The geographic distribution of slate roofing in eastern Canada

The geographic distribution of slate roofing in eastern Canada can only partially be explained by urbanization and accessibility to materials by Toronto roofing companies. Slate roofs in the regions of Trinity Bay, Newfoundland and Eastern Townships, Quebec, certainly fit the classic reason for the use of materials nearness to sources. Yet while most centres in […]

The Distribution of Slate Roof Throughout Canada

The approximately 3000 slate-roofed buildings identified by the Canadian Inventory of Historic Building computer program confirm the historic profile of slate roofing as a 19th-century urban phenomenon. In the absence of historic marketing data, the inventory data also provide the best impression of the geographic distribution of slate roofing that we have found. Fewer than […]

The Evolution of Slate as a Top Grade Product for Wealthy Customers

In the 1920s and 30s, slate roofing appealed to a restricted section of the building industry conscious of capitalizing on the design potential of slate and reputation for permanence. During this period architects developed great enthusiasm for colored, thick heavy slates known as architectural grades to achieve various effects ranging from the simple wood shingle […]

The Reasons for Deciline of Slate Roofing

The pre-war boom in building construction which stimulated the use of slate roofing was ultimately its undoing. Architects, now concerned about the speed of construction and the cost per square foot of space, began to demand roofing materials that were cheap, easily handled and installed. In 1887 the Scientific American hailed the introduction of sand-coated […]

The Second Rise of Slate Roofing in Canada

Slate roofing enjoyed a second wave of popularity in Canada from 1906 to 1914, the result of one of the most vigorous periods of industrial growth in our history. As manufacturing concentrated in cities, the urban population of Canada increased from 29.8 percent in 1881 to 41.8 percent in 1911. The settling of the west […]

The Decline of Slate Roofing in Canada

Five years after the market for roofing slate appeared insatiable, thirst for the material abated not to revive until after 1900. Technical advances, economic conditions and architectural taste all seemed to be at play in the decline, illustrating the difficulty of isolating factors influencing the use of construction materials. A great reduction in the price […]

The Rise of Slate Roofing in Canada

Enthusiasm for Second Empire, fanned by federal allegiance to the style, was also manifest in public architecture at the provincial and municipal levels, in commercial and religious buildings and in the homes of wealthy fashion-conscious urban residents. Important design features such as pavilions and rich sculptural decoration were often lost in the diffusion of the […]

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 […]

Canadian Access to Slate Roofing During 1850s

Beginning in the 1850s Canadians had access to closer and cheaper sources of roofing slate than those historically provided by European and British roofer quarries. Slate quarrying had taken place in the northeastern United States since 1734 but only started to be exploited on a large scale in the 1850s. Railway and urban development in […]

Slate in Central Canada

At mid century slate was still a forgotten roof covering in central Canada. In the mercantile part of the city of Montreal which included “the most elegant and substantial of the public Buildings” nineteenths of the buildings had roofs of tin or sheet iron. Insurance reports pointed out that “Tiles or Slates being nowhere used […]