Dandurand, Rev. Damase

DANDURAND, Rev. Damase (1819-1921), a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Oblate Order, was reputedly 'a French architect sent to the Ottawa Valley to aid in the colonization of the area' (National Capital Commission, Lower Town Ottawa, 1854-1900, ii, 1981, 26-8). He may have contributed to the plans for several structures for the Order erected in Ottawa after 1845, and likely prepared a design for the Archbishop's Palace, St. Patrick Street, OTTAWA, ONT., 1849-50 (Ottawa: A Guide to Heritage Structures, 2000,146, illus.). In 1852 he drew plans for the Roman Catholic Church at AYLMER, QUE., a commission completed in 1854 (True Witness & Catholic Chronicle [Montreal], 8 Sept. 1854, 5). In 1857 he undertook to design St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, 'near the College in St. George's Ward', OTTAWA, ONT., a major work said to have been styled in a 'Rustico-Tuscan order' (Montreal Transcript, 13 March 1858, 4, descrip.). In 1859 Dandurand was credited with the design of the two Gothic spires erected on the west front of Notre Dame Roman Catholic Basilica, Sussex Drive at St. Patrick Street, OTTAWA, ONT., to which he added a choir loft in 1862-63 (Pilot [Montreal], 30 Oct. 1858, 2; La Minerve [Montreal], 6 Nov. 1858, 2).

In 1875 he was invited by Archbishop A.A. Tache of St. Boniface, Manitoba to serve in the parish of St. Charles, and it is possible that he may have contributed to the architectural design of several buildings in the Winnipeg area during his residency there in the late 19th C. In 1917 a biography and interview with Dandurand was published in the Winnipeg Tribune, along with a photographic portrait, age 98 years, and he was said to have been a nephew of Gordon Forbes "...the famous architect of Montreal. From him, he learned architecture" (Winnipeg Tribune, 24 March 1917, 12). Dandurand died in St. Boniface on 13 April 1921 at the age of 102 years (obituary Le Devoir [Montreal], 14 April 1921, 2; editorial Le Devoir [Montreal], 14 April 1921, 1; biog. Dictionary of Canadian Biography, xv, 2005, 250-1)