So many of the greatest architects of our time have originally hailed from Canada, but in the same way as celebrities are so often presumed American until proven otherwise, many people don’t realize the great architectural tradition that these individuals represent.
In this list we’ll be exploring the country’s most famous architects along with their notable national works.
Almost an antithesis to the Canadian stereotype of being overly polite, many of these creations emanate a sense of brashness and an unapologetic attitude that shock, turns heads and challenges perception.
Without further ado, let’s get this list going.
Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, ON) by Frank Gehry
Aside from Lloyd Wright, there isn’t another Frank that has done as much for architecture as Gehry. The starchitect originally hails from Toronto.
Habitat 67 (Montreal, QC) by Moshe Safdie
Despite having been completed about 47 years ago, the cube-like design of Habitat 67 still appears futuristic. A testament to the true genius of the Quebec architect.
Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (Vancouver, BC) by Bing Thom
Clad with awards and medals, Thom is famous for creating some of Vancouver’s most awe-inspiring architectural achievements.
Gardner Museum (Toronto, ON) by Bruce Kuwabara
Photo: Aviad2001/Wikipedia Commons
Kuwabara was awarded Architecture Canada’s Gold Medal in 2006 – cementing his place as an architectural icon of Canada. The Hamilton native’s most notable works include Bell Lightbox and the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Canadian Musuem of Civilization (Gatineau, QC) by Douglas Cardinal
Photo: Wladyslaw/Wikipedia Commons
For his contributions to Canada’s urban landscape, the renowned Aboriginal architect was awarded the Order of Canada. Cardinal’s signature style consists of sensuous smooth-flowing curves. The man isn’t one for right angles.
Maison Symphonique De Montreal (QC) by Jack Diamond
Photo: Diamond Schmitt Architects
Diamond is both an architect and a humanitarian and has served as a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Monique-Corriveau (Quebec City, QC) by Dan Hanganu
Photo: Stephane Groleau
The recipient of more than 50 architectural awards, Hanganu has designed some of the most acclaimed buildings in both Canada and around the world.
Science World (Vancouver, BC) by Bruno Freschi
Photo: Differense/Wikipedia Commons
The world renowned designer is most noted for his time as chief architect for Expo 86 in Vancouver.
The Wolf House (Toronto, ON) by Barton Myers
Completed in 1974, The Wolf House has received multiple awards for its cutting edge design including the Prix du XXe siècle in 2007 from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Barton was also the recipient of the first Toronto Arts Award for Architecture back in 1987.
House in Frogs Hollow (Grey Highlands, ON) by Williamson Chong
Photo: Bob Gundu
Williamson Chong represents the next era of iconic Canadian architects. The young design team has already picked up 15 prestigious awards including the 2014 Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League.
Update October 4th, 2016: As of July 2016, Williamson Chong has disbanded. Donald Chong now heads HDR Toronto‘s architectural design and research studio, while Betsy Williamson and Shane Williamson serve as the principals of Williamson Williamson Inc.
Of course, this list is far from being comprehensive. We just wanted to pause to appreciate this set of Canadian architects who have made such an indelible impact on skylines and landscapes around the world with their unique work.