David Jeanes' Interest in Beaux-Arts Buildings

David Jeanes is a member of the board of Heritage Ottawa with a long-standing interest in built heritage. His principal architectural interests include:

Early Years in England
David was born in London, and as a child was fascinated by the work of Sir Christopher Wren. His school was neighbour to a Wren building in Blackheath, and his father's office in Greenwich was beside Wren's Royal Naval College and Royal Observatory and Inigo Jones' Queen's House. He loved to visit and write about Wren's St. Paul's Cathedral, as well as the Natural History Museum (by Alfred Waterhouse whose style was copied in Canada's Parliamentary gothic and Chateau styles). David has visted the relatively few important 20th century Beaux-Arts buildings, in London, such as the Ritz, Selrfidges, and parts of Buckingham Palace and the British Museum..

Growing up in Ottawa
David attended Lisgar Collegiate (by William T. Thomas, E.L. Horwood, etc.), and in a small way influenced its 1960's renovation. In his youth in Ottawa, he regularly visited important heritage buildings, some now lost, including the Carnegie Library (Horwood), Capitol Theatre (Thomas Lamb), Hunter Building (Albert Ewart), YMCA, Victoria Museum (David Ewart), Union Station and Chateau Laurier (Ross & MacFarlane), the Lansdowne Park buildings, the former wartime temporary buildings, old Ottawa General Hospital (Noffke at al), Ottawa Teachers College (Tully, Strickland etc.), and the Sparks Street Mall (Balharrie) and its buildings.

University in Toronto
David studied Engineering at the University of Toronto, receiving the B.A.Sc. and M.Eng. degrees, and worked professionally there for three years in the Sandford Fleming heritage building, (Darling & Pearson, designed in Beaux-Arts style in 1907). He lived for over four years at Trinity College and was married there (Darling & Pearson, Giles Gilbert Scott, etc.), and spent much time at Hart House (Sproatt & Rolph), Toronto Public Library (Chapman & Oxley), Royal Alexandra Theatre (J. M. Lyle), and Royal Ontario Museum (Darling & Pearson, Chapman & Oxley).

Theatre Technology and Design
From 1962 to 1969 David also pursued a strong interest in theatre technology and architecture, following closely the design of the many new theatres built across Canada in the 1960's, and particularly the National Arts Centre. He attended theatre design conferences and met the NAC architects, Lebensold and Sise. He was in the audience or backstage for much of the opening festival of the NAC in 1969, when his sister danced with the National Ballet in the NAC's inaugural performance. David also had the opportunity to work with and learn from leading directors, (such as Robert Gill, William Hutt, Leon Major, Martin Hunter), budding actors, (such as R.H. Thompson, Rod Beattie, Pamela Brook and Clare Coulter), and theatre technology specialists.

Working in Ottawa
David has worked for CBC Television, National Research Council (Building Research, Montreal Road laboratories), the Federal Government (in the heritage Justice Annex and Confederation buildings and Cormier's Hull Printing Bureau), and for 27 years for Bell-Northern Research and Nortel Networks, (in International Style buildings by Rother Bland & Trudeau and later architects), He retired recently from Nortel Networks and is now President of Transport 2000, a voluntary sector public transportation advocacy group, (with offices since 1981 in three heritage buildings on Sparks Street). He joined Transport 2000 in 1976 and served on its executive for twelve years.

Ottawa's Central Union Station
For 20 years David has studied Ottawa's former Union Station, as a subject for a model railway, for its railway history from 1891 to 1966, and finally as one of the first and finest monumental Beaux-Arts buildings by Canadian architects. He has written about the station for the Ottawa Citizen, Heritage Ottawa and Ottawa Valley Associated Railroaders "Interchange" magazine. He has displayed his model at the Billings Estate Museum, the Railfair exhibition, and the Ottawa Valley HOTRAK modular railroad club. He gave talks on the station to a National Model Railroad Association regional convention and an annual Railfair banquet. At the recent "Doors Open" festival, he helped organize public tours of the building and talked about it on CBC Radio. He has recently been interviewed there for a documentary by the Discovery Channel.

The Monumental Canadian Architecture of Ross & MacFarlane/Macdonald
David has studied the little-known and mostly unpublished history of the Montreal firm that designed Union Station, headed from 1904 to 1946 by George Allen Ross. Once the largest architectural firm in Canada, it produced monumental landmarks across the country during the period when Beaux-Arts architecture flourished. Research at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the Canadian Architecture Collection in Montreal, the National Archives and National Library, the Toronto Reference Library, the Ottawa Public Library, (particularly the Ottawa Room), the Royal Institute of British Architects library in London, and on the Internet has given David a unique window on the work of this firm as well as the leading American architects and other Canadians, such as the Maxwell brothers, whose influence shows in Beaux-Arts buildings.

A Heritage Mansion and a "White City" in Wales
Another architectural heritage interest of David's is Cefn Mably mansion, once one of the finest and largest gentry houses in Wales, (a grade II with star listed building). David's grandmother was born there in its glory days and he has studied its history and architecture from the 15th century to 1994, when it was gutted by fire. He closely followed its recent restoration, corresponding and meeting with the architect, planners, and builder, and many people in Britain with special connections. He lectured in 1997 to a large audience in Wales on the history of the house and its owners. He has visited archives throughout England and Wales, including the National Library of Wales, the British Library, and the Public Record Office. He has also spoken frequently on "Welsh Genealogy" at the annual conference of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.

David's great great grandfather and two of his 3rd great grandfathers were stonemasons, in Bath, England and Cardiff, Wales. His great great grandfather, a master mason, was one of the first builders in the Cathays district of Cardiff. Cathays Park, nearby, became home to Britain's greatest example of monumental Beaux-Arts urban planning. A "White City" of Portland stone, second only to Washington DC and to the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exhibition was built there starting in1898. David has spent many many hours in and around its great classical buildings.

Associations and Contact
David is a member of the
British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, Bytown Railway Society, Heritage Ottawa, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Ottawa Railway History Circle, Ottawa Valley Associated Railroaders, Ottawa Valley HOTRAK, and Transport 2000.

David has no formal training in architecture or architectural history, except for a university course in Engineering Drawing and an interest course on Architecture given by Prof. Don Westwood at Carleton University .

David Jeanes can be reached at
687 Windermere Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K2A 2W9
tel: 613 725 9484
fax: 613 722 6751
email: david@jeanes.ca