Old Newspaper StoriesOld PhotographsWindsor

Men Who Designed Windsor – Albert McPhail

From the Windsor Star, December 13, 1961:


    Albert Harold (Bert) McPhail, 73, architect for several of Windsor’s most prominent downtown business and office buildings and a resident of this city for the past 46 years, died Tuesday at Metropolitan General Hospital following an illness of several months.

    Mr. McPhail was born in Bruce Mines, Ontario, but from the age of eight, was raised in Sault Ste. Marie, where his father, the late Alexander McPhail, was the chief engineer on the Sault Locks.

    He received his elementary and secondary education at the Sault and at the age of 14 entered and architectural office in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, where he remained until he was 19.

    At that time he became a partner in an architectural firm in Haileybury, with Stuart Moran. He remained there until 1912 when he returned to the Canadian Sault to open his own architectural office, staying there until 1915, when he moved to Windsor.

    C.H. Smith, prominent Windsor businessman, did much to encourage Mr. McPhail to come to Windsor and establish in the architectural field with Irving Walker.

    For a period in 1923 Mr. McPhail was suspended from the Ontario Architectural Association because he entered a competition for design of Assumption Street School. The competition, however, had not been approved by the association because it failed to meet standards.

    Mr. McPhail’s design won the competition and he was awarded the contract for the building design.

    He was responsible for the architecture and design of a number of Windsor’s best known downtown buildings. He designed the original Windsor Star building on Ferry Street and later designed the new building for The Star at Ferry & Pitt Sts.

    He also designed and supervised construction of the Canada Building, addition for the C.H. Smith department store, Prince Edward & Victoria Public Schools and the residence of Mrs. W. F. Herman on Riverside Dr. East.

    When his partner Mr. Walker, moved from the city, Mr. McPhail continued to maintain his own architectural office in the Canada Building.

    He was married in Sault Ste. Marie in 1912 to the former Louise Fawcett who resides at 2160 Lincoln Rd. A son Donald Burton, was killed while serving as a warrant officer pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. A daughter Helen Lousie Crawford, resides in Detroit.

    Funeral services will be at the James H. Sutton Funeral Home, 937 Ouellette Ave. at 1:30 pm Friday.


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