Winnipeg Architecture Foundation

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Northwood & Chivers

Biography

Over its years of productive work, the firm of Northwood & Chivers had an enormous impact on the look and life of Winnipeg and were responsible for some of the city’s most iconic buildings. The firm began in the mid-1920s, when already active architects George W. Northwood (1877 - 1959) and Cyril William Upton Chivers (1879-1969) decided to once again forge a professional partnership. The two had previously briefly partnered in 1905 to create – with Northwood’s Ottawa partner Werner Noffke – the short lived firm of Northwood Noffke and Chivers. Amongst the many renowned structures which this new partnership created from the Twenties onward was the seminal, Tudor, Assiniboine Park Pavilion (1929) – a three-storey, half-timbered block topped by a soaring, matching, tower. This design recalled the arrangement presented by the earlier 1908 pavilion (lost to a fire not long before their project commenced) which likewise presented a central tower and lower main structure. Other notable early works by Northwood and Chivers are the neo-Gothic limestone churches All Saints Anglican Church (175 Colony Street, 1926) and St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church (255 Stafford Street, 1928).

The partners likewise selected limestone for a building which pointed to the architects’ evolution toward a gradually modernizing aesthetic approach: the slender Canadian Wheat Board Building (423 Main Street, 1928). Here a heavier masonry ground floor with a double height entranceway is superseded by a seven storey section with substantial glazing. Though bearing a Gothic motif, this part of the structure – with its tall piers emphasizing verticality and general sparseness – is undoubtedly executed in a contemporary style. A similarly contemporary manner appears at the firm’s brick and stone Canadian General Electric Building (265 Notre Dame Avenue, 1930); the refined buff brick and stone Women’s Tribute Memorial Lodge (200 Woodlawn Street, 1931); the clean-lined limestone Winnipeg Civic Auditorium (200 Vaughan Street, 1932; with Semmens, Pratt and Ross); and the Dominion Public Building (269 Main Street, 1935-36). This set of buildings essentially represents the majority of architecture in Winnipeg which could be called Art Deco; notably, the latter two came as government sponsored projects designed to spur economic growth during the Depression. During this era an increasing proportion of the firm’s work came out of the city, in such commissions as the T. Eaton Company Department Store, 101st Street at 102nd Avenue, Edmonton, 1938 – an Art Moderne, ground-hugging, two-storey structure of stone. Northwood and Chivers continued as a practice into the period following the Second World War. This latter era saw a number of figures who would later have a large impact on the city’s architectural history come through the firm’s offices, including Lawrence Green and R. E. Moore. Throughout this time the original partners bowed out, with the senior Chiver’s son John Chivers taking over, alongside new partner John Casey; the firm ended in the late 1950s.

Projects

  • West Kildonan, Priory School, 1924
  • Allan Morrison Residence, Park Boulevard, 1925
  • William A. Smith Residence, 111 Park Boulevard, 1925
  • Claude C. Heubach Residence, Park Boulevard, 1925
  • Gordon Bell Junior High School, Wolseley Avenue at Maryland Street, 1925
  • Morrison Residence, Park Boulevard, 1925
  • St. Boniface Distillery, 688 Rue St. Joseph, 1925
  • Manitoba Cartage Company Limited, Higgins Avenue at Lizzie Street, 1926
  • All Saints Anglican Church, 175 Colony Street, 1926
  • St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, 255 Stafford Street, 1928
  • Canadian Wheat Board Building, 423 Main Street, 1928
  • Provencher Collegiate Institute addition, Cathedrale Avenue at St. Jean Baptiste Street, 1929
  • Robert H. Smith Public School, 315 Oak Street, 1929 (demolished 1992)
  • Singer Sewing Machine Company building, Portage Avenue near Vaughan Street, 1929
  • Great West Saddlery Building alterations, Market Avenue, 1929
  • Assiniboine Park Pavilion, 1929
  • Imperial Bank, Invermere, British Columbia, 1929
  • Hall Building, Howe Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1929
  • Canadian General Electric Building, 265 Notre Dame Avenue, 1930
  • Women’s Tribute Memorial Lodge, 200 Woodlawn Street, 1931
  • Queenston School, 245 Queenston Street, 1931
  • High School, Kenora, Ontario, 1931
  • Winnipeg Civic Auditorium, 200 Vaughan Street, 1932
  • Public school, Ninette, Manitoba, 1932
  • Bank of Toronto, 420 Academy Road, 1933
  • Balmoral Hall (Riverbend School For Girls), 630 Westminster Avenue, 1934
  • Dominion Public Building, 269 Main Street, Winnipeg, 1935-36
  • Manitoba Cold Storage Warehouse addition, Argyle Street at Higgins Avenue, 1937
  • T. Eaton Company Department Store, 101st Street at 102nd Avenue, Edmonton, 1938
  • Federal Department of Munitions & Supplies Engine Testing Shop, 1940
  • Manitoba Telephone System Radio Studio, Brandon, Manitoba, 1941
  • John Deere Plow Company Office and Warehouse, Livingston Street, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, 1941
  • Winnipeg General Hospital, Bannatyne Avenue at Emily Street, Maternity Pavilion, 1948-50
  • Royal Hotel addition, Flin Flon, Manitoba, 1950
  • Bank of Montreal, 676 Main Street, 1950
  • Imperial Bank of Canada, 739 Henderson Highway, 1950
  • Manitoba Medical Service Building, 210 Osborne Street North, 1952
  • Bank of Toronto, 215 Portage Avenue, 1950-1951
  • Toronto Dominion Bank, North Kildonan, 1956

Sources

  • Peterson, M. Winnipeg Landmarks. [2 volumes] Winnipeg: Watson and Dwyer, 1995
  • Construction, xviii, June 1925, 206.
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, Nov. 1927, 407-08, 411-12.
  • Construction., xix, Sept. 1926, 290-1, illus.
  • Pickwell, F.C. "Tuxedo Park, Winnipeg." Construction 19 (September) 1926: 290-294.
  • Construction., xix, Sept. 1926, 291
  • Construction., xix, Sept. 1926, 292
  • RAIC Journal 34 (February 1957): 51.
  • Construction., xix, June 1926, 197
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, vii, Jan. 1930, xxxii
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, xvii, Nov. 1940, 195
  • H. Kalman, Exploring Vancouver, 1978, 110, illus.
  • Construction., xxv, Dec. 1932, 273-77, 286
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, x, Oct. 1933, 164-9
  • Canadian Engineer, lxv, 5 Sept. 1933, 3-6, 10
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, xi, April 1934, 62, ,Sept. 1937, 177-8
  • (R.A.I.C. Journal, xi, May 1934, 74; xiii, Sept. 1936, 168-9,
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, xiv, July 1937, 140; xv, June 1938, 148,
  • Early Buildings of Manitoba, 1973, 75,
  • H. Kalman, History of Canadian Architecture, 1994, 761
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, xiv, Aug. 1937, 170
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, xv, Sept. 1938, 211; xvi, Dec. 1939, 257
  • Canadian Hospital [Toronto], xxvii, Sept. 1950, 31-33
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, x, Sept. 1950, 346
  • R.A.I.C. Journal, xxvii, Oct. 1950, 351