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DAVIDSON, Beatrice Centner

Toronto, Ontario, 1909
Toronto, Ontario, 1986
Biography synopsis
Beatrice Centner Davidson received her B.Arch in 1930, the only woman among 200 men in the Faculty to graduate. Evidently talented, on graduation she was awarded the Toronto Architectural Guild Bronze Medal for extraordinary ability in architectural design. This prize traditionally resulted in employment by a certain local firm. However, lack of sufficient experience on the construction site was cited as sufficient reason to break with tradition. She was told to return in five years with proof of experience and she would be hired, on condition that she sign an agreement not to marry for a further ten years. Although Davidson’s M.Arch. degree was only granted in 1937 due to the “radical modern design” of her thesis, she actually completed her postgraduate studies from 1932-1933. Davidson’s Major thesis project was a design of a TB sanitorium, and the Minor thesis was a study of acoustics. In 1937 Beatrice Centner married Harry Davidson. Her professional experience included intermittent architectural work for P.A. Deacon, Architect, research assistant to Professor Eric Arthur for his book Toronto, No Mean City, and architectural negotiator of her husband’s land development business. Her architectural design included two houses on Courtleigh Boulevard, Toronto (one became the Davidson residence, 1942), and the design of furniture for family and friends. The home and furniture she designed were featured in the August 1949 issue of Canadian Homes & Gardens. In the 1950s the Davidson family moved into the home originally designed for Lawren Harris by Alexandra Biriukova. Davidson served as “ex-officio” member of the jury for the Toronto City Hall competition in 1959. (I Puchalski)
Media used
University of Toronto, 1926 - 1930
University of Toronto, 1932 - 1933
File & Archive locations
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
University of Toronto, ON - Archives and Records Management Services
Virginia Tech, VA - International Archive of Women in Architecture

Writings about
"Activities of Provincial Associations: Ontario Association of Architects Fortieth Meeting." Journal, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada 7.6 (June 1930): 235.
"Activities of the Institute: Announcement." Journal, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada 15.1 (Jan. 1938): 292.
"Co-eds Enter Chosen Professions." Globe (Toronto) 6 Oct. 1926.
"Girl Architect." Telegram (Toronto) 3 April 1930.
"Miss Beatrice Centner." Telegram (Toronto) 10 May 1930.
"School of Architecture Display." Globe and Mail 12 May 1938.
"[Did you know?....]" Star (Toronto) 8 Feb. 1933.
Adams, Annmarie. "Building Barriers: Images of Women in Canada's Architectural Press, 1924-73 (Journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada)." Resources for Feminist Research 23.3 (Fall 1994): 11-23.
Adams, Annmarie & Peta Tancred. 'Designing Women': Gender and the Architectural Profession. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.
Chandler, Yvonne. "A Wife Designs and Decorates Her Home." Canadian Homes & Gardens (Aug. 1949): 24-27.
Freedman, Adele. "An Intimate Portrait of the First 'Girl' Architects." Globe and Mail 20 Sept. 1986.
Grierson, Joan and the For the Record Committee, eds. For the Record: The First Women in Canadian Architecture. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2008.
Sabbath, Lawrence (interviewer). "The Private Collector: Beatrice Davidson." Canadian Art 18.3 (May/June 1961): 162-165.
Simmins, Geoffrey. Ontario Association of Architects: a Centennial History, 1889-1989. Toronto: Ontario Association of Architects, 1989.
University of Toronto. For the Record: Ontario Women Graduates in Architecture, 1920-1960. Exhibition. 1986.
Van Ginkel, Blanche Lemco. "Slowly and Surely (and Somewhat Painfully): More or Less the History of Women in Architecture in Canada." Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada Bulletin 17.1 (Mar. 1991): 5-11.
Van Ginkel, Blanche Lemco. "Slowly and Surely (But Somewhat Painfully): More or Less the History of Women in Architecture in Canada." Canadian Architect 38.11 (Nov. 1993): 15-17.
Virginia Tech. "IAWA Database Information for Beatrice Centner Davidson." International Archive of Women in Architecture Nov. 2003

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