Chapman, Alfred H., 1875-1949

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Chapman, Alfred H., 1875-1949

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1875-1949

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Alfred Hirschfelder Chapman (1878-1949) was an important architect in Toronto, Ontario between 1907 and 1943.

Alfred H. Chapman, born 8 December 1878 in Toronto, Ontario, was educated at Harbord Collegiate. Upon completing an apprenticeship with architect Beaumont Jarvis and briefly working with Burke and Horwood, he left to attend the École Nationale et Spéciale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, completing his studies in 1902. He then worked for several years in New York City before returning to Toronto.

Chapman won a design competition for the Toronto Public Reference Library in 1907 and, later that year, formed a partnership with Robert B. McGiffin. Their firm planned a number of buildings in Toronto, including Rosedale Presbyterian Church, the Dovercourt branch of the Toronto Public Library, the Toronto Harbour Commission Building, and a number of residences. Around the year 1911, at least one project was accomplished under the name Chapman, McGiffin and Scott, but the new partner had left by 1912. Chapman and McGiffin dissolved their partnership in 1919.

That same year Chapman joined with engineer J. Morrow Oxley, formerly of the firm Oxley and Harkness. Chapman and Oxley designed many important commercial and public structures in and around Toronto, including the Princes' Gate and Ontario Government Building for the Canadian National Exhibition, Holy Blossom Temple, Runnymede Theatre, and an office building for The Toronto Star. They were also responsible for numerous buildings elsewhere, such as Albert College in Belleville, office buildings in Montreal, and additions to the National Sanitarium at Gravenhurst. Charles D. McKechnie executed decorative sculpture work for the firm. Between 1921-1925 some projects, including the residence of W.O. Tudhope in Orillia, were accomplished under the name Chapman, Oxley and Bishop, with the transitory addition of Roy H. Bishop to the partnership. In the final years of his career, the partnership again expanded to become Chapman, Oxley and Facey, whose project for the new Bank of Montreal Building was interrupted by the start of the Second World War.

Alfred Chapman married Doris Helen Dennison, an English musician, in 1913. They had six children, including son Howard D. Chapman, later to become a Toronto architect as well. He designed several homes for his family on Roxborough Street East in Toronto and a cottage on Lake Simcoe. In 1920, Chapman inherited his father's ice company, Belle Ewart Ice and Fuel Company, later renamed Chapmans Limited, for which Chapman and Oxley also designed various new buildings.

Chapman was a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a past president of the Ontario Association of Architects, and an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy. He suffered a stroke in 1943 and died six years later.

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Archives of Ontario

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Rev. Feb/12.

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