- 1920-1955 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.85 m of textual records (7 boxes)
Name of creator
Arthur D'Orr LePan was born in Owen Sound, Ontario on August 20, 1885, the son of Frederick Nicholas LePan and his second wife, Elizabeth. He attended school locally, graduating from the Collegiate in 1903.
The following year he entered the School of Practical Science (SPS) at the University of Toronto when he proved a popular student and early demonstrated his forte in later life, organizational ability. He was president of the Dinner Committee of the SPS in his second year and of his class in his third. He also served as secretary of the Undergraduate Union in 1907-08. He received his diploma in 1907 and his B.A.Sc. in 1908.
During the academic year 1908-09 he served as business manager of The Varsity, also holding an appointment as a demonstrator in the drawing department of the School. Thus he began a career with the University that terminated only with his retirement in October of 1956. In February of 1910 he resigned his position to accept that of assistant superintendent of buildings and grounds.
That department had been created in 1907 with Dr. Graham Campbell as superintendent and a staff of one stenographer. He was in charge of purchasing and maintenance which had previously been handled by departmental heads, and his staff also did considerable work on new buildings. This, plus the rapidly increasing number of structures for which the department was responsible (up from 10 in 1907 to 16 in 1910 and 30 by 1915), necessitated an increase in staff and a division of the administrative workload. The latter was solved by the creation of the position to which LePan was the first appointee. He retained it, with leave of absence during the First World War, until 1919 when Dr. Campbell retired. LePan then took over the department, with increased duties. His office was now "given supervision over erection (of buildings) and was responsible to the Board of Governors in matters of specifications and estimates". He acquired a reputation for keeping maintenance costs to a minimum, while overseeing the administration of a rapidly expanding department which, in 1942, employed 242 people. By the time he retired 46 new buildings or major additions had been completed and 36 other buildings acquired.
Mr. LePan's interests, though, were not restricted to his job. He was an active member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, being elected vice-president in 1927 and president the next year. His abilities in the athletic field were similarly recognized in 1929 be became president of the Toronto Curling Club.
He also retained a deep interest in military affairs, which grew out of his experiences during the First World War. When the University granted him leave in 1915, he took up duties as a major in its School of Infantry. Having received training in the Grey Regiment prior to 1914, he had joined the University of Toronto Contingent of the COTC on the outbreak of hostilities. Four months after enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in November of 1915, he was appointed C/O of the School with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. When a Polish Corps was formed within the French army in 1917, LePan was given the task of arranging expanded training facilities for the Polish volunteers in Canada, some of whom had already received instruction under him. A camp was established at Niagara-on-the-Lake with LePan as its commandant. By November of 1918 some 22,000 men had been trained there, 20,000 of whom served in France. His efforts were subsequently recognised both by the French and the new Polish Government. The former awarded him the Crois de Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and the latter the insignia of Commander, Order of Polonia Restituta. The War Office in London also noted his "valuable services" to the war effort.
In 1911, Mr. LePan married Dorothy Edge from his home town and a former student at Victoria College. They had three children, Arthur, Douglas, and Elizabeth, all of whom attended the University of Toronto.
Mr. LePan died in 1976.
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Fonds consists of 2 accessions
B1979-0006: Diaries, mementos, photograph of A.D.LePan, superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at the University of Toronto from 1919 to 1956 (7 boxes).
B1980-0032: Certificate presented to Arthur D'Orr LePan, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, University of Toronto, at a dinner held in his honour in the Great Hall of Hart House on 2 February 1931, with signatures of the attendees and a copy of the menu, all mounted in a mahogany case. The certificate was designed by J. E. H. Macdonald and measures 53 cm x 35 cm. The dimensions of the case are 70 cm. x 49 cm.
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