Fonds 49 - Benjamin Brown fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Benjamin Brown fonds

General material designation

  • Architectural drawing
  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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Reference code

ON00210 49

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1902-1949, predominant 1920-1935 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

ca. 1500 architectural and technical drawings. -- 6 photographs : b&w ; 38 x 30 cm or smaller. -- 16 cm of textual records

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Archival description area

Custodial history

Scope and content

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, the Balfour Building, an office tower built in the Art Deco style, and the Standard Theatre, the first purpose-built Yiddish theatre in Canada. 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 also includes six photographs, one of the Balfour Building, one of Cumberland Hall, and four of Brown as a young man.

Notes area

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Restrictions on access

A number of the plans are in very brittle conditions and are unavailable to researchers. Please consult directly with the OJA for more information.

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Finding aids

The records have been described to the file level in the OJA's descriptive database.

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