Project Overview

Edward and William Sutherland Maxwell were one of the most prominent architectural firms practising in the 19th and 20th century. The cultural importance of the Maxwell brothers is Canada-wide. Their projects span the east coast to the west coast, particularly the ones commissioned for the Canadian Pacific Railway, a company that unified the country physically and economically. The Maxwell Archive, at the Canadian Architecture Collection, McGill University, is the primary repository of their life work consisting of more than 16,000 drawings, 700 photographs, and professional and personal papers. In 1983, the Canadian Architecture Collection was the recipient of two SSHRC research grants to catalogue the extensive holdings of the Maxwell Archive. The result of this grant was the publication in 1986 of Edward and W.S. Maxwell: Guide to the Archive. Later in 1991, The Libraries of Edward and W.S. Maxwell was published after the family of the late Stirling Maxwell, Henry Yates, and Mary Maxwell Rabbani contributed further to make the libraries more complete. That same year, the catalogue of a travelling exhibition held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from Dec. 13, 1991 to Mar. 22, 1992 entitled The Architecture of Edward & W.S. Maxwell was printed. This was the concept and achievement of The Maxwell Project, a non-profit federally registered organization, to further the study and dissemination of the work of the Maxwell brothers. This eleven-member Board of Directors began meeting informally in a Maxwell-designed house beginning in 1983. As the Publications portion of this website attests, many other books were and are continuing to be printed about the work of Edward and William Sutherland Maxwell. Although being a product of the 19th and 20th century, the architecture of the Maxwell brothers has never been more relevant than today, given the ever-increasing interest in preserving our heritage in the built environment.

Maxwell Online:
Since 1995, the Canadian Architecture Collection has undertaken an ambitious digitization program, which has garnered awards and support from a number of federal agencies. The results can be viewed on Among the collections with access on the website is now The Architecture of E. & W.S. Maxwell: The Canadian Legacy. Given the exceptional richness and scope of research material in the Maxwell Archive, the website provides an ideal platform for global dissemination of the Maxwells' oeuvre.