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Spotlight: Internationally recognized Sault architect celebrates a major milestone

David Ellis has enjoyed his architectural career for four decades and doesn’t plan on slowing down.
180124 Spotlight_Image_Ellis_Sault College Waterfront and Tennis Centre

For David Ellis of david ELLIS architect inc., dedication to his profession and the pursuit of excellence has been the major cornerstone since the inception of his business. And he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

So, what does it take to find success in business for forty years?

“The easy answer is because I passionately love buildings as an art form,” says David Ellis. “There is something about great architecture that stops you breathless in your tracks, but at the same time excites, dreaming of the possibilities. I realize basing one’s profession on a purely emotional reaction isn't exactly prudent and that is where the design process comes into play.”

“Every building we design receives the same input in terms of the functionality, materials, quality, performance and most importantly, the human element,” explains Ellis.” I have a complex relationship with design and luckily most of my clients do as well.  Many people don’t notice the impact architecture has on health, wellbeing, mood and productivity. People are happier and work better in a space that brings delight and something special to their lives. Ultimately, I design buildings I would want to work or live in.”

“I’m extremely proud to be celebrating forty years in business,” says Ellis. “This milestone represents a tremendous amount of hard work and passion. More
importantly, it shows what’s possible when you’re fortunate to work with a fantastic roster of clients both in and outside of our community.”

Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, David Ellis is a devoted advocate of the Sault and surrounding area. This is reflected in his career. Upon graduating from Carleton University’s School of Architecture his goal was to represent Northern Ontario as the premier design firm in the region.

David began his career with D. Perry Short Architect in 1978. Following the retirement of Mr. Short in 1990, he continued as the sole proprietor of david ELLIS
architect inc., designing a number of impactful, recognized and award winning projects including: World Bank’s Malaysian Health Development Project, Floreani & O’Toole Orthodontists Clinic, Algoma Residential Community Hospice, Ontario Forest Research Institute, Sault Area Hospital, Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre and more.

Ellis’ attention to detail and his ability to integrate technology and design have been the catalyst to his firm’s success. He is the only Canadian architect to have won the Laboratory of the Year Award in the USA, having designed dozens of scientific and research facilities. His success in this area of design culminated with him presenting the keynote address to the Commonwealth Chemistry Congress and winning two Ontario Global Traders Awards.

Ellis says his achievements in design and architecture are rooted in his philosophy that “design is a not a product, but a process.”

“My passion lies in that process. And to this day, that hasn’t changed.”

Outside of design, David Ellis is deeply dedicated to his community and recreational pursuits. He is a past President of the Art Gallery of Algoma and Chair of the Algoma Society of Architects. He has been a 12 year member of the Municipal Heritage Committee, Sault Ste. Marie Accessibility Committee and the Soup Kitchen’s Community Healthcare Committee – just to name a few.

He is also a past President of the Ontario Cycling Association, board member of the Canadian Cycling Association, cycling coach, frame builder and has held numerous provincial and national records as a competitive cyclist.

Forty years for david ELLIS architect inc. is an enviable achievement. But what’s more exciting for this Sault Ste. Marie mainstay is what lies ahead.

“I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon,” says Ellis. “I’m thrilled to have created longevity in a profession that represents a big part of me. But my excitement lies in the future of my business and being able to design groundbreaking projects in Sault Ste. Marie and around the world.”

David Ellis’ work on local projects continues today with the design and development of Boreal French Immersion Public School, the Sault College Waterfront and Tennis Centre, the Sault Ste. Marie Airport and more.

For more information about david ELLIS architect inc., including a complete bio and details about his award winning designs, visit

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