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20 records – page 1 of 1.
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Level
Fonds
ID
Fonds 49
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Level
Fonds
Fonds
49
Material Format
multiple media
Date
1902-1949
Physical Description
ca. 1500 architectural and technical drawings
6 photographs : b&w ; 38 x 30 cm or smaller
16 cm of textual records
Admin History/Bio
Benjamin Brown (ca. 1888-1974) was the first practicing Jewish architect in Toronto. Born in what is now Lithuania, he arrived in Toronto at an early age and soon after, quit school to take a job in a garment manufacturing factory to help out his impoverished family. Not finding this career to his liking, Brown enrolled in the Ontario School of Art and Design with the intention of becoming an artist. When this profession proved financially unfeasible, Brown decided to pursue a career in architecture. After completing his high school equivalency, he enrolled in the University of Toronto architectural program, graduating in 1913. Soon after, Brown opened up a practice with fellow architect Robert McConnell, which lasted until the early 1920s. After the partnership ended, Brown set up an independent practice, which he maintained until his retirement in 1955.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents Brown’s design work and renovations of existing buildings through his original drawings, renderings, and building blueprints. The fonds consists of approximately 1500 drawings that are organized into about 150 projects. These projects include single-family residences, apartment buildings, commercial and industrial buildings, as well as synagogue and other community buildings. Many of Brown's buildings were designed in the Art Deco style, with some containing Georgian, Craftsman, Colonial Revival, Tudor and Romanesque elements.
Brown's most important commissions include the Beth Jacob Synagogue located on Henry Street, which was one the largest synagogues in Toronto, and the Balfour Building, an office tower built in the Art Deco style. The designs of Mendel Granatstein’s mansion, which contained a retractable roof for Sukkoth, and a colour sketch of the Primrose Club, which is currently the University of Toronto Faculty Club, may also be of interest to researchers. The fonds also includes some of Brown's files containing articles and illustrations from architecture and design journals of the early twentieth century, which he used as a resource to assist him with his work.
Fonds includes six photographs, one of the Balfour Building, one of Cumberland Hall, and four of Brown as a young man.
Notes
Architectural plans of a lead mine in Burnt River Ontario have been sent to the Kawartha Lakes Archives.
Name Access
Brown, Benjamin, 1890-1974
Subjects
Architecture
Creator
Brown, Benjamin, 1890-1974
Accession Number
1975
1987-9-3
1989-10-6
2004-5-109
2004-5-139
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Jewish community building plans and drawings series
Level
Series
ID
Fonds 49; Series 1
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Jewish community building plans and drawings series
Level
Series
Fonds
49
Series
1
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
[1915]-1940
Physical Description
174 architectural drawings
Scope and Content
Series consists of Benjamin Brown’s architectural plans and drawings of significant buildings designed or renovated for Toronto‘s Jewish community, including proposals that were never implemented. Contained within are renovation plans of the Beach Hebrew Institute synagogue, an ark design for the McCaul Street Synagogue, and the complete designs of the Henry Street Synagogue. The last of these projects is of particular significance, because it was the first synagogue in Toronto designed by a Jewish architect and was one of Brown‘s largest commissions. Drawings of the Primrose Club (a Jewish men’s club) and the Brunswick Talmud Torah Day School, as well as plans of Camp Yungvelt (a Jewish summer camp) are also included. Additionally, several preliminary sketches of synagogue facades are contained within.
The majority of these drawings are on tracing or drafting paper, several of which are in colour, and the remainder are either blueprints or drawn on cardboard. Floor plans, elevations, sections, foundation plans and sketches of building exterior facades and interiors are included. Additionally, there are drawings of windows, doors and synagogue arks.
Physical Condition
Several drawings and plans are in poor condition. See file level descriptions for further details.
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Level
Item
ID
Fonds 49; Series 4
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Level
Item
Fonds
49
Series
4
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
Dec.12, 1910
Physical Description
1 architectural drawings : pencil on cardboard ; 29 cm x 40 cm
Scope and Content
Item consists of a detailed elevation drawing of a public library. Benjamin Brown completed this drawing during his time as a student at the University of Toronto.
Subjects
Libraries
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Jewish community building plans and drawings series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 1; File 2
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Jewish community building plans and drawings series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
1
File
2
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
1919-1922
Physical Description
136 architectural drawings : pencil, some hand col., watercolour, on linen weave and tracing paper ; 100 x 90 cm or smaller
Admin History/Bio
The Henry Street Beth Jacob Synagogue was founded by Toronto’s Polish-Jewish Community, as the successor of an older, smaller synagogue on Elm Street. It was the first synagogue in Toronto that was designed by a Jewish architect, Benjamin Brown. Located at 23 and 23 ½ Henry Street, the synagogue was dedicated in 1922, at a cost of $156,000, and could accommodate up to eight hundred worshippers. It was built in Romanesque style and was notable for its stained glass windows and retractable roof that was used on Sukkoth. It also contained a vaulted ceiling capped by a large dome and four smaller ones. The building was eventually sold and converted into a church. It is the current site of the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church.
Scope and Content
File consists of architectural drawings of Beth Jacob Synagogue. Contained within are basement, floor, stairwell and roof plans, load plans, sections, and elevation drawings. Also included are detailing of windows, the Ark, entrances and other structures and objects.
Notes
Most of the drawings are stored in four rolls, the remainder are encased in five sheets of Melinex. Due to the fragility of these drawings, the medium, extent and sizes of them are based on the descriptions compiled by Steve Speisman. It is recommended that a conservator examine these drawings.
Name Access
Beth Jacob Synagogue (Toronto, Ont.)
Subjects
Synagogues
Repro Restriction
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Physical Condition
Some drawings are frayed and torn.
Places
Henry Street (Toronto, Ont.)
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Jewish community building plans and drawings series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 1; File 6
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Jewish community building plans and drawings series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
1
File
6
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
[ca. 1915]
Physical Description
2 architectural drawings : pencil and hand col., watercolour, 1 on cardboard backed paper ; 52 x 41 cm or smaller
Admin History/Bio
The Chevra Tehillim congregation was established in 1887 and held services at various locations until it moved to its permanent home at 69 McCaul Street in 1905. Around 1910, the congregation had the McCaul premises remodeled. The synagogue remained on McCaul Street until 1952, when it merged with Goel Tzedek to form the Beth Tzedek synagogue, currently Canada's largest. The Beth Tzedek synagogue is currently located on Bathurst Street. The McCaul Street premises was demolished in the late 1950s.
Scope and Content
File consists of two colour drawings of a proposed new Ark for the McCaul Street Synagogue. They were drawn by Benjamin Brown as a proposal for redesigning the Ark during the 1910s. According to an interview with Brown in 1973, this ark was his first commission after he opened his office at 600 Bay St.
Notes
It is possible that Item #16 is a design of the Ark for the Beach Hebrew Institute.
Subjects
Torah arks
Repro Restriction
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Residential building plans and drawings series
Level
Series
ID
Fonds 49; Series 2
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Residential building plans and drawings series
Level
Series
Fonds
49
Series
2
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
1919-[1935]
Physical Description
327 architectural and technical drawings
Scope and Content
Series consists of Benjamin Brown’s architectural drawings of personal residences that were either designed or renovated for real estate developers, landlords or the occupants themselves. The majority of the buildings were designed for a Jewish clientele, many of whom were prominent citizens, including Louis Gelber and Mendel Granatstein. Brown also created designs for his own personal residence on Castle Frank Crescent, however the home was never completed. Most of the houses he designed or renovated were located in the Annex, Forest Hill, Casa Loma or Hillcrest neighborhoods. Many were designed with elements of Georgian, Craftman, Colonial Revival and/or Tudor architectural styles. They ranged from three storey mansions to small duplexes and single story homes. The vast majority of his commissions were standard three or four bedroom two storey homes.
The majority of these drawings are on tracing or drafting paper, several of which are in colour and the remainder are either blueprints or drawn on cardboard. Plans, sketches, elevations, sections, detailing and technical drawings of the residences are included.
Subjects
Dwellings
Physical Condition
Several drawings are in poor condition. See file level descriptions for further details.
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Commercial building plans and drawings series
Level
Series
ID
Fonds 49; Series 3
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Commercial building plans and drawings series
Level
Series
Fonds
49
Series
3
Material Format
architectural drawing
graphic material
textual record
Date
1919-1949
Physical Description
ca. 1000 architectural and technical drawings
2 photographs : b&w ; 38 x 30 cm or smaller
1 cm of textual records
Scope and Content
Series consists of architectural and technical drawings of commercial buildings that Benjamin Brown either designed or altered. Most of Brown’s clients were Jewish owned businesses, several of which were run by prominent members of the community. These businesses included Imperial Optical, Gelber Brothers Woolens, the City Dye Works, Schipper Brothers Furs, and the Empire Clothing Company.
Architectural plans of apartments, warehouses, theatres, service stations, banks, restaurants, stores, office towers, a bakery and a laundry are included. Several of these buildings are now designated as Toronto heritage buildings. These include the Balfour Building, the Hermant Building (eastern tower), the Hermant Annex, the Commodore Building and the Standard Theatre. Also included are plans of the headquarters of Famous Players Canada, which later became a subsidiary of Cineplex Odeon.
The majority of the drawings are either blueprints or pencil drawings on tracing or drafting paper, several of which are also in colour. Some are on linen weave or cardboard. Plans, elevations, sections, sketches, detailing, photographs of building exteriors, building specifications, and technical drawings of the buildings are included.
Physical Condition
Several drawings are in poor condition. See file level descriptions for further details.
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Commercial building plans and drawings series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 3; File 7
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Commercial building plans and drawings series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
3
File
7
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
1919
Physical Description
6 architectural drawings : 5 pen on linen weave, 1 pencil on tracing paper ; 49 cm length or smaller and 6 cm diam.
Admin History/Bio
Mr. J. Pearlman was the owner of a drygoods store and residence at 261 Danforth Avenue in the 1910s. In the 1920s, Mr. Pearlman moved his residence and business to 525 Danforth Avenue.
Scope and Content
File contains architectural plans for alterations and additions to a three storey building for Mr. J. Pearlman at 261 Danforth Avenue. The first floor contained stores and a billiards room, and the second and third floors contained accommodations for a five bedroom dwelling. Floor plans, sections, elevation views, and a block plan are included. This project was one of Benjamin Brown's earlier commissions.
Places
Danforth Avenue (Toronto, Ont.)
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Commercial building plans and drawings series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 3; File 44
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Commercial building plans and drawings series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
3
File
44
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
1917
Physical Description
11 architectural drawings : 4 ink on linen weave, 7 pencil on tracing paper ; 64 cm length or smaller and 7 cm diam.
Admin History/Bio
Mr. Mooney Mirochnick was a Jewish druggist who owned several drugstores in Toronto at various times. Stores were located at 472 College Street, 267 Queen Street West, 162 Palmerston Avenue and 50 Arthur Street. Mr. Mirochnick died in November 1945.
Scope and Content
File consists of architectural drawings for alterations and additions to a three storey building located at 50 Arthur Street for Mr. Mooney Mirochnick. The first storey included two stores, one of which was Mr. Mirochnick's drugstore. The second and third stories each contained one large residential suite. Floor plans and elevation drawings are included.
Related Material
See File 49-3-43 for the architectural drawings of additions and alterations to the store located at 162 Palmerston Avenue.
See File 49-3-45 for drawings of the garage of the Arthur Street building.
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Commercial building plans and drawings series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 3; File 75
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Commercial building plans and drawings series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
3
File
75
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
1919-1924
Physical Description
20 architectural drawings : 7 blueprints, 13 pencil, some on tracing paper ; 45 cm length or smaller and 8 cm diam.
Admin History/Bio
The Mavety Theatre was located at 215 Mavety Street, which is near the intersection of Dundas and Keele. In 1919, Joe Nevin created plans to convert the theatre into a cinema. In 1924, Benjamin Brown was commissioned by Mr. R. Thornton to make alterations to the theatre. It is unknown if these plans were implemented. The theatre was the site of several political rallies promoting workers' rights in the 1920s.
Scope and Content
File consists of architectural drawings of alterations to the Mavety Theatre. In addition to Benjamin Brown's drawings, file also includes proposed plans to convert the theatre into a cinema drawn by architect Joe Nevin. Floor plans, sections, detailing and elevation drawings are included.
Notes
Due to the poor condition of these drawings, the description is partially based on the item level descriptions created by Steve Speisman.
Name Access
Mavety Theatre
Thornton, R.
Access Restriction
Closed. Records are closed for conservation reasons.
Physical Condition
Material is fragile and badly torn.
Related Material
See File 49-5-11 for architectural plans designed by Herbert G. Duerr of a theatre on Kingston Road.
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Residential building plans and drawings series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 2; File 25
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Residential building plans and drawings series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
2
File
25
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
1919-1920
Physical Description
56 architectural drawings : 13 pen on linen weave, 1 blueprint, 42 pencil, some on tracing paper ; 74 cm length or smaller
Admin History/Bio
Mr. Mendel Granatstein was a prominent member of one of the early Jewish families of Toronto. In 1895, he founded M. Granatstein and Sons, Ltd., a junk dealing company, and by the early 20th century, he had become one of the most prosperous Jews in Toronto. Mr. Granatstein was also a community leader, having a hand in the foundation of Beth Jacob Synagogue.
In 1919, Mr. Granatstein commissioned Benjamin Brown and Robert McConnell to design a three storey Classical Georgian style house located at 42 St. George Street. This house also contained a retractable roof used on Sukkoth. In 1947, the house was acquired by the University of Toronto and was used for a variety of purposes until it was demolished in 1999. The Bahen Centre for Information Technology now stands in its place.
Scope and Content
File contains architectural drawings of the three storey, six bedroom mansion of Mr. Mendal Granatstein at 42 St. George Street. In addition to the bedrooms, the house contained a sunroom, a study, an enclosed porch, a large living room and a large dining room. Servants' quarters were located in the attic. Floor plans, sections, elevation drawings and drawings of alterations to the porch design are also included.
Notes
Drawings are located in two rolls, one containing the linen weave drawings, which are in good condition and the other containing the remainder, which are in very poor condition. Due to the fragility of these drawings, the description is partially based on the item level descriptions of Steve Speisman.
Repro Restriction
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Physical Condition
Many drawings are torn and in poor condition.
Places
Saint George Street (Toronto, Ont.)
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Demonstration Drawings series
Level
Series
ID
Fonds 49; Series 4
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Demonstration Drawings series
Level
Series
Fonds
49
Series
4
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
1910-[1935]
Physical Description
15 architectural drawings : 1 blueprint, pencil and 10 hand col. watercolour, pastel and pencil crayon, some on cardboard, some on verso of blueprints ; 55 x 70 cm or smaller
Scope and Content
Series consists of several high quality colour sketches of a variety of buildings. These have been grouped together to display Brown’s artistic ability and were originally used for both public display or as commissions. Drawings are sketches of both commercial and residential buildings. Among the sketches are building interiors and exteriors, an entrance, a theatre stage and a bedroom. Brown's sketch of a public library when he attended the University of Toronto is also included. Two drawings have been described at the item level, one is the library Brown drew when he was a student and the other is a house interior of exceptional quality.
Notes
Both drawings with item level descriptions are encased in Melinex.
Physical Condition
The two drawings in roll 1 are in need of conservation. Both have significant tears.
6/16/2015: The two rolled drawings were sent out for conservation treatments.
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
Series
ID
Fonds 49; Series 5
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
Series
Fonds
49
Series
5
Material Format
architectural drawing
textual record
Date
1912-1947
Physical Description
28 architectural drawings
15 cm of textual records
Scope and Content
Series contains articles and illustrations from a book and several architecture and design journals that influenced Benjamin Brown‘s work, as well as plans of buildings he didn’t design, but he either subsequently altered, influenced his work or was built for one of his clients.
Included are the original plans of an office building of Doctors Solway and Pollock that Brown later altered, the plans of a Talmud Torah Hebrew School in New York City and the plans of a theatre on Kingston Road. Architectural drawings of the house of Samuel Godfrey and stores for Mr. A. Levy, both of whom hired Brown for other projects, are also included.
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 5; File 2
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
5
File
2
Material Format
textual record
Date
1914-1924
Physical Description
1 folder of textual records
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 5; File 3
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
5
File
3
Material Format
textual record
Date
1913-1931
Physical Description
1 folder of textual records
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 5; File 5
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
5
File
5
Material Format
textual record
Date
1912-1928
Physical Description
1 folder of textual records
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 5; File 7
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
5
File
7
Material Format
textual record
Date
1914-1931
Physical Description
1 folder of textual records
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
ID
Fonds 49; Series 5; File 13
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Reference materials series
Level
File
Fonds
49
Series
5
File
13
Material Format
architectural drawing
Date
1914
Physical Description
8 architectural drawings : blueprints ; 62 cm length or smaller and 7 cm diam.
Scope and Content
File consists of floor plans and an elevation.
Related Material
See File 49-1-3 for Benjamin Brown's drawing of the Brunswick Avenue Talmud Torah Hebrew School.
Places
East 85th Street (New York, N.Y.)
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Level
Item
ID
Fonds 49; Item 2
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Level
Item
Fonds
49
Item
2
Material Format
graphic material
Date
[ca.1912]
Physical Description
1 photograph : b&w ; 9 x 14 cm
Scope and Content
Photographic postcard of a young Benjamin Brown and Ben Hillman, who later became a clothing manufacturer, posing with an oar on the beach.
Repro Restriction
Copyright is in the public domain and permission for use is not required. Please credit the Ontario Jewish Archives as the source of the photograph.
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Level
Item
ID
Fonds 49; Item 3
Source
Archival Descriptions
Part Of
Benjamin Brown fonds
Level
Item
Fonds
49
Item
3
Material Format
graphic material
Date
[ca.1912]
Physical Description
1 photograph : b&w ; 9 x 14 cm
Scope and Content
Photographic postcard of a young Benjamin Brown and Ben Hillman, who later became a clothing manufacturer, in a canoe.
Subjects
Canoes and canoeing
Repro Restriction
Copyright is in the public domain and permission for use is not required. Please credit the Ontario Jewish Archives as the source of the photograph.
Source
Archival Descriptions
20 records – page 1 of 1.

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