Arthur Edward Kennedy Bunnell was born in 1886 in Brant, ON. He graduated in civil engineering from the University of Toronto in 1907. His first planning job was to manage the Ottawa office of the Federal Plan Commission from 1913-15. He worked with Edward Bennett, Daniel Burnham’s partner on the 1909 Plan of Chicago. Bunnell was responsible for all the local surveys and the population projections. The FPC ‘s 1915 report was probably the first comprehensive plan for a Canadian metropolitan area.
Bunnell was one of the earliest professional planning consultants in Canada, partnering with the civil engineer Norman Wilson in 1923. They engaged in a wide variety of projects including the analysis of public utility operations, transit planning, traffic engineering, community planning, and municipal administration and finance. The firm later expanded to include the landscape architects Carl Borgstrom and Humphrey Carver FCIP, designing the road entrances to Hamilton and the landscape of the Queen Elizabeth Way. The firm thrived on land development through the 1920s, but closed as the depression advanced. Bunnell and Wilson continued to work together on infrastructure projects such as the 1937 plans for Toronto’s future subway.
In 1942-43, Bunnell was a member of the Advisory Technical Committee to the Toronto Planning Board preparing a master plan. Over time, Bunnell took over as project director and played a major role, in Toronto’s 1943 master plan, working with Eugene Faludi FCIP.
Bunnell joined the Ontario Department of Planning and Development in 1944 as a consultant and for many years was the Director of the Community Planning Branch, became Director of the Housing Branch, and a consultant to the Department of Municipal Affairs. Arthur was clearly at the heart of the creation of Metropolitan Toronto and was instrumental in drafting Ontario’s 1946 Planning Act and 1948 Housing Development Act. He also participated in an inter-ministerial task force that called for the formation of a provincial body with jurisdiction over all water resources. He retired from the Ontario government in 1962 after 18 years of distinguished service.
Arthur Bunnell served on the executive of the American Society of Planning Officials in the 1940s, was an active member of the Town Planning Institute of Canada and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.
He was a founder and honorary member of the Community Planning Association of Canada, and was made an honorary member of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects in 1961. He was made a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners in 1973. A park is named after him in Atikokan, ON in honour of his planning impact on that community.
Arthur Bunnell died in 1973.