Edgar Tumak provides thorough analysis into all aspects of the history and heritage planning of a building, landscape or heritage area. This analysis goes beyond style and extends into engineering and cultural significance, broader historical context for a building, and extensive research about the background of the creators of a structure or landscape.
Examples of this work includes developing appreciation for the significance of WWII aircraft hangars and mid-20th century community cultural icons for the National Historic Sites Directorate where he also located the country's oldest continuously operating hydro-electric facility—literally below the tower accommodating the largest number of architectural historians in Canada. Further, to the interest of owners, his tenacious research has found or corroborated the names of Canadians of note whether they were the owners, architects, engineers, builders, or associated with the building in other ways—such as a forgotten state funeral or royal marriage.
After completing his Master’s Degree from the Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, University College, University of London, England. Edgar pursued a career in the history of Canada’s architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries. He was born in Saskatoon, and has lived in Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa (where he graduated with an Honours History from Carleton University). He also lived in Vienna, Austria, where he worked for the United Nations Secretariat Information Service.
On returning to Canada from England, he was engaged to provide research assistance to the foremost survey of architecture in Canada by Harold Kalman. He later worked for Parks Canada as an architectural historian, and helped promote the value of more recent architecture as heritage structures. He also worked for the City of Ottawa as an heritage planner. For much of his career he has worked as a consultant. Clients have included various levels of government: e.g., National Historic Sites Directorate of Parks Canada, Heritage Conservation Programme of Public Works and Government Services Canada, Valued Assets of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and municipalities. He has also worked with authors, designers, and heritage organisations. He moved to the small town of Deseronto, west of Kingston, Ontario (an easy commute to Ottawa, Toronto or Montreal ), to reside in and restore an 1878-88 former Anglican church, designed by notable Canadian architect Frank Darling whose firm designed many structures for the University of Toronto, the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, and the Centre Block of Parliament in Ottawa. The opening page shows the recent repointing of the tower interior.
Edgar Tumak has served on numerous professional and volunteer bodies, such as an Executive Member of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, the City of Ottawa Heritage Committee, and Heritage Day and Doors Open events. His scholarly articles include 25 biographies of Canadian architects and planners for the international art history encyclopaedia, the Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (Leipzig: K.G. Saur Verlag GmbH & Co.).