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809-1042 Paisley Road

Guelph, ON, N1K 0C5


phone: 519-822-9999


J. William Birdsell


B.E.S., B. Arch., OAA, FRAIC


 J. William “Bill” Birdsell, received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Waterloo in 1984.  He went on to found J. William Birdsell, Architect in Toronto in 1987.  The practice has continued at its current location in Guelph since 1990.

Bill has designed a full range of small community based schools, churches, corporate, municipal, provincial, university and federal offices, as well as a fleet ambulance centre. From 1995-2000, Bill worked as the Corporate Architect for The Co-operators General Insurance, influencing their interior design. Here, Bill focused on making great work places, and how a creating a great workplace can make an impact on a company and give them a competitive edge.

Currently, Bill focuses his work on the adaptive re-use of structures. His efforts have resulted in famous landmark buildings in Brampton and Guelph.


·         The firm was founded in 1987 in Toronto. After working across Canada for many of the Country's leading architectural practices, Bill focused the firm on mid-sized industrial, commercial and residential projects.

·         In 1990, J. William Birdsell, Architect merged with William R. Jarrett Architects Inc. to form Jarrett + Birdsell Architects Inc. Jarett+ Birdsell Architects Inc. focused on institutional, residential, and commercial projects. Projects were located across the province, with a majority in Guelph.

·         In 1991, the firm was faced with the sudden demise of Bill Jarrett, and with difficult economic times in the industry, the firm struggled. Through the support of local engineers the firm survived on a small commission from the University of Guelph, two community church projects a school addition and several private residences until 1995 when he was chosen to lead work at The Co-operators.

·         In 1995 the firm name reverted back to J. William Birdsell, Architect. Under Bill Birdsell’s sole leadership the firm focused on adaptive renovations of commercial and institutional structures.

·         Currently, the multidisciplinary practice is a leader in the development of design and administration methods for the renovation of occupied structures. With a small staff, the practice is able to give attention to detail and deliver quality architecture.


Throughout his career, Bill has served as a mentor to other Architects. He has participated on several committees for the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities, The Pro-Demnity Insurance Company and the City of Guelph, Committee of Adjustment.

Bill is recognized by the Architectural industry with many profession awards from juries and the OAA G. Randy Roberts Service Award.

Bill also served as the Chair of the Grand Valley Society of Architects, the President of the OAA during the 2013 and 2014 terms and as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Pro-Demnity Insurance Company, 2016-2017. Currently Bill is the Treasurer and a director of the Built Environment Open Forum, publisher of The Right Angle Journal. The Right Angle is a family of media – print, online and social – dedicated to the discussion of the built environment. 


Bill is fortunate to have the support of his wife, Jan, for the past 40 years, as well as his daughter Erin Birdsell (B.A. Honours University of Windsor, M.F.A Wayne State University, Detroit), son Mark Birdsell (B.A University of Western Ontario, J.D. University of Detroit Mercy) and daughter-in-law Diana Shligold (BSc. J.D. University of Western Ontario). Bill also has two grandsons, Jake and Evan. 


Keith Penner Photgraphy
OAA Ice Sculpture


B.E.S., B. Arch.
University of Waterloo




Professional Experience

J. William Birdsell, Architect