The Rising Use of Slate in Canada During 1800s

A variety of sizes was produced to sell at an average price of 3.80 a square (the amount needed to cover 100 square feet of roof surface with a three-inch lap). This price provided roofing slate in Canada at or under London prices and prompted the use of Melbourne slates in the covering of the Parliament

Buildings then under construction. In 1868, a second slate quarry was established two miles away by Montreal entrepreneur Charles Drummond. The New Rockland Slate Quarry soon surpassed the Walton company producing in 1875, 7000 to 8000 squares of roofing slate in contrast to 3000 squares by its new roof competitor.

Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The Newfoundland roofing slate industry, successful for a brief period from 1902 to 1905, sent most of its product to England.37 The two Eastern Townships quarries, which began production in the 1860s, were always the principal source of roofing slate production in Canada and supplied most of the needs of the Canadian market until 1900.

The simultaneous beginning of a domestic roofing slate industry and the adoption of Gothic Revival and Second Empire styles for public building in the new Dominion were pivotal in increasing the popularity of slate roofing in Canada. The 1867 Parliament Buildings set the tone, embodying design elements of both styles and emphasizing the picturesque effect of the roof by the use of polychromatic (variously colored), slate-covered mansard roofs and towers. After

Confederation the federal Department of Public

Works chose the Second Empire Style to spread the federal image in an ambitious building program for post offices and custom houses throughout the country. The identifying feature of this style was the mansard or broken roof with slate arranged in decorative patterns on the slopes. In contrast to the four slate-roofed buildings listed in the 1867 Public Works report, Chief Architect Thomas Fuller’s report on public buildings for 1867-82 records with slate roofs. “Slates, 20 in. by 10 in., of approved tint or quality, from Richmond,” was a standard phrase in specifications for federal post offices and custom houses until the late 1880s.

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