The Manitoba Provincial Architect's Office (1904-1916)

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Booth, Erin A. M.
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From the turn of the twentieth century to the onset of the First World War, Manitoba experienced extensive social, demographic, and economic changes. Additionally, the architectural profession in Canada went through a metamorphosis from a haphazard practice to a standardized profession. During this period, the Provincial Architect's Office (PAO) of the Manitoba Department of Public Works initiated and completed numerous new building projects. In the context of rapid changes, the PAO evolved to adjust. The Provincial Architects, Samuel Hooper (1904-11) and Victor Horwood (1911-15), were varyingly successful in fulfilling the demands of the Office and the directions in which the PAO was taken by the Ministers. The major building projects undertaken during Horwood's term vastly altered the role of the Provincial Architect and occasioned the demise of the PAO. Scandals associated with these projects served as a catalyst for the dissolution of the PAO in 1916 as a result of charges of mismanagement. Upon realizing the scope of the mismanagement, the Liberals, led by Tobias C. Norris, used the Office and Provincial Architect, Victor Horwood to disparage the Roblin Conservatives. By reviewing the Department of Public Works annual reports, focusing particularly on those of The Provincial Architect, I examine how the Manitoba Provincial Architect's Office changed and evolved to fit the rapidly changing world around it, as well as the changing directions of the Ministers. I analyze the design styles of the Provincial Architects to determine the messages which were conveyed to the public about the government. I then examine Reports of the various Royal Commissions convened to inquire into the major building projects to determine the roles of the Office, the Provincial Architect, and the Ministers.