Siddall, John Wilson

SIDDALL, John Wilson (1861-1941) of Toronto, Ont. practised in that city for more that forty years. He was active there as a member of the following offices:

Knox & Elliott & J.W. Siddall 1892 (with Wilm Knox and John Elliott)
Siddall & Baker 1893-95 (with Francis S. Baker)
J.W. Siddall 1895-1898
King & Siddall 1898-1899 ( with George W. King)
J.W. Siddall 1899-1932

Born in Yorkshire, England on 4 September 1861, Siddall was educated and trained in England, but no information on his early career there has been found. In April 1890, at the age of 29 years, he answered an advertisement placed by the Toronto architectural firm of Knox, Elliott & Jarvis seeking an assistant to take charge of the construction and detailing of the Confederation Life Building in Toronto, a commission which that firm had just won in a major competition. The job, which was to last for 2 ½ years, was offered to Siddall at $20 per week. He accepted, and moved to Toronto in May 1890. When Beaumont Jarvis later left the firm of Knox & Elliott, Siddall took his place, and then became a full partner in that office.

In 1893 Siddall invited a talented young British architect Francis S. Baker to join him a new partnership. Their collaboration was brief, and was dissolved in 1895. Siddall then opened his own office under his own name and received a major boost to his career when he won the competition for a new Jewish Synagogue on Bond Street, Toronto (1895-97). According to recent research, Siddall was one of at least three Toronto architects who submitted plans for this important project, and he was given an expense account of $50 to travel to New York City to study synagogue architecture there before beginning construction of his winning design (Rosabel Levitt, “The Architecture of Holy Blossom Synagogue, Bond St., Toronto”, 1974, a term paper for the Dept. of Fine Art, Univ. of Toronto).

Siddall continued to work alone except for a brief period in 1898-99 when he appears to have collaborated, in an informal business arrangement, with George W. King (see works under King & Siddall). From late 1899, and for the next thirty years, Siddall practised under his own name, and was credited with a variety of commercial, industrial, ecclesiastical and residential commissions designed in a wide range of eclectic styles combining elements of the Romanesque Revival and a commercial Classicism which was fashionable at the turn of the century. His designs for private residences in Rosedale, The Annex, and in Parkdale were invariably picturesque in style, but often lacked the purity and scholarly attention to detail found in the residential work of leading Toronto architects such as Frank Darling or Edmund Burke. He was the author of a lengthy essay published in 1899 entitled "The Advancement of Public Taste in Architecture", which first appeared in The Canadian Architect & Builder, and then caught the attention of British architects when it was reproduced in full in the London journal The Architect & Contract Reporter [London], lxi, 14 April 1899, 243-45.

The largest and most substantial ecclesiastical design by Siddall is not located in Toronto, however, but rather in Orillia, Ontario, where he presented a pure Gothic design for Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church (1910-11), a massive work executed in Longford limestone, dominated by a square tower and spire over 100 feet in height. One of his last works was for Danforth Avenue Baptist Church, Toronto (1931), an elaborate Tudor Revival essay with a crenelated corner tower topped off with copper-clad cupola. The following year, in 1932, Siddall retired from the profession, and later died in Toronto on 26 June 1941 (death notice Globe & Mail [Toronto], 28 June 1941, 22). A photographic portrait of Siddall can be found at the Ontario Archives, Toronto (Acc. 10252, S 16169). An engraved portrait of J.W. Siddall was published in the Toronto Daily Star on 29 June 1906, page 1. Siddall supervised the work of several students and assistants, one of whom was Norman A. Armstrong, who trained in his office in 1902-04.

SIDDALL & BAKER (works in Toronto unless noted)

NORDHEIMER BLOCK, King Street East through to Colborne Street, 1893; demol. c. 1955 (Toronto b.p. 1259, 7 April 1893; C.A.B., vii, Oct. 1894, 131; x, March 1897, illus.)
BRADFORD, ONT., St. John's Presbyterian Church, John Street West at Church Street, 1893; demol. 2005 (I. McKenzie, Bradford Centennial Anniversary, 1957, 87, illus.)
SPADINA ROAD, north of Bloor Street West, residence for Archibald A. Dickson, 1894 (C.A.B., viii, Oct. 1895, illus.)

J.W. SIDDALL (Institutional & Ecclesiastical Works in Toronto unless noted)

HOLY BLOSSOM JEWISH SYNAGOGUE, Bond Street near Dundas Street East, 1895-97; still standing in 2023 (C.A.B., x, Oct. 1897, 188, descrip. & illus; Brickbuilder [Boston], vii, Feb. 1898, illus.; W. Dendy & W. Kilbourn, Toronto Observed, 1996, 146-7, illus.)
(with George W. King) STRATFORD, ONT., Town Hall, Downie Street at Wellington Street, 1898-99 (C.A.B., xiii, Jan. 1900, illus.)
(with George W. King) ORILLIA, ONT., High School, 1899; addition 1908 (C.R., x, 26 April 1899, 6; xxii, 24 June 1908, 26)
OSHAWA, ONT., St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Simcoe Street South at Bruce Street, 1899; still standing in 2023 (C.R., x, 15 March 1899, 1)
UTICA, ONT., Town Hall, 1899 (C.R., x, 19 April 1899, 2)
ST. LAWRENCE MARKET, Front Street East at Jarvis Street, 1899-1900, extensive alterations and additions to the Old City Hall building (built in 1844); project completed under the supervision of Beaumont Jarvis; still standing in 2023 (C.A.B., xiii, Feb. 1900, 24; Oct. 1900, 189; W. Dendy & W. Kilbourn, Toronto Observed, 1978, 51)
ROBERT BURNS MONUMENT, in Allan Gardens, Carlton Street at Sherbourne Street, 1902 (The Globe (Toronto), 23 June 1902, 5)
BOWMANVILLE, ONT., Town Hall and Public Library, Temperance Street at Church Street, 1903-04; still standing in 2023 (C.R., xiv, 1 July 1903, 1, t.c.; Canadian Statesman [Bowmanville], 2 Sept. 1903, 1, descrip.; and 22 March 1905, 1, illus. & descrip.)
EGLINTON MASONIC HALL, Yonge Street near Montgomery Avenue, 1907 (C.R., xviii, 20 Nov. 1907, 18, t.c.)
ORILLIA, ONT., Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church, West Street North at Penetang Street, 1910-11; still standing in 2023 (Orillia News Letter, 20 Dec. 1911, 1, descrip.)
MIDLAND, ONT., St. Margaret's Roman Catholic Church, Hugel Avenue West at Third Street, 1912; still standing in 2023 (C.R., xxvi, 20 March 1912, 71)
DUKE OF CONNAUGHT PUBLIC SCHOOL, Morley Avenue, addition, 1919 (C.R., xxxiii, 4 June 1919, 45)
AURA LEE ATHLETIC CLUB, Ramsden Park, off Avenue Road, 1920 (C.R., xxxiv, 11 Aug. 1920, 56, t.c.)
WOODBINE HEIGHTS BAPTIST CHURCH, Woodbine Avenue at Sammon Avenue, 1929; still standing in 2023 (Toronto Star, 1 March 1929, 4, illus.)
DANFORTH AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH, Danforth Avenue at Bowden Avenue, 1931; still standing in 2023 (Telegram [Toronto], 2 June 1931, 5, illus.; Canadian Baptist [Toronto], 12 Nov. 1931, 1-2, illus. & descrip.)
BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH, Millwood Road, Leaside, a new Sunday School for the church, 1932-33 (Canadian Baptist [Toronto], 19 Jan. 1933, 5, illus.)

J.W. SIDDALL (Commercial & Industrial Works in Toronto unless noted)

GENDRON MANUFACTURING CO., Richmond Street East at Ontario Street, factory, 1895 (Toronto b.p. 2135, 17 Sept. 1895)
KORMANN HOUSE HOTEL, Queen Street East at Sherbourne Street, 1896 (Toronto b.p. 3507, 12 Nov. 1896)
GRAND UNION HOTEL, Front Street West at Simcoe Street, major addition, 1898; with another 5 storey addition, 1900-01; demol. (Toronto b.p. 169, 4 Jan. 1898; Toronto b.p. 11, 26 Nov. 1900)
CANADIAN OIL CLOTH CO., King Street West at Jefferson Avenue, factory, 1898 (Toronto b.p. 84, 14 April 1898)
OTTO HIGEL PIANO CO., Mowat Avenue at King Street West, factory, 1898 (Toronto b.p. 198, 13 June 1898)
MacDONALD MANUFACTURING CO., Catherine Street [now Richmond Street West], west of Peter Street, large brick factory, 1899 (C.R., x, 10 May 1899, 4). This industrial complex is now known as "401 Richmond Street West"
DELANEY & PETTIT CO., Jefferson Avenue, factory, 1902 (Toronto b.p. 22, 25 March 1902)
JONES & MOORE CO., Adelaide Street West near Widmer Street, factory, 1903 (Toronto b.p. 1355, 25 June 1903)
AMERICAN CHICLE GUM CO., Dickens Street at Thackeray Street, off Logan Avenue, factory, 1905 (Toronto b.p. 927, 23 May 1905)
BRUNSWICK HOUSE HOTEL, Bloor Street West at Brunswick Avenue, 1907-08 (copy of Specifications dated November 1907, in the possession of Chris Batemen, Toronto)
ORILLIA, ONT., Tudhope Carriage Co., Colborne Street at West Street, factory, c. 1910 (NAC, MG30, B86, Vol. 16, item 8, Catalogue of the Fenestra Steel Sash Co., 45, list of works)
BROWELL HOUSE, Queen Street West at Strachan Avenue, addition to hotel for L.J. Cosgrave, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 1374, 10 Dec. 1912)
BIG NICKEL THEATRE, Toronto, c. 1914 (Const., viii, April 1915, 154, illus. & descrip.)
COOEY MACHINE CO., Howland Avenue, warehouse, 1916 (Const., ix, May 1916, 169)

J.W, SIDDALL (Residential Works in Toronto unless noted)

MARION STREET, for Edmund Harwood, 1898 (Toronto b.p. 182, 18 Jan 1898)
JAMESON AVENUE, near Leopold Street, for George J. Blackwell, 1898 (Toronto b.p. 98, 19 Oct. 1898)
BERKELEY STREET, near Carleton Street, for Albert Johnston, 1901 (Toronto b.p. 99, 8 March 1901)
ELM AVENUE, near Nanton Avenue, for John H.C. Durham, 1901 (Toronto b.p. 100, 8 March 1901)
BEDFORD ROAD, near Tranby Avenue, for William D. Lummis, 1901 (Toronto b.p. 173, 11 April 1901; C.A.B., xvii, July 1904, illus.)
CAWTHRA SQUARE, off Jarvis Street, pair of houses for Thomas Bryce, 1901 (Toronto b.p. 155, 30 July 1901)
JAMESON AVENUE, near Queen Street West, for Samuel Henderson, 1902 (Toronto b.p. 236, 21 Feb. 1902; C.A.B., xvi, Aug. 1903, illus.)
ROXBOROUGH STREET EAST, at Binscarth Road, residence for the architect, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 6 Aug. 1902, 3; C.A.B., xviii, April 1905, illus.)
MAITLAND PLACE, houses for an unidentified client, 1903 (C.A.B., xvi, Aug. 1903, illus.)
COLLINGWOOD, ONT., residence for an unidentified client, 1903 (C.A.B., xvi, Aug. 1903, illus.)
RUSHOLME ROAD, near Dewson Street, residence for Henry M. Flock, 1905 (Toronto b.p. 583, 14 April 1905; Globe & Mail [Toronto], 5 April 2019, H8, illus. & descrip.)
BOUSTEAD AVENUE, near Indian Road, residence for Henry H. Halls, of William Halls & Co., Builders & Contractors, 1906, and later occupied by Frank E. Page (Toronto b.p. 2770, 3 Jan. 1906; inf. Chris Bateman, City of Toronto)
PARK PLACE, near Indian Road, for Henry H. Halls, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 3 March 1909, 21)
BINSCARTH ROAD, for J. Edgar Davies, 1909 (Toronto b.p. 15695, 4 June 1909)
HIGH PARK GARDENS, near Indian Road, for Joseph W. Norcross, 1911 (Toronto b.p. 27711, 2 June 1911)
ROXBOROUGH STREET EAST, near Glen Road, for Alexander Mills, 1911 (Toronto b.p. 31879, 30 Nov. 1911)
INDIAN GROVE, at Indian Trail, for Thomas Keough, 1912 (Toronto b.p. 37003, 30 Aug. 1912)
BOND LAKE, ONT., for John M. Bowman, 1920 (Const., xiii, June 1920, 190, illus.)
EDGAR AVENUE, for J.E. Davies, 1922 (C.R., xxxvi, 20 Dec. 1922, 1213, illus. & descrip.)
LAKE SHORE ROAD, Mimico, a mansion for Lawrence J. McGuinness, 1929 (Toronto Daily Star, 3 May 1929, 22, descrip.; C.H.G., vii, Aug. 1930, 35, illus.)
OLD FOREST HILL ROAD, near Eglinton Avenue West, for Michael Bernard, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, 29 June 1932, 17, illus. in advert.)


C.A.B. DESIGN COMPETITION, "Design for a Suburban Cottage", 1891. While employed in the Toronto office of Knox & Elliott, Architects, Siddall prepared his own design in this competition sponsored by the journal Canadian Architect & Builder. His design, submitted under the name of "Jack Plane", was commended by the juror Thomas Fuller, the esteemed Ottawa architect, who awarded Siddall the Third Prize (C.A.B., iv, Dec. 1891, 103, descrip. and critique).
VICTORIA, B.C., Provincial Legislative Buildings, Belleville Street at Government Street, in James Bay, 1892. The Toronto firm of Siddall & Baker were one of 60 architects from the United States and Canada who submitted a design in this major competition. Their entry, under the pseudonym of "1892" was not among the five finalists who advanced to the second stage (M. Segger, The British Columbia Parliament Buildings, 1979, 83-84, list of entrants). The winner was Francis M. Rattenbury of Victoria. The presentation drawings by Siddall & Baker were later exhibited in Montreal at the annual exhibition of the Art Association of Montreal in 1894 (Gazette [Montreal], 5 Oct. 1894, 2, list of exhibitors).
MONTREAL, QUE., John A. MacDonald Statue, 1893. Siddall was one of more than a dozen architects who submitted a design for the large granite base and plinth for this memorial to the first Prime Minister of Canada (C.A.B., vi, March 1893, 41). His scheme was not premiated.