Fonds F 4414 - Zdzislaw Przygoda fonds

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Zdzislaw Przygoda fonds

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Reference code

CA ON00009 F 4414

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  • 1954-1995 (Creation)

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Physical description

33 centimetres of textual records
21 volumes of textual records
1008 architectural drawings
37 photographs

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Dr. Zdzislaw Przygoda was an architect and structural engineer working mostly in Ontario with some work in Alberta and Saskatchewan

Dr. Zdzislaw Przygoda was born February 25, 1913 in Warsaw, Poland to Jewish parents. His father Wladyslaw, a doctor and army officer, and his mother Helena, a philanthropist and nurse, were underground members of the Polish Socialist Party. Zdzislaw graduated from the Technical University of Danzig, Germany (1935) in architecture and, prior to World War II, he worked on architectural and engineering projects under the German and Soviet occupation zone administrations in Poland, passing as a Christian in German-occupied Warsaw. Przygoda earned his doctorate from the Technical University of Munich (1947) in engineering, writing his thesis on prefabricated homes as a replacement for those destroyed by the war.

In 1942 Zdzislaw Przygoda was arrested for being a member of the Polish Underground and was incarcerated in Auschwitz and Dachau. He escaped to the American army lines in 1945 and later worked for the American and French occupation zone administrators in Germany, documenting war crimes, repatriating stolen Polish machinery and equipment, and designing sports arenas. In 1947, Zdzislaw Przygoda emigrated to Israel with a group of Jewish engineers. There he was City Engineer for Kfar-Saba and also worked in private practice in the city of Haifa.

Zdzislaw Przygoda arrived in Canada in 1953, working for several architectural firms before establishing his own engineering consulting firm in Toronto in 1954. He worked with several architectural firms on projects for new buildings, as well as for alterations and additions to existing ones. With the firm of Roy Orlando Architects, Przygoda worked on over 40 school and church buildings throughout southern Ontario. He also worked consistently with Venchiarutti and Venchiarutti Architects and Scott D'Wonnick Architect. In addition, Przygoda worked directly with clients, designing structures and equipment, including fallout shelters, carports, farm buildings and elevators. For several clients, including Maple Leaf Mills, Ltd., Toronto Elevators Ltd., the Ministry of Agriculture of Food, and the University of Guelph, he designed multiple projects for building sites at several locations. The most prestigious project with which he was associated was the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario.

From the 1950s onward, he was also a leading figure in the Polish-Canadian community and belonged to the Association of Polish Engineers, as well as the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario. He was the winner of the Canadian Centennial Medal, the Professional Engineers of Ontario Citizenship Award in 1972 and the Sons of Martha Medal in 1977.

Zdzislaw Przygoda died in Toronto on November 30, 1996.

Custodial history

The fonds was held by Dana Segan, a family friend in Toronto, until it was acquired by the Archives of Ontario in 2003.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records generated or accumulated by Zdzislaw Przygoda during his practice as a structural engineer, in the firm of Przygoda and Associates Ltd. Consulting Engineers between 1954 and 1995.

The records consist mainly of architectural drawings, and include sketches, technical drawings and conceptual designs for structural elements, equipment, and building additions.

Textual records in a limited number of project files include building specifications, correspondence with architects, contractors and clients, site investigations, calculations, preliminary proposals, equipment reports, meeting minutes, labour agreements and instructions.

Volumes often consist of soil test boring reports of sites, as well as feasilbility studies, reports and specifications.

Photographs are found in four of the series, and depict construction of St. Wilfred's Church, The Liberty Street Buildings, Maple Leaf Mills Ltd. Saskatoon, and John XXII School. Photographs also include negatives of plans for the Maple Leaf Ltd. project in Saskatoon.

The records have been arranged into 60 series based on the building location of individual projects. The series pertains to certain aspects of the project related to Przygoda rather than a complete record of the building development. Several series include numeric project codes in which the first two digits represent the year the project was started followed by digits assigned sequentially. As this numbering system was not maintained, series were assigned arbitrarily although the numbering system was noted where applicable.

For a more detailed description, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:

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Finding aids

For a more detailed description, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:

Associated materials

For associated records of Zdzislaw Przygoda, consult Library and Archives Canada, which has in its custody 10 centimetres of textual records related to the erection of a statue for Sir Casimir Gzowski, an engineer who served as acting Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1896 to 1897.

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No further accruals are expected.

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Added Apr/12.

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