Leslie R. Fairn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Administration Building, Acadia University

Leslie Raymond Fairn (June 25, 1875 – August 13, 1971) was a Canadian architect whose career is notable for its longevity and for the range of styles it encompassed, including Beaux Arts and Modernism. Most of his work was completed in the Maritimes.


He was born in Waterville, Nova Scotia, the oldest of three children of W. H. and Laura (Lyons) Fairn. His father was a schoolteacher.[1] He was married twice, first to Bessie Maude (Tupper) Fairn (1880–1918 ) who died of Spanish Influenza[2][3] and second to Ethel Elizabeth (Hutchinson) Fairn (1900–1982).[4] He had two daughters from his first marriage and five children from his second.

He attended Acadia University and later studied architecture in Boston, later apprenticing with Edward Elliot in Halifax.[5] Beginning about 1901, he earned a living as Principal of Drawing and Manual Training at Horton College (Acadia University) in Wolfville. One of his first commissions was the Kings County Courthouse, completed in nearby Kentville in 1903, and in 1904 he moved to Aylesford where he began to practice full-time.[1] He became a charter member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) in 1907 and was made a Fellow in 1939.[6][7]:261 He was also a founder of the Nova Scotia Association of Architects (NSAA).[5]

In 1932 he moved to Wolfville where he continued to practice until his death at the age of 96. Meanwhile, around 1946 he opened an office in Halifax which was managed by his son Laird L. Fairn. This company handled large projects and was known as Leslie R. Fairn & Associates.[7]:262

His career lasted 65 years, earning him the unofficial title of dean of Nova Scotia architects.[7]:261 His style ranged from Beaux Arts to Richardsonian Romanesque to Classical Revival and Modernism.[7]:262[8]

His brother, Clifford William Fairn, also practiced architecture, partnering with Charles Hay and designing several schools in Calgary between 1911 and 1914.[7]:197

Notable projects[edit]

Nova Scotia[edit]

Henry Hicks Academic Administration Building, Dalhousie University
Henry Hicks Academic Administration Building at Dalhousie University.

New Brunswick[edit]

  • Northumberland County Courthouse (Richardsonian Romanesque, 1913)[16]
  • Highfield Street United Baptist Church, Moncton, New Brunswick (English Gothic and Greek, 1923)[17]

Prince Edward Island[edit]

  • Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown (1973, completed posthumously)[18]


  1. ^ a b History of Nova Scotia, "Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of the Old Families", Halifax, A. W. Bowen & Co., 1916
  2. ^ "Bessie Fairn, 39, Aylesford, 17 Dec. 1918, Annapolis Spectator, 26 December 1918, page 1 (Mrs. Leslie R. Fairn)" from List of Nova Scotians who died during the Influenza Pandemic, Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia
  3. ^ "The People of Western Kings 1785 to 1901" (genealogy)
  4. ^ Obituary of Ethel Elizabeth (Hutchinson) Fairn
  5. ^ a b Grant Wanzel and Karen Kallweit, Fairn, Leslie RaymondCanadian Encyclopedia
  6. ^ RAIC Fellows as of 2009 Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b c d e Maud Rosinski, Architects of Nova Scotia, Halifax: Province of Nova Scotia Publications, 1994.
  8. ^ Wayde Brown, "Modernism and Regionalism: Themes in the Work of Leslie Fairn," Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 14/1 [1989], 14-18.
  9. ^ Kings County Museum, Artefacts Canada Database
  10. ^ Courthouses of Nova Scotia
  11. ^ Canada's Historic Places, West Highlands School, Amherst Nova Scotia
  12. ^ Canada's Historic Places, Town Hall Memorial Building, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
  13. ^ Canada's Historic Places, Amherst Dominion Public Building, Amherst Nova Scotia
  14. ^ The Buildings of Dalhousie University: Henry Hicks Academic Administration Building, Dalhousie University
  15. ^ The Buildings of Dalhousie University: Killam Library, Dalhousie University
  16. ^ Canada's Historic Places, Northumberland County Courthouse, Miramichi City, New Brunswick (New Castle)
  17. ^ Canada's Historic Places, Highfield Street United Baptist Church, Moncton, New Brunswick
  18. ^ UPEI, Robertson Library

Further reading[edit]

  • Wayde Brown, "Modernism and Regionalism: Influences on the Work of Leslie Fairn". Mar. 1989 (14:1), p. 14-18.
  • Wayde Brown, "Modernism and Regionalism: Themes in the Work of Leslie Fairn," Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 14/1 [1989], 14-18.