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What are the Scope of Jobs for Architects?

Architecture is responsible for some of the coolest and most innovative building designs on the planet. From the Pentagon in Washington DC United States to the CN tower in Toronto Canada, the people who pursue a career in architecture form the basis for these world wonders.

 

Architects work in the construction industry – well sort of – they design the building and do all the technical work involved in the creation of a sound, and secure building and the people who work in construction build what the architect designs. The designs have to be safe and functional; this is the point of having an architect around when you’re working on a building project.

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Architects are not just people who draw the idea for a building out on a piece of paper. They are responsible for handling a lot of the major aspects of building design and creation. They are expected to come up with the budget plan and stick to it. They are also required to seek the advice of other professionals in their field of work to come up with specific blueprints for the build that they are working on, these blueprints have to be extremely accurate, otherwise the building may not be safe and they will have to start over from scratch.

 

Responsibilities of an architect involved are:

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  • Discussing the objectives
  • Requirements and budget of a project
  • Consulting with other professionals about the design
  • Preparing and presenting feasibility reports and design proposals to the client
  • Advising the client on the practicality of the project
  • Producing detailed workings
  • Drawings
  • Specifications of the project at hand
  • Keeping within the financial budget and deadlines
  • Specifying the nature and quality of materials required
  • Negotiating with contractors and other professionals
  • Project managing and helping to coordinate the work of contractors
  • Regular visits to the building site to check on the progress and ensure that the project is running on time and sticking within the budget

 

The above noted, are only some of the responsibilities required of an architect. Other responsibilities include, resolving problems and issues that arise during the construction of a building and making sure that the environmental impact of the project is being managed properly.

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Many people believe that being an architect is easy work, but it involves a lot of meticulous planning and really good organization skills. Keeping everything running smoothly during the construction of say, a 32 level high-rise building, cannot possibly be an easy task. Architects do what most other people would require five to ten others to do during a project of massive proportions. When people ask something like “Would I have a Future In Architecture?”  The answer is yes, most definitely, many people rely on architects to help them with the work they need to accomplish. Without people who are well versed in architecture, building most of the modern buildings that we see in bigger cities these days, would not even be remotely possible.

Architecture is not a job that is for everybody. People who are familiar with the physics of a building and mathematics are people who could potentially be good at this kind of work.  But architects also have to have the qualities of a leader in order to keep everything with a project running smoothly. They need to be able to give direction to others, take direction from other professionals in their field of work, share ideas and incorporate other people’s suggestions into their plans for what a project should consist of. On top of that, they need to have a good knowledge of everything that their project will need to be a total, complete success. That means they need to know how to work with the strengths of a building, how to avoid the weaknesses, what kinds of materials to use and where to use them.

Long story short, if it weren’t for those who go to school to become architects, most of us in the modern world could potentially be living in lookalike boxed houses, or domes, or… I don’t even want to imagine what else – holes maybe – Who knows? One thing is for sure, architecture has shed a new light on what can be done with buildings, and how it can be done.

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The 5 Living Legends of Canadian Architecture 

The harsh climate of Canada strongly influenced the architectural trends of the country. Here is the top five list of Canada’s modern urban as well as historic buildings that could be not only huge multifunctional buildings that meet different purposes but small local modest attractions.

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The young state, which is multiethnic, the former colony of different countries for several times, it seems, could not create anything unique and recognizable in its architecture, but it is not so.  The beginning of modern urban architecture in Canada is considered to be the sixties years of the twentieth century. It was then that was created the Montréal International Exposition or just simply Expo’67. The style in which the pavilions they were created is called the Canadian modernism.

1.CN Tower

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One of the highest in the world, CN Tower (553 meters), that punctures the sky over Toronto is visible from any place of the city. Its elegant structure has something eastern and futuristic as if it is not a tower at all, but a minaret, stretched out to the sun, preparing to launch into space. The main “trick” of the tower, of course, is an observation deck. The elevator will take you on a 350-meter height in seconds. No matter where you look stretches the vast territory of the province of Ontario. Browse the Toronto city, divided into equal squares, in details, using the established on-site high-powered binoculars. And the adrenaline lovers can jump on a glass floor. After the photo session, you can visit a restaurant that slowly rotates. It makes visitors swoon with delight – especially at the end of the day – Toronto is staggeringly beautiful in the evening. A local chef is proud of the wine list, which has more than 900 items. For all these charms you will have to fork – minimum restaurant bill is $ 70 (and that if you get on a special offer). An 80 dollar steak at such a height is a common occurrence.

2.    Art Gallery of Ontario

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In the heart of Toronto stands the sparkling glass and metal four-story building, created by renowned Canadian architect-modernist Frank Gary, the author of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Walt Disney’s Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the “dancing house” in Prague and the music museum in Seattle. Huge red AGO letters at the entrance mean that you are in one of the largest art museums on the North American continent – the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was founded in 1900 and re-opened after a grand reconstruction in 2008. Now here are 2 times more halls – as many as 110, and they keep the real treasures of painting, sculpture and graphics: of all the well-known Canadian and European artists from different eras, including masterpieces by Picasso, Renoir, Gauguin, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, Tintoretto. One of the jewels of the collections – a picture of Rubens’ “Massacre of the Innocents”. The total number of exhibits exceeds 60 thousand. You can also see a huge number of works of photographic art from the end of XIX century to modern times. The gallery often hosts major exhibitions, including those aimed at maintaining a young talent.

3.    Apartment house Habitat-67

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1960-1970-ies was a period of the bold architectural experiments in the design of residential houses. This creative era gave Montreal one of the most wonderful monuments in the world – a huge 146-apartment residential complex “Habitat 67”, designed by architect Moshe Safdie for the Expo’67. He, by the way, was only 24 years old, and it was his thesis! It looks like three mountains of gray bricks with gaps – each apartment consists of a number of such cubes (one to five). Inside it is a very comfortable house. All of the apartments have views of the three sides of the world (including in the Montreal harbor – for Habitat 67 is on the shore), a lot of open terraces with trees, glazed transitions. The uniqueness of this home in its autonomy: each apartment is an independent unit with its own balcony and a garden. There are 146 apartments in the house. What does not please the local residents is the following fact: Habitat-67 is unanimously acknowledged by parkour lovers from all over the world as the most comfortable building for competition and training. There is a tennis court, a private park and bike path with the way to the waterfront. The best will be to look at Habitat in two stages – from the side of the Port of Montreal and in the immediate vicinity.

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4.    Bonsecours Market

The two-story building of Bonsecours Market may look like a mansion or a public place (the latter, incidentally, is understandable – it was built in the XIX century in a similar way like the Dublin Custom-house). But this is one of the most expensive and impractical Montreal shopping centers: selling jewelry, all kinds of trinkets made of wood and stone handmade in small shops as well as clothing, paintings, furniture, and crockery. There are also restaurants and cafes in the building. The name of the market was named after the nearby Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Bonsecours, built here in the XVIII century.

5.    McGill University

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McGill University is located at the foot of Mont Royal in the downtown of Montreal. This is a place where a variety of architectural styles of the last two centuries come together. The Victorian buildings next to the buildings of glass and concrete restrained colors and stone walls in the neighborhood with bright neon storefronts. Here the students of the prestigious University of Canada learn, live and work part time after school. The “McGill University – Canada” mark on textbooks or scientific publications is a real mark of quality. A walk around the campus is a good opportunity to learn about the life of Montreal youth.

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Unique Buildings in Ontario

Who knew Marilyn Monroe could still be found alive and well, in Canada?  Of course, I’m not talking about the actress.  I’m referring to 2012 First Place Emporis Skyscraper award-winning Absolute World Towers in Mississauga, Ontario.  Emporis is the international provider of building data, and each year sends a jury of architectural experts to evaluate over 300 skyscrapers that must meet the minimum height to be considered for the award – 100 meters tall.

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The building’s curves lent to the nickname “Marilyn Monroe” as the towers literally twist halfway up each one, but each starting the twist at a different point.  Even more interesting – no two floors of the tower in the interior are alike as each floor twists by up to 8 degrees laterally over the prior floor.  The Absolute World Towers are actually part of a five-building complex and were designed by MAD Architects, whose work can primarily be found throughout China but who have also done work in Denmark, the U.S., Italy, Taiwan and Japan; and Burka Architects, a Canadian company located in Mississauga, Ont., who have won numerous other awards for their buildings throughout Ontario, and who have designed buildings including the Tridel Tower in downtown Toronto, and the James Cooper Mansion also in Ontario.

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While these skyscrapers are extremely impressive, they are a bit of a departure from regular architectural styles found around Ontario.  The more suburban residential parts of Ontario feature a predominance of Victorian architecture.  These classic homes were built anywhere between 1840 and 1900, made from brick, stone, and timber, often using a mixture of Classical and Gothic motifs meaning they are symmetrical, balanced in their design, and have simple ornate details and often triangular shapes either on the facades or the rooves.  The Frontenac County Courthouse in Kingston, Ontario, is a great example of a Victorian-styled building, even though it is not residential.  Of course, Crysler Hall in Upper Canada Village is also an excellent example.

To go even further back than the Victorian homes that are scattered throughout Ontario, there are still many buildings done in by First Nations Architecture – or, dwellings remaining from the early days of indigenous Indian settlement in the area.  There are several longhouses and villages still standing, made of First Nation building materials such as wood and stones.  Given how those materials can break down, while there are no buildings in Ontario over 2000 years old, archeologists believe that humans lived in the area long before then, and have found evidence that early dwellers would make heavy, sturdy homes to get through the winter months, that could hold whole tribes.  They would also craft temporary, moveable structures, much like igloos made from branches and leaves, so that they could easily move around for hunting expeditions.  Today, with an emphasis in the architectural world shifting more toward “sustainable architecture” that blends in more with nature, some of these very early building ideas (if not the materials and exact designs) are being reimagined in modern structures.

These are just a few of the main architectural styles found throughout Ontario, but travelling around the area, you will also find Italianate and Italian Villa examples, which were the first digressions from the architectural traditions of the first settlers to the area and which imitated the décor and balance found in Northern Italian Villas.  These typically feature irregular and ornate rooflines and have a tall tower or campanile.  There are also a lot of Colonial-Style structures reflecting the architecture of the first North American English colonies.  Whatever your interest might be, you will be able to find some incredible structures, in a myriad of these and other styles, throughout Ontario.

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Starting a Career as an Architect

There are a number of things you need to do before you can start your career. Canada has high standards for their architects. In Canada or not realize that as an architect your job involves a combination of things. You have to be an artist, an engineer, a manager, a public speaker, etc. You have to juggle all of these things while completing projects not only to your satisfaction but also whoever bought your contract; whether that was an individual, a company, or the government. Whether you work for an architectural firm, private corporations, governments, or your self-employed when you sign off on a project it’s your reputation on the line.

Employment Requirements

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  • You need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or completed the Syllabus offered by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Programs must require a 150 semester credit hours, or the quarter-hour equivalent, in academic coursework in professional studies and electives.
  • A three year internship under a registered architect.
  • You must take a computerized registration examination.
  • Every province and territory has an association of architects that you must register with.
  • On top of that some employers may require that you have a Master’s Degree or a LEED certification. A master’s degree requires a minimum of 168 semester credit hours, or the quarter-hour 10 equivalent, thirty of those hours must be at the graduate level in academic coursework in professional studies and electives. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation toward sustainable design. Since the program is not rigidly structured not every project must meet identical requirements to qualify.

Taking Steps

  • Contact the Canadian Architectural Certification Board to find out exactly how your assessment will be handled. The assessment will take three months to complete after you’ve submitted it.
  • An appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory authority will take care of the internship and examination.
  • After finding a mentor and completing the Canadian Experience Record Book, you have to complete a number of hours of work experience to meet the licensing process requirement. If you’re moving from another country to Canada you can use your previous experience.
  • A foreigner coming into Canada can also use the Broadly Experienced Foreign Architects (BEFA) Program option to get licensed. This program to Foreign Architects (BEFA) Program to get licensed. This program was developed by the eleven Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA) as a bilingual program to streamline the process for foreign trained architects becoming certified in Canada. You can visit the Foreign Credentials Referral Office which has information and referral services for internationally trained workers.
  • High school students, or mature students who are not recent graduates, can find out the requirements of the university they want to attend since they vary between schools. Potential students can also go to community college or technical school to become an architectural technologist or technician, a draftsperson or CAD (computer assisted drafting) technician.

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Best Locations

  • The job prospects for architects are expected to grow along with the construction industry, which will lead to a demand for more workers.
  • Before deciding which Canadian city you want to settle in do research where there’s a higher demand for your area of the profession.
  • There are many specialized areas of architecture; architectural critic, a photographer, programmers, inspector, campus planner, computer presentation designer, construction inspector or manager, design/build team manager, environmental planner, landscape architect, museum curator, property assessor, real estate agent or project manager, researcher, structural engineer, technical writer, urban planner, and more.

 

Buildings to See Around Vancouver

If you’re going to go on a building seeing expedition in Vancouver, start with Gastown.  A throwback to the 19th century, Gastown still maintains cobblestone streets, an antique steam clock (although it was actually built in 1977 to cover up a steam grate…), and many buildings that still have original brick facades.  Extending from East Hastings Street to West Waterfront road, and Main Street to  Richards Street, Gastown is a charming place to take in some Colonial-era architectural styles, complete with replicas of old gas streetlights (but that’s not where the neighborhood got its name).  Today, the businesses in Gastown include coffee shops, bars, restaurants, clothing boutiques, and the occasional law firm.  So while the architecture might be Classic, the business are quite modern.

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Moreover, the architecture around Vancouver most clearly reflects how quickly the area has grown between the late-20th century and present day.  Sitting right on the Strait of Georgia, near the Coast Mountains, and having a temperate climate, has created a climate of intimacy between the inhabitants of Vancouver and the natural surroundings, and some of the buildings reflect that very well.  For example, Canada Place, which sits right on the water, nearby to Gastown, is most famous for its “five white sails” roof.  It often reminds me of the white peaks of the Denver International Airport, which were designed to mimic the nearby Rocky Mountains…but in this case the roof is meant to reflect a ship’s sails, similar to how the roof of the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California does the same.  Built in 1927, Canada Place’s original purpose was to serve the Canadian Pacific Railway and other shipping lines that traded across the Pacific Ocean, but today, it houses the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, the Vancouver World Trade Centre, and FlyOver Canada, which is a virtual flight ride simulator.  It also acts as a cruise ship terminal, and was designed by architects Zeidler Roberts Partnership with Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership and DA Architects + Planners.

Aside from the sails at Canada Place, Vancouver has come to be known as the “City of Glass” or the “See Through City” to reflect the modern-style high-rises that comprise the downtown region, which have a prevalence of exterior walls made of windows or glass facades in general.  At the same time, the reflective appearance of many of the buildings draws more attention to the natural surroundings of the city, and the city has been designed to be more sustainable and less disturbing than other architectural methods.

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Vancouver was the birth place of ‘West Coast Style” also known as “West Coast Modernism” or “West Coast Vernacular.”  The style first emerged in the 1940s and was pioneered by Arthur Erickson, Fred Hollingsworth, Ned Pratt, and artist M.C. Binning, a group that Ericksson dubbed “The Vancouver School.”  The style was influenced by open space plans found in Japanese architecture, the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the houses built in this style were usually modest in scale and in budget.  Some stylistic qualities of the style included ample overhanging rooves, large overhangs on south facades to control the summer sun while allowing for passive solar heating during winter months, large windows to allow for maximum views, exterior treatments including natural-looking wood, and minimal use of interior partitions.

As a whole, Vancouver is a wonderful place to visit, with a beautiful mixture of clean, modern style, juxtaposed by Classic-yet-modernized structures that still maintain the reminiscence of how Vancouver looked when it was established.

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Buildings around Quebec

As a stark contrast to the Classic architecture of Ontario as a whole, and the modern architecture of Vancouver, the building styles in Quebec are quite different.

Quebec was settled by French immigrants in the early 17th century who were largely from Normandy, which is reflected in the architecture throughout the area.  The houses that were built are typically one-storey, rectangular, and have an extremely tall and steep roof, sometimes ending up twice as tall as the house itself.  The reason for the steep roof was to prevent the accumulation of snow, which still comes in useful in Quebec winters.  Typically, the houses were made out of wood, but a majority of the original structures that are still standing are made of stone, and they strongly resemble the houses in Normandy.

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One of the most prevalent traditional building types of the houses of Quebec are “poles in the earth.”  This style involved the walls of a building being partially buried in the ground for support, while the floors were elevated and supported by stone pillars, or later in the 18th century, brick foundations. While this type of construction was fairly easy, the walls of these types of houses are particularly susceptible to flooding, rot, and termites.  Still, this “poles in the earth” technique was used to construct many of the buildings in Quebec, and was also used to build some structures in the southern part of the United States.  In fact, two remaining historic homes built in this style remain in the U.S. – one in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and the other in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana.  The oldest remaining house in the city is the “Bolduc House,” built in 1770 on the original site of the city.  The house was later moved, however, and enlarged in 1785.

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Aside from the unique style of the original French settler’s homes, the architecture of the churches throughout Quebec is quite remarkable, and abundant.  In 1627 King Louis XIII of France forbade any European settlers from relocating to what was then-called “New France” unless they were Roman Catholic.  This led to a multitude of churches springing up throughout the region.  Today, there are at least 122 religious buildings that have been dubbed as historic monuments by the Government of Quebec, and the city has four Roman Catholic basilicas still standing: the Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral, the Notre-Dame Basilica, St. Patrick Basilica, and the St. Joseph’s Oratory, this last structure having the largest dome of its kind aside from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

More historic Baroque-style architecture can be found in Quebec City.  Founded in 1608, Quebec City is considered one of North America’s oldest cities and the original French settlers built the buildings in the style of those they left behind in France.  The city is made up of a significant amount of secular architecture and includes adaptations for the colder climates of Quebec from the 17th-and 18th-century, with many of the remaining structures being Catholic churches.  Quebec City also happens to be the only remaining fortified city north of Mexico, with a protective wall surrounding the city.

Specific buildings to see in Quebec include the Chateau Frontenac, which was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1894, and which is known as Quebec City’s most impressive landmark.  The Chateau Frontenac sits above the Quartier Petit-Champlain, and having multiple towers and overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the Chateau offers spectacular views.  The Citadel also allows impressive views of the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding region.  Built to serve as a fortress by the British in 1832, the complex today includes a military museum, restored powder magazine, and the summer residence of Canada’s Governor General.

In all, Quebec City is a fascinating place to visit, which will transport you to the past as it still looks like an old, French city.

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Becoming an Architect in Canada

Architecture is about more than just building; it’s an art, it’s about the science and business of building. As an architect you need a flair for design, an awareness of social trends, excellent engineering skills, business sense and an understanding of law. You will be working on buildings and structures whose primary purpose is to provide shelter. Architects must design buildings that are functional, safe, and economic while integrating with its environment.  As an architect you may be a part of a firm or you may work alone and be self-employed. You could also be on salary as a government employee, real estate developers or large corporations. Clients may consist of a family, school board, a company, housing authority, building contractor, etc. You will need to have the education and experience needed to meet their needs.

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Education

  • To become an architect you need a degree from a university accredited by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board. The CACB is the only organization with the authority to assess the educational qualifications of graduates, accredit degrees in architectural programs, and certify the qualifications of foreign architects. There are eleven universities accredited by the CACB; the University of British Columbia, Carleton University, University of Calgary, Universite de Montreal, University of Manitoba, McGill University, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, Universite Laval, Ryerson University, and Dalhousie University.
  • Another option is the apprenticeship Syllabus Program offered by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). The program requires 5600 hours of work experience; it can be completed in two and a half years but will most likely take three. While in the program it’s your responsibility to maintain a continuous record of work experience in the Canadian Experience Record Book while enrolled in the IAP. All documentation needs to be certified by the employer and mentor before being approved by the provincial association.
  • In all Canadian provinces you must pass a computerized exam before you can become a licensed architect. Some provinces or territories may have extra requirements before licensing or registration can be completed. These processes are in place to ensure that high standards are maintained and to encourage members of the architectural associations to improve their skills and knowledge. All licensed architects must have liability insurance and, according to the “Architect Act”, no one can call themselves an architect without a valid license.

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Daily Work day

  • Any day is guaranteed to be demanding but each day may call for different tasks. Like meeting with clients or consultants and winning contracts, drawing up specifications and presenting those drawings at public hears, and visiting construction sites. You have to juggle all of these job aspects while working on tight deadlines and producing satisfactory work.
  • You will be writing business letters, documents for all parts of the project, developing charts and tables to come up with analyses, and prepare articles for professional journals and magazines. When you appear before a client or a public body you will be seen as an expert and be expected to meet the standards raised by those expectations.
  • Since many architects work alone so you are your own boss. That means responsibility is solely on your head. You are at the head of a project from the beginning of the project to the building’s opening. You must be a problem solver that can come up with creative solutions to anything that can come up. You will also manage contract administrations; there will be multiple to sign throughout. Once you sign that contract you are telling the client the project is has met all requirements and you’re confident in the end result.

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Snapshots of a Pioneer Era

Across Canada, adventurers are delighted to discover that the opportunity to enjoy century old architecture isn’t limited to urban centers. Many rural towns and villages are home to some surprising architecture which stands as a lasting monument to a distinctive era of development in North America. What’s more, these communities have latched on to the value of these rare properties and in some cases have secured heritage status for their vintage properties.

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A Castle on the Riverbank

When Fred Sowden sought to entice his wife Maud to leave their life of status in Millbrook, Ontario to join him and his father to build a pioneering settlement which would become Souris, Manitoba the proposal required some concessions to ensure that Mrs. Sowden would enjoy the standard of life she had enjoyed in their eastern home. The result was the construction of Squire Hall, a regal brick manor overlooking the Souris River. Sadly, Fred died a year after the home was completed and his wife departed for Winnipeg shortly thereafter.

The home was purchased by local interests and in 1967, was opened to the public as Hillcrest Museum. Close to fifty years later, the striking fortress welcomes thousands of visitors each year and is recognized as one of the community’s cornerstone visitor attractions.

Still a hub of the community

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In Rapid City, Manitoba a two storey brick school was erected in 1911 to serve the population of the town of 400.  The four room school was replaced with a modern facility after sixty years of use, but the building itself was still in great shape, so it was re-introduced to the community as a museum, housing an eclectic mix of artifacts showcasing both the history of the town and the region. While the exterior is still solid and presents as a formidable structure in the small farming town, the depreciation of the building over time has started to create problems for the museum operators with deterioration at the building’s foundation and a need to bring the century old electrical and plumbing in the building up to a modern standard.

Though the costs are prohibitive of a quick solution to the needs, a small but dedicated group of volunteers is looking to preserve the building and re-develop the space to accommodate not only the museum, but also use space within the building for art exhibits and the opportunity to host arts and culture events. In the basement of the old school, they envision a child care centre, which is currently critically needed in the community. With a focused effort, the town of Rapid City hopes to invest in another century of the grand building and to ensure that it maintains its connection to current and future residents.

A Legacy Built in Stone

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In Minnedosa, Manitoba a local stone foundry saw the opportunity for the construction of a variety of stone buildings throughout the community. Not just commercial, but also residential stone buildings were in high demand in the early 1900s. More than a dozen of those original buildings still stand and are occupied by families and merchants. The community has so strongly embraced their roots in stone construction that a self-guided tour is offered to guide visitors to each site, share its history and marvel at the craftsmanship and quality of the structures which still meet the needs of the community today.

If you want to experience the wonder of a century’s old approach to building design, we recommend that you plan to take a detour off the well-travelled road to see what architectural marvels await you in some of Canada’s lesser known farm towns. You might be surprised by what you’ll find.