As Macdonald Professor of Architecture, Professor Bland was a student of both Percy Nobbs and Ramsay Traquair, and later their distinguished successor. As Director of the McGill School of Architecture from 1941 - 1972, Emeritus Professor John Bland was responsible for the creation and teaching of the architectural history course,"History of Architecture in Canada." At the time that he instituted the course, he had to first justify the need for it by defending the existence of architectural forms which were distinctly "Canadian." Bland's great contribution to architectural education, as his former student, architect Guy Desbarats pointed out in a tribute to John Bland's eightieth birthday is this: "Beyond his own span of actions and span of time, [Bland] will be influential... through the generations of his students. He has sensitised them in a free and unburdened way to the relevance of history in the design of contemporary works." The use of "Building Canada" as a virtual teaching tool will maximize his legacy.
John Bland's commitment to the understanding, appreciation and preservation of Canada's architectural heritage has been demonstrated in many ways: as an educator, as founder and Honorary Curator of the Canadian Architecture Collection at McGill University, as a member of Cultural Property commissions, and as a founding member of Heritage Quebec. For his long-standing dedication to the preservation of the built heritage of Canada, he received, in 1994, the prestigious Heritage Canada Gabrielle Léger Award. Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada since 1954, John Bland has also been an active member of the National Industrial Design Council, Council of the Province of Quebec Association of Architects, the Jacques Viger Commission, and the Historical Monuments Commission of the Province of Quebec.
Professor Bland worked as a professional architect with Harold Spence-Sales, Vincent Rother, Charles Elliott Trudeau, Roy E, LeMoyne, Gordon Edwards and Anthony Shine. Urban planner as well as architect, he has been involved with his partners in the design of the towns of Deep River, Port Cartier, and Lebel-sur-Quevillon;the plans for the Habitation Jeanne Mance, Acadia University, Carleton University, the University of Windsor, the Ottawa City Hall, the Bell Northern Labs, the Expo Art Gallery, the Expo Labyrinth, and the Law Library and Pollack Concert Hall of McGill University. There are 71 projects from the John Bland Archive that consist of drawings, photographs, and reports. Other literary material, such as his publications, lectures, and unpublished papers, offer insight into the plethora of subjects that captivated Professor Bland's interest. The archive is rounded out with articles by others on John Bland and his work, as well as his personal collection of books.
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