Colonel Sandford Fleming Smith DSO (1873 - 1943)

"Grandad Sandy" was the 6th born of 8 children. They were born from "Hazelbrae", their home, in the north end of Peterborough, Ontario. Hazelbrae later was gifted by Senator Cox to Dr. Barnardo, founder of the Bernardo homes that sheltered children from Britain who were ultimately put into service in homes and on farms. His Godfather and uncle was Sir Sandford Fleming.

Sandford Fleming Smith, married Mabel Beatrice Breymann Malloch on September 28th, 1904, in St. Andrew-s Church in Ottawa, Ontario.

He was very fond of his summer place, "Wawbeek" on an island in Stony Lake just north of Peterborough, part of the Kawartha Lake chain and the Trent Severn Waterway. He and his wife spent summers there for many decades right up until his illness. His family have continued on there to this day (as of 2014). The main cottage burned down in 1961 but was quickly rebuilt.

Sandford articled with the Toronto firm of Strickland & Symons from 1891 to 1896. He then moved to New York City and worked in the office of Frederick C. Withers, a master of the High Victoria Gothic style. Smith remained there for two years, and likely assisted Withers with one of his last commissions, the New York City Prison (1896).

After his return to Toronto, in late 1897, he formed a partnership with Charles H.A. Bond; the firm established a reputation for sumptuous private residences in the Forest Hill, Rosedale and Annex neighbourhoods of Toronto. The successful partnership ended in 1914 when Col. Smith went overseas to serve with the Canadian Army during WWI. He returned to Toronto in 1919 and accepted the invitation of Robert McGiffin to form a new partnership. Their collaboration ended in 1924; that same year Smith joined Arthur J. Everett in practise. Smith became a sole practitioner in 1926 and was active until 1937. He died in Toronto on 17th, October 1943. His, wife, passed on in 1948.

The following is taken from the obituary notice in the Peterborough Examiner:

"Oct. 18, 1943: Col. S .F. Smith, Architect, Dies in Toronto. Prominent in military circles and well known as an architect, Col. Sandford Fleming Smith, D.S.O. died yesterday at his home "Tree Tops", Riverview Dr. in his 70th year. He had been ill for more than a year.

Col. Smith was born in Peterborough and completed his training as an architect in New York and Toronto. He first joined the Queen's Own Rifles. A great lover of horses, he later accepted a commission in the Governor-General's Body Guard, which regiment he commanded at the outbreak of the First Great War. He helped to raise the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles and took this regiment to France in 1915. A year later he was transferred to the Canadian Light Horse, which he commanded until after the armistice. Col. Smith was mentioned in despatches several times and was awarded the D.S.O.

On his return to Canada he resumed command of the Governor-General's Body Guard and shortly after was given command of the 1st Mounted Brigade, retiring in 1934.

Col. Smith continued his practice as an architect in Toronto until his illness. He was a well known huntsman and an active member of the Toronto Hunt Club. He was a Rotarian and a member of Ashlar Lodge, A.F.& A.M.

Surviving are his widow, Breymann Malloch Smith, one daughter, Mrs. Beatty, wife of Capt. William L. Beatty, at present serving with the 48th Highlanders in Italy, a brother, Major Alex Smith and two sisters, Mrs. Lawrence Taylor and Mrs. Edward Burritt, both of Ottawa."

Biography and image credit: Julia Cameron, with thanks.