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Toronto Architect: Frank Darling

By Edited Oct 22, 2016 0 0

On February 17th one of the greatest Toronto architect who helped to shape our fair city was born in Scarborough, Ontario. Frank Darling was born to the family of William Stewart Darling, a greatly admired rector who worked in the Church of the Holy Trinity.

Darling received his education at Upper Canada College and Trinity College School. Before Darling started his promising career as an architect, he tried and experimented other subjects and profession like bank teller or general studies. He began working as an apprentice in the architectural firm of Thomas Gundry and Henry Langley just right after his graduation. By that age, John Darling was totally confident that architecture is his true life legacy. He left Toronto and head for the Great Britain in 1869. There be begun to study architecture under of the greatest architects of that time – George Edmund Street. Later he spent some time co-working with Arthur William Blomfield. Darling returned in 1873, significantly influenced by his mentors he began to bring the newly learned architecture techniques into his works, mainly the Gothic Revival style which later created the basis upon which his all upcoming styles and functional requirements could be reconciled.

Darling started his own business right after he returned to canada in 1873. After one year of being on his own, he created a partnership with Henry McDougall. Their first contracts involved Toronto's Anglicans churches such as St. Matthias, St. Thomas and St. Luke and also the convocation hall, built in 1877 and the Trinity College chapel built in 1884. These first projects were built in bricks and designed using a method that greatly reflected his British colleagues, such as George Edmund Street.

Darling tried maintaining few partnership with various architects from Toronto, but after he created a partnership with a Port Hope native, one Samuel Currie, they achieved big success. One of the main reasons why this partnership worked out so well was the fact that Samuel Currie gave Darling more space to realize his ambitions ab. The designs for the Ontario Legislature Building were one of their first large-scale projects, unfortunately even though they won the competition, delays and corrupted agreements meant that this Toronto real estate project was given to their competitors.

Even though the did not get any commission, their outstanding design received acknowledgement in the architectural circles and gave them chance to design their best known piece – the building of the Bank of Montreal located on the corner of Front and Yonge. This buildings is the earliest and best example of Toronto's Beaux-arts style. This building which was Darling's and Currie's greatest success remained a Bank of Montreal until the early eighties, when the bank was relocated to a new location and after one decade of empty standing the building was renovated and now serves as the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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