W. HOLMES (works elsewhere)

ST. CATHARINES, ONT., Roman Catholic Lyceum & Athletic Club, 1897 (Catholic Register [Toronto], 4 Nov. 1897, 1, illus. & descrip.)
KITCHENER, ONT., Sisters of Charity Roman Catholic Hospital, South Queen Street, in Queen’s Park, 1917 (News Record [Kitchener], 6 March 1917, 1)
PETERBOROUGH, ONT., St. Joseph's Hospital, Armour Road, addition, 1921 (E. Boland, History of the Diocese of Peterborough 1882-1975, 1976, 52)
WATERLOO, ONT., large residence for John Bahnsen, Albert Street, overlooking Caroline Street North and Silver Lake, 1924 (Parks Canada, Canada's Historic Places, designated 16 Aug. 1999; inf. Karl Kessler, Kitchener)