Ronald Thom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ronald Thom
BornMay 15, 1923
DiedOctober 29, 1986
Toronto, Ontario
Alma materVancouver School of Art, Canada
PracticeThom Partnership
BuildingsMassey College and Trent University's riverside campus.

Ronald James Thom, OC (May 15, 1923 – October 29, 1986) was a Canadian architect. He is well known for two works: Massey College and Trent University's riverside campus.

Early years[edit]

He was born in Penticton, British Columbia, the son of James Thom and Elena Myrtle Fennel. Thom served as an aviator with the RCAF during World War II,[1] returned and graduated from the Vancouver School of Art in 1947. He never went to architecture school but apprenticed at Thompson, Berwick & Pratt, where he quickly became recognized as an unusually gifted draughtsman and designer. and also designed notable houses in the Vancouver area, several of which won Massey Awards, the country's top award for architecture. In 1957, he became a registered architect at Thompson, Berwick and Pratt and a partner shortly afterward.

Professional practice[edit]

He established R.J. Thom & Associates in Toronto in 1963 and later the Thom Partnership. He was a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. In 1980, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He battled alcoholism throughout his life and was eventually forced out of the partnership by some younger partners. He died at his office in 1986 after a bout of heavy drinking. His ashes were taken back by his family and scattered off the Pacific Ocean at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.[2]

He was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition in 2013 and 2014, "Ron Thom and the Allied Arts" featuring a collection of photographs, drawings, letters and furniture that he designed for his buildings. The exhibition was shown in British Columbia in 2013, at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto beginning in February 2014, and at the Beaverbrook Gallery, Fredericton in November 2014.[3]


Building Year Completed Architect Style Location Image
Master plan and buildings of Massey College 1963 Ronald Thom Modern architecture / Medieval Oxbridge College University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario
Fraser Residence (Fraser House) 1968 (restoration completed by Altius Architecture in 2001) Ronald Thom and Paul Merrick (Co-designer) Modern architecture 4 Old George Place (Rosedale Ravine) Toronto, Ontario
Catherine Parr Traill College Master plan and renovations of buildings; Champlain College, Lady Eaton College, the Bata Library and science complex on the Symons Campus 1969–1973 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario
Ron Thom, Trent University (CC: Dieter Janssen)
Interior steps of the Bata Library (CC: Dieter Janssen
St. Jude's Cathedral (Iqaluit) 1970 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Iqaluit (destroyed 2005)
Fleming College 1973 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Peterborough, Ontario
Pearson College of the Pacific 1977 Ronald Thom & Barry Vance Downs Modern architecture Victoria, British Columbia
College Education Centre 1982 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Nipissing University, Nipissing, Ontario
Toronto Zoo – master plan and pavilions (including African and Indo-Malaysian Pavilions) 1974 Ronald Thom with Craig & Boake and Clifford & Laurie Modern architecture Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, Toronto, Ontario
Atria North office complex (Phase I), North York 1978–80 Ronald Thom Modern architecture 2255 Sheppard Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario
New Shaw Festival Theatre 1973 Ronald Thom Modern architecture 10 Queen's Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts 1977 Ronald Thom Modern architecture 130 Navy Street, Oakville, Ontario
The Westin Prince Hotel, Toronto 1975 Ronald Thom Modern architecture 900 York Mills Road, Toronto, Ontario
Ryerson Architecture Building 1979–1981 Ronald Thom Modern architecture Toronto Metropolitan University 325 Church Street Toronto, Ontario

Honours and Awards[4][edit]


Thom was married twice, first to Christine Helen Millard (1923) in 1943[5] and survived by second wife Molly (m. 1963), daughter Emma (a veterinarian) and son Adam Thom (himself an architect).[6]


  1. ^ "Ron Thom | Ron Thom House 4 Sale". Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  2. ^ Ron Thom Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine. Ron Thom House 4 Sale. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  3. ^ Alex, Bozikovik, Show traces Thom’s resolve to create buildings both quirky and humane, Globe and Mail, February 7, 2014
  4. ^ Biographies | Canadian Architectural Archives | University of Calgary. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  5. ^ Ron Thom: Biography. (1964-06-24). Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  6. ^ Show traces Ron Thom’s resolve to create buildings both quirky and humane. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.

External links[edit]