Guy Desbarats fonds

Guy Desbarats fonds

Part of


  • Guy Desbarats (creator)
  • Guy Desbarats (archive creator)
  • Guy Desbarats (architect)


Guy Desbarats fonds

Dates of creation

1947 - 1998


  • archives

Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • 1090 drawings including 268 reprographic copies
  • 653 photographic materials
  • 3.54 l.m. of textual records
  • 2 ephemera
  • 1 book
  • 27 notebooks
  • 3 maps

Scope and Content

The earliest documents are student drawings from McGill University, and the latest is an un-published typescript memoir written by Desbarats entitled Three Views of Architecture.

The Archive documents touch on most aspects of Desbarats professional career as a teacher, critic and architect. Amongst the textual documents, of particular interest are those relating to his involvement with the Arcop partnership, and Desbarats' own manuscripts for articles and speeches on a wide range of subjects. Included in these papers is his recent memoir recounting his views on the architectural profession during his years of practice.

The major portion of the Archive consists of drawings, photographs and textual documents concerning 81 architectural projects. The majority of these projects are single-family residences for developers or individual clients, friends and his own house built in Outremont (1966-67). Many commissions from the early 1950s are represented, including schools and residences designed for Abra, Balharrie & Shore in Ottawa, and various projects produced in association with Raymond Affleck. The Archive also contains projects by Arcop (Affleck, Desbarats, Dimakopoulos, Lebensold & Sise) for which Desbarats was the partner-in-charge - the Expo 67 Theme Pavilions, the Church of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Saint-Lambert, and the Church of Saint Gerard Majella in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, which won a Massey medal for Architecture in 1964.

Reference Number



The Guy Desbarats Archive is arranged into three Series: Personal Papers; Professional Activities; and Architectural Projects.

Biographical notes


Montréal, Québec, 1925 - Sherbrooke, Québec, 2003

Guy Desbarats studied civil engineering from 1942-43 at McGill University before entering the McGill School of Architecture, graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1948. Between 1948-52 he worked for the Ottawa firm of Abra, Balharrie & Shore. After travels in Europe in 1952, Desbarats returned to Montreal the following year to open a private practice, often working in association with fellow McGill graduates Raymond Affleck and Jean Michaud. By 1955 Desbarats, Affleck and Michaud, with Fred Lebensold, Dimitri Dimakopoulos and Hazen Sise, formed Arcop (Architects in Co-operation) in Montreal. The original prestigious Arcop partnership was formerly dissolved in 1970, by which time the firm had produced numerous important projects across Canada. These included the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver (1955-58), the first phase of Place des Arts (1960) and Place Bonaventure (1964-67) In Montreal, the Fathers of Confederation Memorial Arts Centre in Charlottetown (1964), and National Arts Centre in Ottawa (1965-68).

Desbarats was appointed Dean of the University of Montreal's School of Architecture in 1964, and became a founder and first Dean of the University's Faculté de l'Aménagement in 1968. He accepted a Federal Government position - Assistant Deputy Minister of Design - at the Department of Public Works, Ottawa, in 1975, and became the Assistant Deputy Minister of Design and Construction the following year. Desbarats left the civil service in 1985 to continue a private practice as a consulting architect first in Ottawa, then in Georgeville, Quebec. Desbarats served as the president of the Jacques Viger Commission in Montreal from 1991-94.

Conditions governing access

  • Access by appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction

  • Contact the CCA for copyright information and permission to reproduce (reproductions@cca.qc.ca).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

  • Gift of Guy Desbarats in 2000. Two exceptions are ARCH188385 and ARCH188383 (part of AP109.S3.D76, Tanzania Parliament Buildings - Competition), which were donated by Alain Marcoux in June 2001 and integrated into the fonds with Guy Desbarats' permission.

Custodial history

Guy Desbarats donated this fonds to the Canadian Centre for Architecture 2000. Material from Alain Marcoux was added to the fonds in 2001 with the permission of Guy Desbarats.

Archivist's note

  • The Guy Desbarats fonds was originally processed and described by David Rose in 2000. In 2010, the original finding aid was modified, by Alexis Lenk, in order to conform to updated documentation procedures. As part of data cleanup related to AMS migration in 2022, Jillian Forsyth edited the online finding aid to ensure compliance with the most recent CCA standards.

Credit line

When citing the collection as a whole, use the citation: Guy Desbarats 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

English, French

Related units of description

  • Documents related to this fonds in the CCA Collection are in the Jean Michaud fonds (AP012), Ray T. Affleck fonds (AP088), Hazen Edward Sise fonds (AP112), and the Affleck, Desbarats, Dimakopoulos, Lebensold, Sise fonds (AP137),

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