Cowan, James Michael

COWAN, James Michael (1880-1941) was born at Jarvis, Ont. on 21 November 1880 and attended De La Salle High School in Toronto. He articled with the prominent Toronto architect Beaumont Jarvis, and later worked briefly for Ellis & Connery before opening his own office in 1907 (inf. Catholic Register [Toronto], 9 May 1907, 5). Much of his career was devoted to ecclesiastical works for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toronto, where he held the post of Architect to the Separate School Board, and for projects for other Ontario dioceses. His most notable design in Toronto is the neo-classical facade of St. Vincent de Paul Church, Roncesvalles Avenue 1922-23, in which he combined a monumental portico with a rich Byzantine interior. Outside Toronto, his largest and most important commission was located in North Bay, Ont., where he prepared the plans for the 4 storey Girls College & Chapel for the Sisters of St. Joseph (1938-39), an Art Deco landmark combining a modern Tudor Gothic interpretation of college architecture and completed just two years before his death. His design was likely inspired by the Quebec ecclesiastical architects Father Dom Bellot and Edgar Courchesne. This North Bay landmark is still standing in 2022. Cowan died in Toronto on 29 June 1941 (obit. Globe & Mail [Toronto], 30 June 1941, 4; Toronto Star, 30 June 1941, 2; R.A.I.C. Journal, xviii, Sept. 1941, 151; inf. Ontario Assoc. of Architects)

James M. COWAN (works in Toronto)

BERKELEY STREET, three houses for M.J. Sullivan, 1908 (C.R., xxii, 4 Nov. 1908, 26)
TOILET LAUNDRY CO., Bathurst Street near Nassau Street, 1908 (C.R., xxii, 4 Nov. 1908, 27)
KENDAL AVENUE, near Bernard Avenue, two pairs of houses for Joseph Crang, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 6 Jan. 1909, 22)
CATHOLIC LITERARY & ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, Bathurst Street at Adelaide Street West, assembly hall, library, gymnasium and bowling alley, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 6 Jan. 1909, 21, t.c.; Catholic Register [Toronto], 24 Dec. 1908, 8, illus. & descrip.)
BROCK AVENUE, near Bloor Street West, pair of houses for John Boland, 1909 (Const., ii, April 1909, 80)
WELLESLEY STREET EAST, near Yonge Street, residence for Edwin R. Reynolds, 1909 (Toronto b.p. 17843, 22 Oct. 1909)
HOWARD PARK AVENUE, residence for Frederick Courtemanche, 1911 (C.R., xxv, 29 Nov. 1911, 59, 61)
GLOUCESTER MANSIONS, Gloucester Street near Church Street, apartment block, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 33282, 13 April 1912)
AZIEL STREET, three houses for McErrany Brothers, 1913 (Toronto b.p. 2643, 27 March 1913)
PETERBOROUGH AVENUE, near McFarland Avenue, seven pairs of houses for Frederick Courtemanche, 1914 (Toronto b.p. 10134, 4 April 1914)
ST. HELEN'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Dundas Street West at Margueretta Street, parish hall, 1920 (Toronto b.p. 33025, 27 July 1920)
ST. BRIGID'S ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Woodmount Avenue at Glebeholme Boulevard, 1921 (Toronto b.p. 39223, 4 May 1921; dwgs. at City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 410, File 2638)
HOLY ROSARY ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Kendal Avenue at St. Clair Avenue West, 1921 (Toronto b.p. 39226, 4 May 1921)
ST. JAMES ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Jane Street at Wetherell Street, 1922 (Toronto b.p. 46572, 17 Feb. 1922)
ST. CHARLES ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Garfield Avenue at Clifton Road, 1922 (Toronto b.p. 46588, 18 Feb. 1922)
ST. MARY'S ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Bathurst Street at Adelaide Street West, 1922 (Toronto b.p. 46897, 7 March 1922)
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Roncesvalles Avenue at Westminster Avenue, 1922-23 (C.R., xxxvi, 27 Sept. 1922, 48)
ST. RITA'S ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Edwin Avenue at Royce Avenue, 1922 (Toronto b.p. 50807, 30 May 1922)
SCARBOROUGH, ONT., additions to St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Seminary, Kingston Road at Brimley Road for the China Missions Corp., 1923; 1931 (C.R., xxvii, 25 July 1923, 51; Toronto Star, 15 May 1931, 33, illus.)
ST. CECELIA'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Annette Street at Pacific Avenue, parish hall, 1927 (C.R., xli, 16 Feb. 1927, 47)
ST. BASIL'S ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Hazelton Avenue, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 14 March 1928, 62)
ST. CLEMENT'S ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Dufferin Street at Davenport Road (C.R., xliii, 30 Oct. 1929, 60)
POLISH ASSEMBLY HALL, Claremont Street near Robinson Street, 1929 (Toronto Star, 7 Oct. 1929, 18, illus.; C.R., xliii, 30 Oct. 1929, 61)
DE LA SALLE ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOOL, Avenue Road at Alcorn Avenue, designed 1932; built 1939-40 (C.R., xlvi, 17 Feb. 1932, 44)
ORCHARD PARK HOTEL, Queen Street East at Orchard Park Boulevard, 1935 (dwgs. at OA, Horwood Coll. 408b)
ST. MARY OF THE ANGELS ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, Dufferin Street near Davenport Road, 1936-37 (inf. from Roman Catholic Archdiocese Archives, Toronto)

James M. COWAN (works elsewhere)

HESPELER, ONT., St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 1916 (Const., ix, June 1916, 211)
STRATFORD, ONT., Roman Catholic School, 1922 (C.R., xxxvi, 19 April 1922, 54)
WATERLOO, ONT., addition to St. Jerome's Roman Catholic High School, Duke Street, 1923 (Daily Record [Kitchener], 6 Feb. 1923, 13, t.c., C.R., xxxvii, 28 March 1923, 54)
BELLEVILLE, ONT., addition to St. Michael's Roman Catholic School, Church Street, 1929 (C.R., xliii, 29 May 1929, 186)
NORTH BAY, ONT., Sisters of St. Joseph Roman Catholic College for Girls, Sturgeon Falls Road, a 4 storey college, with Chapel wing, 1938-39 (The Nugget [North Bay], 30 Jan. 1939, 12-14, illus. & detailed architectural descrip.; C.R., li, 13 April 1938, 31)