Franklin, David Randall

FRANKLIN, David Randall (1881-1948), a talented designer of educational buildings in Ontario from 1920 to 1948. In a reversal of the typical development of an architectural career in Canada, Franklin commenced his studies in California, then moved to Toronto and then spent the latter half of his career in northern Ontario. Born in San Francisco, Calif. on 28 November 1881, he began his training as a draftsman in the office of W.N. Franklin from 1899 to 1903. He took classes in architectural design and construction at the Univ. of California (1903-04), then moved to New York City in 1906 where he continued his studies at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design from 1906 to 1909. During this period, he was employed as a draftsman in the office of Frederick J. Sterner (1862-1931), a prominent architect in New York.

By 1918 he had taken up residence in Toronto, assisting in the office of Stevens & Lee, Architects from Sept. 1918 to May 1919. His career received a significant boost when he won the competition in 1919 for the design of John Ross Robertson Public School, and for the design of nearby Glenholme Public School, both in Toronto. His elaborate drawings, and the sophistication of his entry was considered superior to other schemes submitted by Hutchison & Wood of Montreal, and by Gouinlock & King and by Langley & Howland of Toronto. Later that year he opened an office under his own name, and continued to work in Toronto until 1934 when he moved his office to Timmins in northern Ontario.

Franklin specialized in the design of educational buildings, and he was a talented exponent of the modern Georgian style for these works. All of his compositions were invariably symmetrical both in plan and in elevation, and to these he applied his wide-ranging knowledge of scholarly detail which enlivened the appearance of each building. His winning scheme for John Ross Robertson School earned praise from the editors of the journal Construction, who noted his design was “…a radical change from the type of school one usually finds, and he [Franklin] was certainly a bold architect who introduced a design of this character. Architecturally, it achieves a standard which might well be further emulated, both in Toronto and elsewhere” (Construction [Toronto], June 1921, 175).

In 1934 Franklin left Toronto and moved to Timmins, Ont. where he accepted several commissions for the Porcupine Gold Camp area, which included works in Timmins, Schumacher, Porcupine, and South Porcupine. His finest work there is undoubtedly that for the Tisdale Municipal Building (1940), a elegant but restrained 3-storey neo-Georgian landmark with an exterior facade of fluted pilasters topped with stylized urns that appear continuously around the cornice of the entire building. Franklin died in Timmins, Ontario on 25 February 1948 and was later buried at Timmins Memorial Cemetery (obituary Timmins Daily Press, 27 Feb. 1948, 3; 28 Feb. 1948, 3; obit. Daily Commercial News [Toronto], 2 March 1948; inf. Ontario Association of Architects; inf. Bernice Andrews, Timmins Public Library). A list of more than twenty buildings designed by Franklin in the Timmins area between 1936 and 1940 appeared in a self-advertisement for the architect published in the Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, p. 3.

(works in Southern Ontario)

TORONTO, ONT., Rawlinson Public School, Glenholme Avenue, 1919-20 (Const., xii, July 1919, 212, illus.; xiv, June 1921, 175-80, illus. & descrip.)
TORONTO, ONT., John Ross Robertson Public School, Glengrove Avenue, 1919-20 (Const., xii, July 1919, 212, illus.; xiv, June 1921, 175-80, illus. & descrip.)
AURORA, ONT., major addition to High School, 1922 (C.R., xxxvi, 12 April 1922, 52)
UXBRIDGE, ONT., public school, Third Avenue, 1923 (C.R., xxxvii, 18 July 1923, 50)
ST. THOMAS, ONT., Vocational & High School, Flora Street, 1924-25 (C.R., xxxviii, 5 Nov. 1924, 52)
PETROLIA, ONT., High School, 1924-25 (C.R., xxxviii, 17 Dec. 1924, 49; London Free Press, 10 Jan. 1925, 8, illus.; R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, Feb. 1927, v, illus. in advert.)
YORK TOWNSHIP [West Toronto], Fairbank Presbyterian Church, Ramsden Road at Shortt Street, 1927 (Globe [Toronto], 10 Aug. 1927, 11)
PORT COLBORNE, ONT., major addition to McKay Public School, 1928 (Const., xxi, May 1928, 176)
LEAMINGTON, ONT., public school, Selkirk Avenue, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 25 April 1928, 55, t.c.)
(with John Methven) CHATHAM, ONT., major addition to Vocational School, William Street, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 6 June 1928, 57; xliii, 25 Dec. 1929, 111, illus. in advert.)
NORTH YORK, ONT., major addition to Dufferin Public School, 1930 (C.R., xliv, 5 March 1930, 59, t.c.)
TORONTO, ONT., Silverthorn Public School, Ewart Avenue at Scott Road, major additions, 1928, 1930 (Toronto Star, 17 Oct. 1930, 37)

(works in Timmins, Ont.)

BIRCH STREET PUBLIC SCHOOL, (now Queen Elizabeth Public School), 1936 (C.R., l, 1 July 1936, 36, t.c.)
HOLLINGER TOWNSITE, west side of Waterloo Road, employee residences for the Hollinger Mining Co., 1936 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL, Fifth Avenue near Pine Street, a new Nurse's Residence, c. 1937 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
TIMMINS BOTTLING WORKS, Birch Street North, near Fourth Avenue, c. 1938 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
BIRCH STREET SOUTH, at First Avenue, residence for P.M. Bardessono, c. 1938 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
CONSUMER'S CO-OPERATIVE STORE, Fourth Avenue at Birch Street North, c. 1938 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
CONSUMER'S BAKING CO., Maple Street North at Fourth Avenue, industrial bakery, c. 1938 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
ST. MATTHEW'S ANGLICAN PRO-CATHEDRAL, Fifth Avenue at Tamarack Street, c. 1945 (Timmins Daily Press, 28 Feb. 1948, 3, list of works)
ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION MEMORIAL HALL, for Legion Branch 88, c. 1947 (Timmins Daily Press, 28 Feb. 1948, 3, list of works)

(works in South Porcupine, Ont.)

PORCUPINE GENERAL HOSPITAL, 1937 (C.R., l, 15 Sept. 1937, 145; Porcupine Advance, 14 Feb. 1938, 1; Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
BRUCE AVENUE, at Moore Avenue, residence for Charles M. Shields, c. 1938 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
BRUCE AVENUE, residence for Henry W. Miller, c. 1938 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
PUBLIC SCHOOL, Golden Avenue near Crawford Street, c. 1938 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
TISDALE TOWNSHIP MUNICIPAL BUILDING, Main Street at Bloor Avenue, 1940 (Porcupine Advance, 12 Sept. 1940, 1, descrip.; 16 Sept. 1940, 1 and 6, illus. & descrip.; 26 Sept. 1940, 3, illus.; R.A.I.C. Journal, xviii, July 1941, 4, illus. in advert.)
GOLDFIELDS HOTEL, Evans Street at Golden Avenue, c. 1946 (Timmins Daily Press, 28 Feb. 1948, 3, list of works)
HIGH SCHOOL, for Tisdale Township, 1947 (C.R., lx, Aug. 1947, 260)

(works in Schumacher, Ont.)

THIRD AVENUE, residence for Mrs. S. Todhunter, 1936 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
PEARL LAKE HOTEL, First Avenue, c. 1936; demol. (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
BREWER'S WAREHOUSE, First Avenue, c. 1936 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
CANADIAN BANK OF COMMERCE, First Avenue, c. 1936 (Porcupine Advance, 26 Sept. 1940, 3, list of works by Franklin)
HIGH SCHOOL, c. 1946 (Timmins Daily Press, 28 Feb. 1948, 3, list of works)

(works elsewhere in Northern Ontario)

NORTH BAY, ONT., theatre for Melrose Theatre Ltd., Main Street, 1941 (C.R., liv, 30 April 1941, 35)