Archibald, John Smith

ARCHIBALD, John Smith (1872-1934), was one of the adroit and highly original architects of eastern Canada who, during his prolific career, contributed to the evolution and refinement of a distinctive Canadian architectural style. His major commissions can be found in locations across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver, and there is no doubt that he influenced many of his peers with classically inspired designs created during his partnership with his colleague Charles J. Saxe, and later during his own successful practise from 1915 to 1934. Born in Inverness, Scotland on 14 December 1872 he was educated at public and high schools there and in 1887 entered the office of a local architect William MacIntosh with whom he remained until early 1893. He emigrated to Canada and arrived in Montreal on 4 May 1893 and soon after met Edward Maxwell who invited him to join his office staff as draftsman and assistant. It is within this office that he met other young architects including Joseph C. Dufort, William J. Carmichael, William S. Maxwell and Charles Saxe, the latter with whom he formed a successful partnership in 1897 (see list of works under Saxe & Archibald). Upon the dissolution of this office in 1915 Archibald continued to undertake a variety of commissions for residential, institutional, educational and public buildings in the Montreal area. It was his skill and expertise in hotel design, however, which led the Canadian National Railways Co. to commission him to execute five major landmark works in Vancouver, Halifax, Saskatoon, Murray Bay, and in Ottawa. Drawing upon the earlier Canadian precedents for the Chateau style railway hotel in Quebec City and Winnipeg, Archibald introduced refinements while continuing to draw inspiration from medieval and Renaissance forms and details as he developed his assured interpretation of this unique Canadian building prototype. His most urbane and cultivated institutional design is, without question, the Masonic Temple, Sherbrooke Street West (1928-29), a classically inspired essay in stone in which he devoted fastidious attention to spatial sequences and details both within and on the exterior of the building.

He took an active interest in the political and administrative affairs of the profession, and served as President of the Province of Quebec Association of Architects in 1905. From 1906 onward he was a permanent member of the International Congress of Architects which earned him the respect of his peers who elected him as President of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1924. He was often sought out by Liberal party members for his views on political matters, and was described by W.S. Maxwell as one who 'possessed unusual social gifts' and had a 'capacity for forming friendships and holding them' (R.A.I.C. Journal, xi, March 1934, 44). He remained active until early 1934, but in late February of that year he suffered a stroke from which he never recovered. He died in Montreal on 2 March 1934, and his son Ian T. Archibald continued the practise until after 1970. An early portrait of him can be found in the Canadian Architect & Builder, xv, Feb. 1902, 25 (obituary in the New York Times, 4 March 1934, Section 1, 30; Gazette [Montreal] 3 March 1934, 5; R.A.I.C. Journal, xi, March 1934, 44, with portrait; biography in Who's Who in Canada, 1922, 1583-84; J.E. Middleton, National Encyclopedia of Canadian Biography, ii, 1937, 74-75; A.J. Newlands, Prominent People of the Province of Quebec, 1923-24, unpag.; W. Wood, The Storied Province of Quebec: Past & Present, iv, 494-95; biography and list of works in The Journal of Canadian Art History, xiv, No. 2, January 1993, 94-113)


WESTMOUNT, residence for the architect, Dorchester Boulevard West, 1915 (A. Gubbay & S. Hooff, Montreal's Little Mountain, 1979, 101-02, illus.)
WILLIAM DAVIES CO., Mill Street near Bridge Street, garage, 1916 (Le Prix Courant [Montreal], 25 Aug. 1916, 33)
STEEL CO. OF CANADA, Notre Dame Street West at Dominion Street, office building, 1916 (Le Prix Courant [Montreal], 21 July 1916, 28)
MURRAY AVENUE, residence for Rene T. Leclerc, 1916-17 (Le Prix Courant [Montreal], 1 Dec. 1916, 30)
MONTREAL ARENA CO., Ste. Catherine Street West at Wood Avenue, parking garage, 1919 (Le Prix Courant [Montreal], 15 Aug. 1919, 26)
MONKLAND AVENUE, pair of houses for James H. McKee, 1921 (Concordian University Archives, Fonds H.P. Illsley, Ledger Book)
BARON BYNG HIGH SCHOOL, St. Urbain Street at Clarke Street, 1921-22 (Const., xv, Dec. 1922, 370-74, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xxxvi, 27 Dec. 1922, 1255-58, illus. & descrip.)
ELIZABETH BALLANTYNE SCHOOL, Wolseley Avenue, Montreal West, 1921 (inf. H.P. Illsley)
CONNAUGHT AVENUE, residence for J.F. McLean, 1922 (Montreal b.p. 2104, 1922)
WINDSOR HOTEL, Peel Street at Cypress Street, addition and extensive alterations, 1923-26 (C.R., xxxvi, 6 Dec. 1922, 1156-57, illus. & descrip.; Canadian Hotel Review, vi, Oct. 1928, 19-21, illus.; Montreal, Les Hotels Les Immeubles de Bureaux, 1983, 300-07, illus.; dwgs. at McGill University, Canadian Architecture Collection)
CONNAUGHT SCHOOL, De Biencourt Street, 1924 (C.R., xxxviii, 28 May 1924, 554, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, Sept. 1927, 328-29, 338, illus. & descrip.)
MONTREAL FORUM ARENA, Ste. Catherine Street West at Atwater Street, 1924-25 (C.R., xxxviii, 31 Dec. 1924, 1325-27, illus. & descrip.; Const., xviii, March 1925, 81-86, illus. & descrip.)
CHURCH OF ST. JAMES THE APOSTLE (Anglican), Ste. Catherine Street West at Bishop Street, Parish Hall, 1924 (Montreal, Les Eglises, 1981, 246-49, illus.)
(with J.O. Turgeon) QUEBEC LIQUOR COMMISSION WAREHOUSE, Craig Street at De Lorimier Avenue, 1924 (C.R., xxxviii, 13 Aug. 1924, 55-56)
QUEEN'S HOTEL, Peel Street at St. James Street, addition, 1925 (Const., xix, Oct. 1926, 319-24, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, June 1927, 211, 228, illus.; Montreal, Les Hotels Les Immeubles de Bureaux, 1983, 276-79, illus.)
WILLIAM THOMAS LTD., St. Lawrence Boulevard, factory and office, 1925 (Montreal b.p. 2281, 1925)
MONTREAL TRAMWAYS CO. TERMINAL, Craig Street near St. Urbain Street, 1925 (Const., xix, May 1926, 162-64, illus. & descrip.; Montreal, Les Edifices Publics, 1981, 284-85, illus.)
BLUE BONNETS RACE TRACK, Clanranald Avenue near Decarie Boulevard, new grandstand and additional horse stables, 1927 (Gazette [Montreal], 1 April 1927, 17; inf. Scott Edwards)
MONTREAL WEST HIGH SCHOOL, Easton Avenue, 1927, but not built, and commission later awarded to Perry & Luke, Architects in 1931 (R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, June 1927, 228; inf. Scott Edwards)
MONTREAL BASEBALL & EXPOSITION STADIUM, Ontario Street at De Lorimier Avenue, 1928, demol. (Canadian Engineer, liv, 1 May 1928, 485-87, illus. & descrip.; Const., xxi, Sept. 1928, 316-18, illus. & descrip.)
MASONIC TEMPLE, Sherbrooke Street West at St. Mark Street, 1928-29 (Const., xxiii, Dec. 1930, 386-92, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, Dec. 1931, 410, illus.; Feb. 1932, 41, illus.; Montreal, Les Eglises, 1981, 76-79, illus.; dwgs. at McGill University, Canadian Architecture Collection)
WESTMOUNT, residence for Noah A. Timmins, Belvedere Place, 1929 (R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, Dec. 1931, 420, illus.; ix, Feb. 1932, 43, illus.; C.H.G., x, Feb. 1933, 42, illus.; Montreal, Les Residences, 1987, 708-13, illus.; dwgs. at McGill University, Canadian Architecture Collection)
SMITH BROTHERS BUILDING, Bleury Street, 1929 (C.R., xliii, 13 Feb. 1929, 55)
MONTREAL CONVALESCENT HOME, The Lindsay Memorial Building, Van Horne Avenue near Darlington Avenue, 1932-33 (C.R., xlvi, 5 Oct. 1932, 38; R.A.I.C. Journal, xx, June 1943, 88-89, illus.)
ROYAL EDWARD INSTITUTE, Dispensary Building, St. Urbain Street, 1932 (C.R., xlv, 2 Dec. 1931, 53)
(with E.J. Turcotte) ST. MARY'S MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, Lacombe Avenue at Legare Street, 1933-34 (C.R., xlvii, 28 June 1933, 649; R.A.I.C. Journal, xii, March 1935, ii, advert.)


COWANSVILLE, QUE., residence for J.F. McLean, 1917 (Le Prix Courant, 30 March 1917, 33)
GRANBY, QUE., Miner Rubber Co., Dennison Avenue, factory, 1919 (Le Prix Courant, 2 May 1919, 113)
TORONTO, ONT., Lawrence Avenue East near Bayview Avenue, riding school, apartments, and garage for Sir Clifford Sifton, 1922 (C.R., xxxvi, 20 Sept. 1922, 53)
COWANSVILLE, QUE., Heroes Memorial School, 1923 (R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, Sept. 1927, 334-35, illus.)
TIMMINS, ONT., Hollinger Consolidated Gold Mines, office building, Pine Street, 1923 (dwgs. at Premises Dept., Bank of Montreal Regional Office, Toronto)
(with Wilfrid Lacroix **and **Oscar Beaule) QUEBEC CITY, QUE., stores for the Quebec Liquor Commission, Dalhousie Street, 1923-24 (C.R., xxxvii, 29 Aug. 1923, 46)
KINGSTON, ONT., mansion for Thomas A. McGinnis, King Street West, 1924 (Kingston, Buildings of Architectural & Historic Significance, vi, 1985, 134-5, illus.; J. McKendry, Modern Architecture in Kingston, 2014, 16, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at McGill University, Canadian Architecture Collection)
QUEBEC CITY, QUE., Quebec Railway, Light, Heat & Power Co., new office building, car shops and car house, Limoilou, Jacques Cartier Ward, 1926-27 (Canadian Railway & Marine World, xxxi, Jan. 1928, 33-35, illus.)
(with John Schofield) HALIFAX, N.S., Nova Scotian Hotel and Canadian National Railways Station, Barrington Street at South Street, 1928-29 (Ottawa Daily Journal, 19 Dec. 1927, 16, illus. & descrip.; Canadian Railway & Marine World, xxxi, Feb. 1928, 63, illus. & descrip.; Sept. 1928, 513-14, illus. & descrip; Charlottetown Guardian, 11 Aug. 1928, 1, descrip.; C.R., xlii, 17 Oct. 1928, 1106-07, illus. & descrip.; Const., xxiv, May 1931, 163-64, 166-73, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at PANS, Halifax)
(with John Schofield) OTTAWA, ONT., Chateau Laurier Hotel, Wellington Street at Mackenzie Avenue, major addition, 1927-28 (Ottawa Journal, 27 April 1927, 1 & 2, descrip.; C.R., xli, 25 May 1927, 517, illus.; xlii, 25 July 1928, 769-74, illus. & descrip.; Canadian Hotel Review, vii, May 1929, 19-24, illus.; R.A.I.C. Journal, v, June 1928, 207, 211, illus. & descrip.; vii, Nov. 1930, 393-411, illus. & descrip.; Ottawa Journal, 5 June 1929, Section Two, Chateau Laurier Supplement, 17-25, illus. & descrip.; Const., xxiii, Jan. 1930, 19-22, 25-32, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at McGill University, Canadian Architecture Collection)
NORANDA, QUE., hotel for the Noranda Hotel Co., 2nd Avenue at 6th Street, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 8 Feb. 1928, 53)
MURRAY BAY, QUE., Manoir Richelieu Hotel, 1928-29; with Staff Residence Building, located immediately behind the hotel, 1929-30 (Canadian Hotel Review, vii, July 1929, 10-14, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, vi, June 1929, 208-09, illus. & descrip.; vii, Sept. 1930, 325-36, illus. & descrip.; xi, Sept. 1934, 127, illus.; C.R., xlii, 14 Nov. 1928, 1190, illus. & descrip.; xliii, 14 Aug. 1929, 945-50, illus. & descrip.; Gazette [Montreal], 30 Oct. 1929, 6, descrip.; inf. Scott Edwards)
(with Benjamin Dillon) BROCKVILLE, ONT., General Brock Hotel, King Street East, 1928-29 (Canadian Hotel Review, vi, Aug. 1928, 51; viii, May 1930, 31-33, 38, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at NAC, Power Coll., 81203/9)
(with John Schofield) VANCOUVER, B.C., Hotel Vancouver, West Georgia Street at Burrard Street, 1929; completed 1939 (Canadian Hotel Review, vii, Aug. 1929, 28-29, descrip.; xvii, May 1939, 13-27, illus. & descrip.; Gazette [Montreal], 5 Oct.1929, 11, descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, Aug. 1931, 309, illus.; Province [Vancouver], 27 May 1939, Section Four, 1-7, illus. & descrip; Architectural Record [New York], lxxxviii, July 1940, 92-94, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives; inf. Scott Edwards)
(with John Schofield) SASKATOON, SASK., Bessborough Hotel, 21st Avenue at Spadina Crescent, 1929; completed 1935 (Lethbridge Herald, 12 Aug. 1929, 10, illus. & descrip.; Canadian Hotel Review, viii, Nov. 1930, 31-32; xiii, Dec. 1935, 8-12, illus. & descrip., R.A.I.C. Journal, vii, Aug. 1930, 285, illus.; C.R., xliii, 29 Jan. 1930, 93-94, illus. & descrip.; l, 15 July 1936, 613-15, illus. & descrip.)
LACHINE, QUE., Dominion Bridge Co., addition to office building, 1929 (C.R., xliii, 10 July 1929, 89)
KINGSTON, ONT., Queen's University, Memorial Gymnasium, Union Street, 1929-30 (R.A.I.C. Journal, vi, May 1929, 168, illus.; dwgs. at McGill University, Canadian Architecture Collection)
HUNTINGDON, QUE., Dominion Public Building, Bouchette Street, 1931 (inf. Gregory Utas, Ottawa)
VERDUN, QUE., Woodlands School, Verdun Avenue, addition, 1931 (C.R., xlv, 20 May 1931, 54)