Balfour, James

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Balfour, James

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1854-1917

History

James Balfour was born in Hamilton in 1854. His father, Peter Balfour (1819-1897), emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1842 and settled in Hamilton where he opened his own business as builder, carpenter, and joiner, and leter served as city alderman and assessment comissioner. James Balfour, at age eighteen, was sent to apprentice with the prominent Scottish architectural firm of Frank Peddie and John Kinnear in Edinburgh. After spending an additional year in New York, he returned to Hamilton in 1876 to open his own practice at the age of twenty-two. In the 1880's and 90's Balfour carried out several major comissions in Hamilton and elsewhere. These included an office building in Hamilton for the Canada Life Assurance Company (1883) Hamilton City Hall (1887-90); Detroit Institute of Fine Arts (ca. 1887), a building for which a competition was held with entries by leading American and Canadian architects the YMCA residence in Hamilton (1889); the Hamilton Boys' Home (ca.1892); the Tuckett Tobacco Factory in Hamilton (ca. 1895); and Alma Ladies' College in St. Thomas (ca. 1896).

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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