Letters (March 01, 2009)

In Jennifer Haliburton’s book review For the Record: The First Women in Canadian Architecture (see CA, September 2008), she stated that there is “a limited availability of information” on the subject of Canadian women’s early involvement in architecture. Although this information may not be exceedingly abundant, given the few individuals and the short period of history, there is in fact a reasonable amount of information in print.

To my knowledge, the most comprehensive and informative work on the subject of women architects in Canada is Designing Women: Gender and the Architectural Profession (University of Toronto Press, 2000), a reliable scholarly work written by Annmarie Adams and Peta Tancred. The book is readable and very informative, and I think it includes all the facts that one reasonably needs to learn about the history of Canadian women in architecture. It mentions both significant women and milestones (but may be short on juicy gossip). Designing Women also includes an extensive bibliography.

Prior to this, a lengthy article on Canadian women in architecture appeared in the Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada in 1991 (reprinted in an abbreviated form in Canadian Architect in 1993). There have been other articles in the architectural press on individual women, academic theses, doctoral dissertations and regional publications on the subject, such as Construction Careers: Profiles of Five Early Women Architects in British Columbia, which was published in 1996.

Blanche Lemco van Ginkel FRAIC, (Hon.)FAIA Toronto, Ontario

Canadian Architect is to be congratulated on running an informative report by Kelly Doran entitled “Scraping for Oil” (see CA, January 2009). He should be highly commended for exposing this disaster for all to see–not just architects. Two further points should be noted. These huge operations require large amounts of water in processing, presently being taken from the Athabasca River, the source of which is Mount Athabasca and its glacier. The extraction process produces tonnes of CO2 and other contaminants that warm the atmosphere and further contribute to the melting of the Athabasca glacier. Meanwhile, the continued expansion of tar sands extraction has resulted in the further desecration of the boreal forest, acre upon acre. This forest is one of the most natural ways for CO2 emissions to be absorbed. Not only are these multinationals using processes that threaten their own source of water, but they are destroying the very means by which their deadly emissions can be eliminated or contained. It is truly sickening to see the rape and pillage of boreal forests and glaciers caused by a lack of control by federal and provincial governments. These actions are prompted by one element– greed.

K. H. Foster OAA(L), SCA Collingwood, Ontario