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Hutchison, Alexander Cowper, 1838-1922
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Born in 1838 in Montreal, Hutchison is one of Montreal’s most prestigious and prolific Victorian architects. He apprenticed with his father, an entrepreneur and builder. At age 12 he learned his father’s trade as a stonemason and later took courses at the Mechanic's Institute. He achieved recognition for carrying out some of the finest carved stonework at the Christ Church Cathedral construction site in Montreal and the East Block of the Parliament of Ottawa.
In1865 Hutchison began to practice the profession of architect and in 1876 founded the architectural firm Hutchison and Steele with Alexander Danton Steele. In 1898, Hutchison joined forces with his son, William Burnet, and son-in-law, George Winks Wood, to form the Hutchison and Wood office. From 1909 to 1919, with the arrival of a new partner, the agency took the name of Hutchison, Wood and Miller. In 1883 Hutchison designed the ice palaces for the Montreal Winter Carnival. Three years later when Montreal canceled its carnival because of a smallpox epidemic, the city of Saint-Paul in Minnesota hired him to design its first ice palace. From then on, he acquired an international reputation as a designer of ice buildings.
Hutchison’s accomplishments include the Redpath Museum (1880-1882); Row houses on Summerhill Avenue, Montreal (1893-1894); Erskine and American Church (1894); Stanley Presbyterian Church, Westmount, (1913) in collaboration with Wood and Miller; and Victoria Hall Westmount (1924) in collaboration with Wood and completed after his death.
In addition to his architectural achievements, Alexander Cowper Hutchison was a founding member and president of the Ordre des architects du Québec, a founding member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts from 1885 to 1907 and responsible for the creation of the McGill University School of Architecture. He died in Montreal in 1922.