Raymond Moriyama

As part of an Archives of Ontario display, this video features an interview with Japanese-Canadian Raymond Moriyama, who describes his inspirations for becoming an architect, and the philosophies and values that inspire his firm’s projects (courtesy Archives of Ontario).

Internationally acclaimed architect and planner Raymond Moriyama is a highly respected Canadian, noted for his volunteerism and philanthropy. Moriyama was educated at the University of Toronto and McGill and began to practise architecture in Toronto in 1958; in 1970, he and partner Ted Teshima formed the firm of Moriyama & Teshima.

Moriyama’s projects are innovative and functional spaces that include the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library, the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Sudbury's Science North, Ottawa’s City Hall, the Ontario Science Centre, and the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. The scope of his work ranges from the Japanese ceremonial Goh Ohn Bell at Ontario Place, to environmentally sensitive planning for the Niagara Falls 100-Year Vision, to the vast plan for Saskatchewan's Meewasin Valley.

During the Second World War, Moriyama and his family were interned as “enemy aliens” because of their Japanese ancestry. Sixty years later, he completed the Canadian War Museum, a building devoted to exploring themes of memory and regeneration. The project is richly symbolic for both the history it commemorates and the heritage of the architect who designed it. The museum opened in 2005; Moriyama’s book In Search of a Soul (2006) describes the project and its underlying meanings. He dedicated the building to his father, saying, "In my naive way I think [the Museum] is part of that golden nail," referring to a note from his father at his graduation that read "Into God's temple of eternity drive a nail of gold."

Raymond Moriyama’s Awards

In 2001, Moriyama became the first architect in Canada to become Chancellor of Brock University. He has received many awards, including the 2010 Sakura Award from the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto, for the building that his firm designed in 1958 and for his life-long contributions to Japanese culture in Canada and abroad. He has been awarded the Order of Ontario, the Order of Canada and the Order of the Rising Sun (Japan). He has won Governor General's Awards for Architecture and has been granted honorary degrees from 10 universities.

Moriyama has said, for him, "architecture is a relentless, investigative process that must be concerned with human, ecological, technical, economic, and aesthetic issues," and his work embodies that principle.

Learn more: Raymond Moriyama in The Canadian Encyclopedia
Moriyama & Teshima Architects