James Balfour (architect)

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James Balfour
Born 1854
Hamilton, Ontario
Died 1917
Hamilton, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Architect
Practice Hamilton, Ontario

James Balfour (1854–1917) was a Canadian architect.

Son of Peter Balfour, Hamilton alderman and carpenter. Educated in Hamilton. Studied architecture with the famous firm of Peddie and Kniver in Edinburgh, Scotland. Before returning to Hamilton he worked in New York City for several years. First professional mention of Balfour in Hamilton is in the 1876-7 city directory. The house still standing at 250 James Street South was one of his early designs. His larger buildings were of the Romanesque style, revived around 1870 by Henry Hobson Richardson of the United States.

Tuckett Mansion, on corner of King & Queen, now forms a portion of the complex known as the Scottish Rite. Completed in 1896 for George Elias Tuckett, founder of Tuckett Tobacco and the 27th mayor of Hamilton, City Hall on corner of James & York Boulevard (1888, demolished), both in Hamilton, Ontario.[1]

Alma College (St. Thomas, Ontario) (1878-81) and the additions (1888-89)

Balfour was also successful outside of Hamilton. In 1878-1882 designed and oversaw construction of an all-girl school, Alma College (St. Thomas, Ontario) (1878–81) and the additions (1888–89), which were destroyed by a fire on May 28, 2008.[2]

In March 1887 he won the design competition for the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts.


The Balfour neighbourhood on the Hamilton Mountain was named after him. It is bounded by Fennell Avenue East (north), Mohawk Road East (south), Upper James Street (west) and Upper Wellington Street (east). Notable landmarks in this neighbourhood include the Mountain Plaze Mall and Norwood Park.

This information is completely false. The Balfour neighbourhood is not named after James Balfour the Architect, but another unrelated Balfour, a well-to-do 19th century Hamilton merchant who build a large home on the mountain brow.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Bailey, Thomas Melville (1981). Dictionary of Hamilton Biography (Vol I, 1791-1875). W.L. Griffin Ltd. 
  2. ^ http://dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/architects/view/1022

2. Jean Rosenfeld. James Balfour a Victorian architect from Hamilton, Canada. Thesis(M.A.)--York University, 1991. ISBN 0-315-65742-1, ISBN 978-0-315-65742-7 OCLC 28016498

3. Heritage Matters. Ontario Heritage Foundation. Volume 6 Issue 3 2008 [1]