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Encyclopedia > Canadian architecture
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The Gothic Revival Parliament Buildings are some of Canada's best known structures
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The Gothic Revival Parliament Buildings are some of Canada's best known structures

The architecture of Canada is, with the exception of that of the First Nations, closely linked to the techniques and styles developed in Europe and the United States. However, design has long needed to be adapted to Canada's climate and geography, and at times has also reflected the uniqueness of Canadian culture. Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster, London: Gothic details provided by A.W.N. Pugin The Gothic revival was a European architectural movement with origins in mid-18th century England. ... Parliament Hill is a scenic location on the banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Canada. ... Jump to: navigation, search Carved mask in Vancouver First NationsRawr Im a lion! is a term of ethnicity used in Canada that is meant to replace the use of the word Indian. It refers to the Indigenous peoples of North America located in what is now Canada, and their...

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Climate and geography

Canada's geography is highly diverse, and there are thus important differences in architecture. In most of Canada building materials are abundant, the price of lumber and stone are low. The major exception are the prairie and the far north, where wood is in short supply. In the early history of the prairies the shortage of wood led to farm houses built of sod and urban structures to be far more frequently built of stone. In modern times the transportation systems has made most building materials easily available on the prairies, and today lumber is as standard as in the rest of the country. In the far north transportation costs of all goods are extremely high, and any construction project is expensive. Jump to: navigation, search Rolled sod Sod farm in Cutchogue. ...


For the most part Canada is secure from major natural disasters that affect the architecture of other nations. However, the Canadian climate needs to be taken into account for every structure. All buildings need to be well insulated to protect their inhabitants against the deadly cold of the long winters. Buildings must be designed to survive the repeated cycle of freezing and thawing that can shatter stone and move buildings of their foundations. Buildings must also be able to survive the heavy weight of snow, which can collpase certain structures. A natural disaster is a natural event with catastrophic consequences for living things in the vicinity. ...


History

First Nations

Prior to the arrival of Europeans the First Nations lived in a wide array of structures. The semi-nomadic peoples of the Maritimes, Quebec, and Northern Ontario, such as the Mi'kmaq, Cree, and Algonquin generally lived in wigwams. These were wood framed structures, covered with an outer layer of bark, reeds, or woven mats. In the Northeast United States the most common form of the wigwam was a dome, in Canada a cone shape was more common. These groups changed locations every few weeks or months. They would take the outer layer of the wigwam with them, and leave the heavy wood frame in place. The frame could be reused if the tribe returned to the location at a later date. Jump to: navigation, search Carved mask in Vancouver First NationsRawr Im a lion! is a term of ethnicity used in Canada that is meant to replace the use of the word Indian. It refers to the Indigenous peoples of North America located in what is now Canada, and their... The Mikmaq (also Míkmaq, Micmac, Migmaq) are a First Nations people indigenous to northeastern New England, Canadas Maritimes, and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec. ... Jump to: navigation, search Cree camp near Vermilion, Alberta The Cree are an indigenous people of North America whose people range from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean in both Canada and the United States. ... The Algonquins or Algonkins are an aboriginal North American people speaking Algonquin, an Algonquian language. ... Apache wickiup A wickiup (or wikiup) is domed hut-like dwelling used by the semi-nomadic Native American tribes of the arid regions of the west and southwest North America, such as Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Idaho, California, and northern Mexico. ...


Further south, in what is today Southern Ontario and Quebec the Iroquois society lived in permanent agricultural settlements holding several hundred to several thousand people. The standard form of housing was the long house. These were large structures, several times longer than they were wide holding a large number of people. They were built with a frame of saplings or branches, covered with a layer of bark or woven mats. Jump to: navigation, search The Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee, also known as the League of Peace and Power, Five Nations, or Six Nations) is a group of First Nations/Native Americans. ... Later day Iroquois longhouse housing several hundred people Longhouses were built by native peoples in various parts of North America, sometimes reaching over 100m long but still around 5m to 7m wide. ...


On the prairies the standard form of life was a nomadic one, with the people often moving to a new location each day to follow the bison herds. Housing thus had to be portable, and the tipi was developed. The tipi consisted of a thin wooden frame and an outer covering of animal hides. The structures could be quickly erected, and were light enough to transport long distances. Jump to: navigation, search Species B. bison B. bonasus B. priscus A North American bison Bison is a taxonomic genus containing six species of large even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. ... Nez Perce tipi A tipi (also teepee, tepee) is a conical tent originally made of skins and popularised by the American Indians of the Great Plains. ...


In the interior of British Columbia the standard for of home was the semi-permanent pit house. These were structures shaped like and upturned bowl, placed on top of a three of four foot deep pit. The bowl, made of wood, would be covered with an insulating layer of earth. The house would be entered by climbing down a ladder at the centre of the roof. A dugout or dug-out is a shelter dug out of the ground. ...

A group of Haida six beam houses
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A group of Haida six beam houses

Some of the most impressive First Nations architecture was that of the settled people of the west coast such as the Haida. These people used advanced carpentry and joinery skills to construct large houses of cedar planks. These were large square, solidly built houses. The most advanced design was the six beam house, named for the number of beams that supported the roof. The front of each house would be decorated with a heraldric pole, the pole and sometimes the house would be brightly painted with artistic designs. Haida Haida Copper Shield The Haida are an indigenous people of the west coast of North America. ... A carpenter is a skilled craftsman who performs carpentry -- a wide range of woodworking that includes constructing buildings, furniture, and other large objects out of wood. ... Joinery is the part of woodworking that involves the joining together of parts of wood. ... Species Cedrus deodara Cedrus libani    var. ... Jump to: navigation, search Totem poles are monumental sculptures carved from great trees, typically Western Redcedar, by a number of Native American cultures along the Pacific northwest coast of North America featuring pictography. ...


In the far north, where wood was scarce and solid shelter essential for survival, several unique and innovative architectural styles were developed. One of the most famous is the igloo, a domed structure made of snow, which was quite warm. In the summer months, when the igloos melted, tents made of seal skin, or other hides, were used. The Thule adopted a design similar to the pit houses of the BC interior, but because of the lack of wood they instead used whale bones for the frame. Jump to: navigation, search Igloo An igloo (Inuktitut iglu / ᐃᒡᓗ, house), translated sometimes as snowhouse, is a shelter constructed from blocks of snow, generally in the form of a dome. ... The Thule were the ancestors of all modern Canadian Inuit. ... Jump to: navigation, search Whales are the largest species of exclusively aquatic placental mammals, members of the order Cetacea, which also includes dolphins and porpoises. ...


Arrival of the Europeans

The first Europeans to inhabit what would become Canada were the French settlers of New France and Acadia. The initial settlements at Port Royal and Quebec City were most concerned with defence, against both First Nations and the English. For most of the early history of Quebec city it was dominated by the large fortress and outer walls. The city was divided into two sections. The Upper Town was home to the fortress, Intendent's house, and churches, these structures were built of stone in imitation of the Baroque architecture then popular in France. The Lower Town consisted of densely packed structures on narrow streets, and was the commercial centre and home to the workers. Jump to: navigation, search New France (French: la Nouvelle-France) describes the area colonized by France in North America during a period extending from the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 to the cession of New France to the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1763. ... The national flag of Acadia, adopted in 1884. ... This article is about the former capital city of Jamaica. ... Motto: Don de Dieu feray valoir (Gift of God shall make prosper) Area: 547. ... Jump to: navigation, search For the Baroque style in a more general sense, see Baroque. ...

A classic rural New France home on the Île d'Orléans
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A classic rural New France home on the Île d'Orléans

The settlers of the rural areas along the St. Lawrence largely came from Normandy, and the houses they built echoed their roots. The surroundings forced enough differences that a unique style developed, and the house of the New France farmer remains a symbol of French-Canadian nationalism. These were rectangular structures of one storey, but with an extremely tall and steep roof, sometimes almost twice as tall as the house below. This roof design perhaps developed to prevent the accumulation of snow. The houses were usually built of wood, though the surviving ones are almost all built of stone. Landmarks in the rural areas were the churches and the mansion of the seigneurs. The seigneurs built much larger homes for themselves, but rarely were the manors ornate. Each parish had its church, these were often smaller copies of major churches in Quebec City or Montreal, and a unique style of French-Canadian church thus developed. Île dOrléans is located in the St. ... Jump to: navigation, search Mont Saint Michel is a historic pilgrimage site and a symbol of Normandy Normandy is a geographical region in northern France. ...


The first English settlements in what would become Canada were in Newfoundland, growing out of the temporary fishing settlements that had been established in the sixteenth century. The first English settlement in the Maritimes was in Halifax, and then along the South Shore. The style that developed in the Maritimes was very close to the architecture of New England. Trade links between the two areas were close, and many of the settlers in the Maritimes were from there. Some of the first houses erected in Halifax were actually prefabricated structures assembled in Boston or New York and shipped to the new settlement. Cape Cod style cottages were built throughout the region. However, the influence of the Foreign Protestants was also felt as the architecture of the region also borrowed some techniques and styles from Germany and Switzerland. The South Shore can refer to: South Shore, Long Island, southern edge of Long Island, NY, area which encompasses the Great South Bay South Shore (Nova Scotia), an area of Nova Scotia South Shore (electoral district), the riding that covers that part of Nova Scotia South Shore in Kentucky South... Jump to: navigation, search While the states marked in red show the core of New England, the regions cultural influence may cover a greater or lesser area than shown. ... The foreign Protestants were a group of immigrants to Nova Scotia in the mid-18th century. ...


Growth and expansion

The Georgian style Campbell House in Toronto, built in 1822
The Georgian style Campbell House in Toronto, built in 1822

The English speaking population of Canada grew dramatically with the influx of United Empire Loyalists after the American Revolution. This doubled the population of the Maritimes and brought the first significant European population to what was soon Upper Canada. One of the most popular styles in the pre-revolutionary United States was Georgian, after the revolution this style fell out of favour due to its association with the colonial regime, but the Loyalists embraced the style as an overt symbol of their loyalty. The style had also, however, fallen out of style in Britain, and Canada was alone in embracing Georgian architecture for much of the early nineteenth century. Jump to: navigation, search ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (906x675, 172 KB) Taken by SimonP in April 2005 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Jump to: navigation, search ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (906x675, 172 KB) Taken by SimonP in April 2005 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Jump to: navigation, search Campbell House Campbell House is a historic house in downtown Toronto, Canada. ... United Empire Loyalists is the name given to the portion of British Loyalists who resettled in British North America when they were forced to leave the United States after the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War. ... Jump to: navigation, search The American Revolution is stinkythe series of events, ideas, and changes that resulted in the political separation of thirteen colonies in North America from the British Empire and the creation of the United States of America. ... Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario Upper Canada is an early name for the land at the upstream end of the Saint Lawrence River in early North America – the territory south of Lake Nipissing and north of the St. ...


In Lower Canada the Georgian style was employed by the English minority, but this minority dominated the commercial and political class. French-Canadian architecture kept many of its traditional forms, but also adopted some English styles. Throughout British North America the Georgian style was mostly used by the middle and upper classes, and also for institutional buildings such as churches and government structures. In rural areas, and among the urban poor, simpler styles dominated. In the Maritimes the New England style cottages continued to be popular. For the first settlers in Ontario the log cabin was the standard first house. Logs were a byproduct of the need the clear the land, and log cabins were cheap and easy to build. After a few years of farming it was typical to build a more elegant farmhouse. The most common design was the Ontario Style House, which consisted of a rectangular wood building with the main gable over the short sides, and a smaller gable over the main entrance. Details of cabin corner joint with squared off logs A log cabin is a small house built from logs. ... A gable is the portion of a wall between the enclosing lines of a sloping roof. ...


The pattern of building in the west was very different. The first settlements in much of the West were the forts of the Hudson's Bay Company and Northwest Company and the cabins of the Metis. The next important presence was that of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The railway needed to build stations every 13 km of its 4200 km route in order to rewater the steam engines. Many of these stations became a nucleus of towns. These stations were built to standardized designs, with a number of different sizes for stations of differing importance. Other important monuments throughout the prairies were the grain elevators, and the banks which competed with each other by building ever more ornate structures. Jump to: navigation, search The Hudsons Bay Company (HBC) TSX: HBC is the oldest corporation in Canada (and North America) and is one of the oldest in the world still in existence. ... The North West Company was a fur trading business headquartered in the city of Montreal in British North America. ... Metis can refer to a number of things: Metis was a Titaness and the first wife of Zeus. ... The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR; AAR reporting marks CP, CPAA, CPI), known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a Canadian Class I railway operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited. ... This article is about grain elevators. ...


While there is little wood native to the prairies, the railway enabled it to be imported at relatively low cost. It was still common to build a first temporary home out of sod. For those who were unsure of how to build a home, and industry of predesigned and prefabricated homes sold by catalogue developed. A settler could simply order plans for a few dollars, or also order the precut lumber, and premade doors and windows. The Eaton's Catalogue of 1910 offered homes from a shack for $165 to a nine room house for $1,025. These structures were erected across the prairies. Jump to: navigation, search Rolled sod Sod farm in Cutchogue. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1910 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...


For some immigrants to the prairies, most notably the Ukrainians, there was not enough capital to buy a predesigned home, but since the immigrants were highly experienced with farming on the very similar Ukrainian steppe. Thus across the prairies houses identical to the peasant cottages of Eastern Europe were built. These cottages had characteristic flared thatched roofs, and white plaster walls. Even more notable were the onion domed Ukrainian churches built across the prairies. Other groups such as the Hutterites and Doukhobors also built unique structures. In the long run, however, the second and third generation immigrants tended to embrace the more British styles, the churches remained distinctly Eastern, but the houses largely conformed to the rest. Onion dome - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins/monobook/IE50Fixes. ... Like the two best-known Anabaptist denominations, the Amish and the Mennonites, the Hutterites had their beginnings in the Radical Reformation of the 16th Century. ... The Doukhobors (Russian Духоборы) are a Christian dissenting sect of Russian origin. ...


Victorian architecture

The Gothic Revival St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto, built in 1845-1848
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The Gothic Revival St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto, built in 1845-1848

Victorian styles of architecture dominated in Canada from the min-nineteenth century up to the First World War. Unlike during the previous centuries there was now easy communication between Canada and the architectural centres of the United States and Britain. It was common for Canadian architects to travel, study, and work in these other areas, and it was also increasingly common to hire foreign architects. This meant that ideas and styles developed elsewhere were quickly adopted in Canada. These were diverse styles, but one common element were attempts to revive ideas of the past. The first such style to come to prominence was the Gothic Revival style, which first came to Canada in the 1830s. This became the dominant architectural style for churches, especially Anglican and Roman Catholic ones, which both embraced Gothic Revival as evidence of their conservatism. It also was used for scholastic structures, such as universities and some houses. One of the most prominent Gothic Revival Structures were the original Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. Download high resolution version (592x896, 88 KB)St. ... Download high resolution version (592x896, 88 KB)St. ... St. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster, London: Gothic details provided by A.W.N. Pugin The Gothic revival was a European architectural movement with origins in mid-18th century England. ... The Parliament of Canada (French: Parlement du Canada) is Canadas legislative branch, seated at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. ...


Other revived styles also became prominent, such as Romanesque Revival and Neoclassicism as did new ideas such as the Second Empire Style. In the 1890s Queen Anne Style architecture became the dominant one for upper and middle class houses across Canada. A style of building in the late 19th century (roughly 1840 and 1900) inspired by the 11th and 12th century Romanesque style of architecture. ... Jump to: navigation, search Lazienkowski Palace in Warsaw Neoclassical architecture as a movement began in the 18th century, as a reaction against both the surviving Baroque and Rococo styles, and as a desire to return to the perceived purity of the arts of Rome, the more vague perception (ideal) of... A Second Empire style house in historic Elgin, Illinois This article is about the Second Empire architectural style. ... The Buttermans, the historic home of John Newman, the butter king, is one of several Queen Anne mansions in Elgin, Illinois The Queen Anne style of British and American architecture reached its greatest popularity in the last quarter of the 19th century, manifesting itself in a number of different ways...


Canadian styles

The Chateaux Style Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta
The Chateaux Style Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta

In the period after the First World War Canadian nationalism led to attempts to proclaim a unique Canadian architecture, distinct from that of Britain and the United States. One style promoted as distinctly Canadian was the Château Style. This style first appeared in the late nineteenth century with grandiose railway hotels such as the Château Frontenac and Banff Springs Hotel. It was a mix of Victorian Gothic Revival with castles of the Loire in France. The railways were seen as symbols of Canada, and the mix of French and English ideas was also considered distinctly Canadian. During the Interwar years the Château style was used in several prominent structures, such as the Supreme Court building. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was a prominent supporter of the style. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 145 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 145 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta. ... Jump to: navigation, search Motto: Fortis et Liber (Strong and free) Other Canadian provinces and territories Capital Edmonton Largest city Calgary Lieutenant-Governor Norman Kwong Premier Ralph Klein (PC) Area 661,848 km² (6th) • Land 642,317 km² • Water 19,531 km² (2. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... Canadian nationalism is a loose term which has been applied to ideologies of several different types which promote specifically Canadian interests over those of other countries, notably the United Kingdom and the United States. ... Château Frontenac in Québec The Château Frontenac, a grand hotel, is one of the main attractions of Québec City, Quebec. ... Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta. ... Loire is a département in the east-central part of France occupying the Loire Rivers upper reaches. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Supreme Court Building in Ottawa The Supreme Court of Canada (French: Cour suprême du Canada) is Canadas highest court and is located in the capital city of Ottawa. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King, PC , LL.B , Ph. ...


The desire for a unique Canadian style also led to a revival of the Neo Gothic style during the interwar period. In part because of the prominence of the Parliament Buildings, Gothic architecture had become closely associated with Canada and while the United States embraced Art Deco Canadian architects returned to the Middle Ages for inspiration. Thus when the Centre Block of the Parliament burnt down it was rebuilt in a similar Gothic style to that that had been used sixty years earlier. Asheville City Hall. ...


At the same time developments, especially those in United States, were not ignored. Toronto closely followed Chicago and New York as the home of skyscrapers employing new steel framed construction and elevators. Jump to: navigation, search A modern elevator has buttons to allow passengers to select the desired floor. ...


Modern period

After the Second World War, the desire for unique Canadian styles faded as the International Style came to dominate the Canadian scene just as much as in other parts of the world. Many of the most prominent Canadian projects of this period were designed by foreigners, who won open contests. Prominent modernists such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and I.M. Pei designed major works in Canada. At the same time top Canadian architects did much of their work abroad. Download high resolution version (768x1024, 256 KB)Taken by SimonP in April 2005 File links The following pages link to this file: Toronto Toronto-Dominion Centre Categories: GFDL images ... Download high resolution version (768x1024, 256 KB)Taken by SimonP in April 2005 File links The following pages link to this file: Toronto Toronto-Dominion Centre Categories: GFDL images ... Jump to: navigation, search The reconstructed Barcelona Pavilion Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies) (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969) was an architect and designer. ... The Toronto-Dominion Centre. ... International style can refer to International style in ballroom dancing - see ballroom dance; International style in architecture - see international style. ... Jump to: navigation, search The reconstructed Barcelona Pavilion Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies) (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969) was an architect and designer. ... Ieoh Ming Pei (貝聿銘 pinyin Bèi Yùmíng) is a Chinese American architect born in Suzhou, China on April 26, 1917. ...


References

  • "Architecture in Canada" The Canadian Encyclopedia
  • Kalman, Harold D. A History of Canadian Architecture. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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