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BURT, Joan

Toronto, Ontario, 1930
Biography synopsis
Joan Burt was the only woman to graduate from the University of Toronto’s architecture school in 1956, and the twenty-first woman to complete that program (since the first, Esther Marjorie Hill, in 1920). As a student Burt was influenced by a trip to Yugoslavia to study housing, and became convinced of its importance. Armed with experience and skills acquired while working at Mathers and Haldenby, Architects, Toronto (1956-1958) and with developer Irwin Burns of Burcon Construction (1958-1959), she established Joan Burt, Architect (1958- ) and created her own opportunities. In addition to new homes such as the Luella Booth Residence (c.1961) Toronto, Daymond House (1991) Guelph, O'Reilly Residence (1999) Etobicoke, Burt has been a pioneer of historic 19th century row house renovation in downtown Toronto since the 1960s. Her specialty of repurposing old buildings was instrumental in the movement to preserve the architectural heritage and enhance and revitalize urban Toronto neighbourhoods. Focusing on rows of identical housing which create a street presence, her projects have included Clarence Terrace (1964), Belmont Terrace (1965), Alpha Avenue (1967) which resulted in the preservation of the Cabbagetown neighbourhood, Berkely Street (1969) which received a Beautify Toronto Award, King Street East and Wilkins Avenue (1976). Concurrent with Burt’s architectural practice, she was a part-time teacher of environmental design at the Ontario College of Art (1965-1970) and then served as Chairman of the Department of Design (1970-1985). In 2008 the first Joan Burt Architect Award (funded by a charitable foundation) was given to a fourth year Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCAD University) environmental design student. (I Puchalski)
Media used
University of Toronto, 1951 - 1956 (under Eric Arthur)
Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), 1958
Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals
File & Archive locations
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
University of Toronto, ON - Archives and Records Management Services

Writings about
"New Order Emerging Architect Believes." Toronto Star 4 Nov. 1974: D1.
"Women's Work." Perspectives: the Journal of the Ontario Association of Architects 2.2 (Spring 1994): 6-11.
Adams, Annmarie & Peta Tancred. 'Designing Women': Gender and the Architectural Profession. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.
Andrew, Bernadette. "Rundown Old Row Houses Get Bright New Future." Toronto Star 4 Nov. 1974: D1.
Baute, Nicole. "Old Buildings Given New Life." Toronto Star 17 Feb. 2009: GT3.
Ferrara, Luigi. "Ontario Places." Perspectives: the Journal of the Ontario Association of Architects 2.2 (Spring 1994): 20.
Fraser, John. "Joan Burt Transforms the Bleak into the Quaint." Toronto Telegram 6 Feb. 1971: section 4: 37.
Fusco, Maria. "Woman Architect Finds No Prejudice." Globe & Mail 5 Aug. 1961: 11.
Grierson, Joan and the For the Record Committee, eds. For the Record: The First Women in Canadian Architecture. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2008.
Jukes, Mary. "An Architect Discovers Alpha Avenue." Globe & Mail 11 Jan. 1967: 9.
McHugh, Patricia. Toronto Architecture: a City Guide Toronto: Mercury Books, 1985.
McHugh, Patricia. Toronto Architecture: a City Guide Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1989.
O'Keefe, John. "Luella Booth's Adventure in Inner Space." Canadian Homes 39.3 (March 1962): 24-25.
Ontario College of Art. 100 Years: Evolution of the Ontario College of Art Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario College of Art, 1976.
Ontario College of Art. Staff Biographies, 1971-1972 Toronto: Ontario College of Art, 1971.
Rex, Kathleen. "Woman Architects vs the Hard Hats." Globe & Mail 9 Aug. 1973: W1.
Scott, Alec. "Joan of Architecture." University of Toronto Magazine 35.4 (Summer 2008): 34-38.
Simmins, Geoffrey. "Joan Burt: Feisty Toronto Architect has to Carve Her Own Niche." City & Country Home 1.2 (Winter 1982/1983): 146-154.
University of Toronto. For the Record: Ontario Women Graduates in Architecture, 1920-1960. Exhibition. 1986.
Usher, Edna. "These are the Houses That Joan Builds." Telegram (Toronto) 30 Oct. 1959: 32.

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