Philip Coles Palin (1871-1957) was born in Collingwood 29 July 1871, the son of Richard Palin, a civil engineer who had emigrated to Canada from Chester, England. As a boy, he attended the schools in Collingwood and in 1889 he moved to Toronto, where he worked as a draftsman and is believed he done his articling. After a short stint up north in the area of Kenora, he moved back to Toronto, and finally returned home to Collingwood around 1900.
With some ten years of experience under his belt, Philip Palin opened his own business and successfully served as architect for many businessmen and town residents. In 1900 he designed a major addition for the Collingwood Meat Company, a home on Ste. Marie Street for Mr. T.N. Brown, and the home at Minnesota and Huron streets for William Bryan, President of the Bryan Manufacturing Company. He also drew the plans for a home for Michael Byrnes, nephew of business tycoon Thomas Long on the property next to the Public Library on Second St., as well as a residence and office for Dr. Arthur on Hurontario Street.
One of his better known homes “Thurso House” with its pink stone façade from the Credit Valley. It sits on the N.E. corner of Pine and Third streets and was built for Dr. Donald McKay as a wedding present for his wife. It is known that he was the architect of at least another twelve residences in town, including one for W.B. Hamilton, Mr. McLean (a well-known jeweler), one for the President of the Bank of Montreal and a home for himself on Niagara Street. He was asked to design an addition for the General and Marine Hospital, a Sunday school addition for the Presbyterian Church, a Parish Hall for All Saint’s Anglican Church, drew up plans for a new Fire Hall on Hurontario Street and for the Imperial Steel and Wire Company just to the west of town. He is also known to have designed buildings in Toronto, Barrie, Creemore and Parry Sound.
However, his most celebrated work was the Federal Building on Hurontario Street, a commission he received from the Government of Canada, on the recommendation of Lt. Col., John A. Currie, M.P. for North Simcoe. “I would like to have the privilege of nominating a local architect for this building. There is a very clever young man in our town who has done good work, and I would like to have him show you what he can do.” The building still stands proud today as his signature architectural achievement.
His own home named “Burcotte” was located next door to the beautiful residence he designed for Godfrey McLean “Kentraw” at 26 Niagara Street. He also designed the agricultural building in the ‘Town Park’ (the Curling Club today). He continued to work in Collingwood until 1924, when he removed again to Toronto, then to Ottawa and finally moved back to Toronto, where he died in 1927. He is buried with his wife and family in the old section of All Saint’s Cemetery, Collingwood.