Abra, William James

ABRA, William James(1882-1965) was born in Ayr, Ontario on 16 April 1882 and brought to Toronto as a child where he attended public and high schools. He was employed for five years in the wood working trade and attended evening courses in architecture before becoming a draftsman in the offices of James A. Ellis (1903-04) and later with J.A. Harvey (1904-07). He then moved to Ottawa and worked for Horwood & Taylor **(1907-10) and for **Weeks & Keefer **(1910-13) before forming a partnership with **Hugh Richards in May 1913 (see list of works under Richards & Abra). Their successful partnership lasted for more than thirty years and after the death of Richards in 1944 Abra formed a new partnership with Watson Balharrie in 1946; David Shore was invited to join the partnership in 1947. Their new firm received many commissions for schools in the Ottawa Valley and eastern Ontario region which they designed in a distinctive modernist style. Abra was elected President of the Ontario Association of Architects in 1944-45 and retired from practise in 1951. He died in Ottawa on 23 December 1965 (obituary in the R.A.I.C. Journal, xliii, Jan. 1966, 5; death notice in the Ottawa Citizen, 23 Dec. 1965, 26; Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, 2001, i, 3)

(works in Ottawa unless noted)


EASTVIEW BAPTIST CHURCH, Olmstead Avenue, 1924 (Ottawa Journal, 15 Dec. 1924, 4; Canadian Baptist [Toronto], 1 Jan. 1925, 3, illus.)
CENTRAL EXPERIMENTAL FARM, Biological Building, 1935 (C.R., xlix, 31 July 1935, 29)


ELMDALE SCHOOL, Iona Street, addition, 1946 (C.R., lix, July 1946, 104)
ARNPRIOR, ONT., Central Hotel, Madawaska Street, 1946 (C.R., lix, June 1946, 142)


HEALTH CENTRE, 1947 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxiv, March 1947, 88, illus.)
SHAWVILLE, QUE., Pontiac Community Hospital, 1947-48 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxv, Sept. 1948, 324-25, illus.)
MANOR PARK VILLAGE SHOPPING CENTRE, 1947 (C.H.G., xxiv, Sept. 1947, 29, illus.)
HILSON AVENUE PUBLIC SCHOOL, addition, 1947 (C.R., lx, April 1947, 96)
BROADVIEW AVENUE PUBLIC SCHOOL, addition, 1947 (C.R., lx, April 1947, 98)
ALMONTE, ONT., Community Hall and Skating Rink, 1947 (C.R., lx, Aug. 1947, 260)
CARLETON HEIGHTS PUBLIC SCHOOL, Prince of Wales Drive, 1947 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxvi, April 1949, 117, illus.)
CORNWALL, ONT., Public School, 1949 (C.R., lxii, Feb. 1949, 151)
BANCROFT, ONT., North Hastings High School, 1949 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxvi, April 1949, 118-19, illus.)
KINGSTON TOWNSHIP, Marydale School, 1949-50 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxvi, April 1949, 120)
LONG LAKE, QUE., Summer Lodge & Dining Room for the Canadian Girls In Training, 1949 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxvi, July 1949, 216, illus.)
ARNPRIOR, ONT., Roman Catholic School, 1949 (C.R., lxii, Sept. 1949, 160)
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTRE, Chapel Street at Rideau Street, 1950 (C.R., lxii, Dec. 1949, 92)
PEMBROKE, ONT., addition to Laurentian School, 1950 (C.R., lxiii, Feb. 1950, 126)
PEMBROKE, ONT., Memorial Centre and Administration Offices, 1950 (C.R., lxiii, April 1950, 124
ALMONTE, ONT., addition to the High School, 1950 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxvii, May 1950, 175, illus.)
CARLETON COLLEGE, First Avenue, addition to the Library, 1950 (C.R., lxiii, June 1950, 126)
METCALFE BUILDING, Wellington Street at Metcalfe Street, 1950 (dwgs. at OA, Dept. of Labour Coll.)