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Frederick William Cumberland

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Frederick William Cumberland
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Algoma
In office
Preceded byWemyss Mackenzie Simpson
Succeeded byJohn Beverley Robinson
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for Algoma
In office
September 3, 1867 – December 23, 1874
Succeeded bySimon James Dawson
Personal details
Born(1821-04-10)10 April 1821
London, England
Died5 August 1881(1881-08-05) (aged 60)
Toronto, Ontario
Political partyConservative
Other political
Conservative Party of Ontario
Professioncivil engineer, architect

Frederick William Cumberland (10 April 1821 – 5 August 1881) was a Canadian engineer, architect and politician. He represented the riding of Algoma in the 1st and 2nd Ontario Parliaments, and he served in the House of Commons of Canada from 1871 to 1872.

Life and career


Cumberland was born in London, England, and grew up in Rathmines, Dublin, where his father was employed at Dublin Castle.[1] His mother died there. The family returned to London in the mid-1830s, where he studied at King's College School and apprenticed as a civil engineer. Starting in 1843, he was employed with the engineering department of the British Admiralty, working on the construction of dry docks and fortifications.

Pendarvis at 33 St. George Street in Toronto was Cumberland's home (now owned by University of Toronto)

In 1845, Cumberland married Wilmot Mary Bramley, whose sisters had married prominent men in the city of Toronto, and he came to that city with his wife in 1847. He worked there as a surveyor and as an engineer for the united counties of York and Peel.[citation needed]

In partnership with architect Thomas Ridout, he designed the Cathedral Church of St. James and School, the York County Court House, and a post office. Later, with William George Storm, Cumberland designed other important public buildings in Toronto.[citation needed]

At the University of Toronto, he designed University College, the Provincial Magnetic Observatory (1853–55) and the Director's Residence (1858; demolished in 1901), as well as major additions and reconstruction of the Centre Block (1856–59) of the Osgoode Hall law courts.[2]

Cumberland designed residences for prominent people living in Toronto. He also designed the Queen Street Wesleyan Chapel (1856), which was demolished c. 1980. He built several public buildings in Hamilton.[3]

During the 1850s, Cumberland became involved in railway management at the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railroad Union Company (later the Northern Railway Company), as well as other railway and related companies of the time. From 1868, Cumberland served as a director of the Rama Timber Transport Company. As was common at the time, he used railway money to gain the support of Members of Parliament and to help elect candidates favourable to their cause. After Cumberland's death, the Northern Railway Company was absorbed by the Grand Trunk Railway. He was also director of a number of banks and a member of the Toronto Board of Education.

Cumberland helped establish a new battalion in the local militia during the 1860s. He was a member of the senate of the University of Toronto. He was also a freemason, becoming deputy grand master for the Toronto district. He died in Toronto in 1881.

Notable works

Building Year Completed Builder Style Source Location Image
Toronto Normal School 1852 Frederick Cumberland and Thomas Ridout (Design) Gothic Revival architecture Romanesque 3 St James Square, bounded by Gerrard, Church, Younge and Gould, Toronto, Ontario
Consumers' Gas Building 1852 Frederick Cumberland and Thomas Ridout (Design) Neo-Renaissance Revival 3 Toronto Street, Toronto, Ontario
Adelaide Street Court House 1852 Frederick Cumberland and Thomas Ridout (Design) Greek Revival architecture 3 57 Adelaide Street East, Toronto, Ontario
Toronto Street Post Office 1853 Frederick Cumberland and Thomas Ridout (Design) Greek Revival architecture 2, 3 10 Toronto Street, Toronto, Ontario
Cathedral Church of St. James 1853 Frederick Cumberland and Thomas Ridout (Design) Gothic Revival architecture King and Church Streets, Toronto, Ontario Cathedral Church of St. James
Louis B. Stewart Observatory/Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory 1853–1857 Frederick William Cumberland and William George Storm Gothic Revival architecture W, 15 12 Hart House Circle – University of Toronto, Kings College Circle, Toronto, Ontario
Former Upper Canada College campus (1854); additions to Resident School House, 1856; new Porter's Lodge, Bursar's Office, gates, fences and outbuildings (1857) [4] 1854-7 Frederick William Cumberland and William George Storm Gothic Revival architecture King and Simcoe Streets in downtown Toronto
University College, University of Toronto 1856–1859 Frederick William Cumberland and William George Storm; David Dick (1892) Norman Romanesque 15 15 King's College Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
University College, University of Toronto, Croft House 1859 Frederick William Cumberland (Design) William George Storm Norman Romanesque 2 Kings College Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
Chapel of St. James-the-Less, St. James Cemetery (Toronto) 1860 Frederick William Cumberland and William George Storm (Design) Romanesque 2 Parliament Street, Toronto, Ontario

Electoral history

1867 Ontario general election: Algoma
Party Candidate Votes %
Conservative Frederick William Cumberland 351 67.89
Liberal Mr. Palmer 127 24.56
Independent Mr. Duncan 39 7.54
Total valid votes 517 60.19
Eligible voters 859
Conservative pickup new district.
Source: Elections Ontario[5]
1871 Ontario general election: Algoma
Party Candidate Votes
Conservative Frederick William Cumberland Acclaimed
Source: Elections Ontario[6]

See also



  1. ^ Simmins, Geoffrey (1997). Fred Cumberland: Building the Victorian Dream. University of Toronto Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-8020-0679-0.
  2. ^ Frederick William Cumberland
  3. ^ Archived 2012-03-20 at the Wayback Machine Ontario Heritage Trust Frederic W. Cumberland 1820–1881
  4. ^ Frederic William Cumberland (architect)
  5. ^ "Data Explorer". Elections Ontario. 1867. Retrieved 15 March 2024.
  6. ^ "Data Explorer". Elections Ontario. 1871. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
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Frederick William Cumberland
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