Gardiner & Thornton architects fonds

Gardiner & Thornton architects fonds

Part of


  • Gardiner and Thornton (archive creator)
  • Gardiner and Thornton (architectural firm)
  • Frank G. Gardiner (architect)
  • Peter Muschamp Thornton (architect)


Gardiner & Thornton architects fonds

Dates of creation



  • archives

Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • Approximately 3925 drawings (including reprographic copies)
  • Approximately 908 photographic materials
  • Approximately 3.06 l.m. of textual records

Scope and Content

The Gardiner & Thornton architects fonds, 1924-1987, documents the built projects of Vancouver-based firm, Gardiner & Thornton, architects. The 300 projects that are represented in this fonds are divided, specifically, by the works of Gardiner & Thornton, architects (1940-1945); Gardiner Thornton & Partners, architects (1945-1954); Gardiner Thornton Gathé & Associates, architects (1954-1966); Gardiner Thornton Gathé Davidson Garrett Masson & Associates, architects (1966-1974); and Gardiner Thornton Partnership, architects and planners (1974-1989). The fonds includes independent works designed by Peter Thornton and several built projects realized by Gardiner & Mercer, architects (1924-1940). These built projects vary in scope and size and include residences, hotels, offices, stores, warehouses, hospitals, schools, community centres, convents, and churches.

The fonds holds a selection of architectural drawings, consisting of sketches, schematics, and preliminary designs as well as shop, study, presentation, design development and working drawings. Textual documentation primarily consists of correspondence and specifications. Notes, cost calculations, receipts, job check lists, progress reports typescripts, standard forms, press releases, press clippings, and brochures of the firm are also included in this fonds. Photographic materials comprise of portraits of Peter Thornton and the office staff as well as photographs of architectural models, details and construction sites. Various photographs provide interior, exterior and aerial views of completed buildings.

Reference Number



This fonds has not yet been arranged.

Administrative history

Gardiner & Thornton, architects is a Vancouver-based architecture firm that was founded in 1940 by architects, Frank George Gardiner (1878-1966) and Peter Muschamp Thornton (1916-1996).

Born in Bristol, England, Frank Gardiner moved to Canada in 1909. In 1911, Gardiner established a private architecture practice in New Westminster, British Columbia. From 1924-1940, he worked in partnership with architects Andrew Mercer and William F. Gardiner, before establishing the office of Gardiner & Thornton, architects.

Peter Thornton was born in Edmonton, Alberta; from 1933-1938, Thornton studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, England. In 1939, he moved to Vancouver, British Columbia where he briefly worked for architect C.B.K. Van Norman, before partnering with Gardiner in the spring of 1940. From 1941-1945, Thornton served in the Royal Canadian Navy. Following his return from service, Thornton joined the practice once again as a chief design architect; the firm was renamed Gardiner Thornton & Partners, architects (1945-1954).

Subsequently, the practice underwent several title and partnership changes. In 1954, Asbjorn Gathé was made a partner of Gardiner Thornton Gathé & Associates, architects. From 1966-1974, the firm operated as Gardiner Thornton Davidson Garrett Masson and Associates, architects, which included principals Ian J. Davidson, Brian C. Masson and R. Michael Garrett. In 1974, the practice was renamed Gardiner, Thornton Partnership, Architects and Planners. In 1989, the firm merged with two younger firms, Poon Gardner Architects and Robert Billington Architect, and re-established as Poon Gardner Garrett Architects & Planners.

Gardiner & Thornton, architects have received several awards throughout the years – two Massey Medals (1955; 1958) for the Medical/Architectural Office building in Vancouver and the St. Anthony’s Church in Agassiz, a Federal Award for Excellence (1965) for the Indian Residential School in Mission, two Canadian Housing Design Council Centennial Awards (1967) for the Housing in Point Grey and the Alpine Village # 1 in Whistler Mountain, and a Federal Department of Trade & Industry Award of Merit (1972) for the Crestwood Dental Building in Richmond.

Other well-known British Columbia projects completed by Gardiner & Thornton include the Gardiner and Thornton Office I (1948), the Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church (1949), the Eddie Larsen House (1949), the Lord Byng High School addition (1949-50), Princess Margaret Secondary School (1950), the Burnaby General Hospital (1951), Westminster Abbey (1952), the Gardiner Thornton Gathé and Associates Office (1955) and the University of British Columbia’s St. Mark's College (1958). The firm’s successful design and construction of a Roman Catholic Church (1954) in Calgary, Alberta allowed for the firm to branch out of British Columbia, subsequently leading to commissions in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the Yukon. Gardiner & Thornton, architects have also completed commissions in the United States, Mexico, England, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and New Zealand.

Conditions governing access

  • Access by appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction

  • For copyright information or permission to reproduce material from the fonds, please contact the CCA (reproductions@cca.qc.ca).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

  • Gift of Poon Gardner Garrett Architects & Planners and Michael Garrett 1997, 2000 Gift of Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd., 2006

Custodial history

The Gardiner & Thornton architects fonds was donated to the Canadian Centre for Architecture on September 8, 1997 and October 23, 2000 by Michael R. Garrett and Milton U. Gardner. A subsequent addition was made on March 10, 2006 by Michael R. Garrett and Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd.

Archivist's note

  • This fonds has not yet been arranged. A fonds level description was created by Patricia Di Palma on February 9, 2017.


Vancouver British Columbia Canada

Credit line

When citing the collection as a whole, use the following citation:
Gardiner & Thornton architectes fonds
Collection Centre Canadien d'Architecture/
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal
When citing specific collection material, please refer to the object’s specific credit line.

Language of material



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