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Homeplace: The Making of the Canadian Dwelling over Three Centuries

Peter Ennals
Deryck W. Holdsworth
Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 320
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    The authors present a new framework for interpreting the dwelling in Canada, including an important glimpse of counter-currents such as housing for gang labour, company housing, and the multi-occupant forms associated with urbanization.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7583-4
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Maps
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Frameworks for the Study of Canadian Shelter
    (pp. 3-20)

    To understand the nature of the housing forms which were transplanted by Europeans in early Canada, it is essential to place this fragment of our cultural experience into a larger historical and geographical framework. The European encounter with Canada was driven by a desire to harness a varying set of natural resources needed for European sustenance and manufacture, and by a wish to colonize territory and settle population as part of an expansion of European society into the New World. The two impulses were integrated, since the settlement process invariably occurred in connection with, rather than apart from, some facet...

  7. PART 1: Canadian Housing during the Era of Mercantile Capitalism

    • CHAPTER TWO The Polite House
      (pp. 23-49)

      Dwellings that might be described as being of ‘high style,’ or what we have chosen to call ‘polite’ houses, exude a material worldliness and complexity of design which suggest the owner’s need to make a visible statement of economic achievement and social rank. For such self-conscious people the dwelling becomes a means of displaying wealth, of demonstrating taste and knowledge of current international fashion. Yet true ‘high-style’ dwellings are remarkably thin on the ground in early Canada, and those that do exist are modest in scale and decorative exuberance compared to British and American examples. Only at the end of...

    • CHAPTER THREE The Folk House
      (pp. 50-90)

      The men and women who began to leave France, the British Isles, and other western European locations for North America in the seventeenth century were the inheritors of house-building traditions that were at least a millennium old. While it is true that the most prosperous of the new yeoman farming class in England were beginning to copy some of the classical design elements that were popular with rural and urban gentry, most of those leaving Europe prior to the mid-nineteenth century were leaving a world that was overwhelmingly dominated by folk dwellings.

      Conventional architectural surveys typically fail to acknowledge that...

    • CHAPTER FOUR The Vernacular House
      (pp. 91-120)

      Beginning in the second half of the eighteenth century and figuratively situated between the few polite and the many folk houses, there was an increasing tide of modest dwellings built for minor military or colonial officials, prosperous farmers, storekeepers, and others who sought to distance themselves through housing even if in only minor ways from the broad bulk of society. Their dwellings were larger, more durable, and more organized as a set of functioning spaces. The structures mimicked and diluted elements of the polite house and began the attack on folk practices. The erosion of folk building processes and house...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Housing for Labour
      (pp. 121-146)

      The Canadian examples of polite, folk, and vernacular housing explored in the previous three chapters are part of a broader agrarian world, one where people’s world-view, approach to settling, status, and accumulations of property were land-based. And yet a major component of the encounter with Canadian land was in connection with resource extraction, and that encounter involved activities that were seasonal, mobile, and often ephemeral. For almost five centuries, the extraction of Canadian resources has necessitated the organization of a migratory labour force in locations well beyond settled or established regions. European capital, through merchant intermediaries and agents, established production...

  8. PART 2: Canadian Housing during the Era of Industrial Capitalism

    • CHAPTER SIX The Self-Conscious House
      (pp. 149-170)

      In the transition from a mercantile and agrarian society to one that was shaped more by urban and industrial development, Canada only slowly and only partially gained the domestic architectural exuberances often associated with Victorian wealth and confidence. Whether this was due to a lack of generational continuity in wealth, or to a persistence of the Scots-Presbyterian ethos, or to the fact that the Canadian economy was far smaller than that of the two industrial giants, Britain and the United States, it is certainly clear that there are only a few dozen houses that truly stand out as self-conscious statements...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN The Enduring Folk Stream
      (pp. 171-191)

      In chapter 3 we argued that many of the earliest immigrants – those who left France and Britain, or who moved north from the American colonies – carried with them an ancient folk housing preference which many sought to reassert in the New World. Entering an alien environment, without benefit of suppliers of critical knowledge (except of course the aboriginal people, whose advice was rarely sought), and without resort to suppliers of building materials, these pioneers instinctively relied on their own hand and their own traditions. While few ultimately succeeded in reproducing exact copies of the European folk dwelling, many...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Pattern Books and an Industrial Vernacular
      (pp. 192-212)

      If the enduring folk stream that enriched the Canadian landscape after Confederation is testimony to the persistence of an oral culture and preindustrial building traditions, a parallel development, itself a testimony to changing patterns of literacy and the continental communication of ideas by the new influencers of mass taste, was the widespread impact of pattern books for house design. After the success of Downing and the technological developments in house construction, noted in chapter 4, two or three generations of pattern books and home-improvement manuals offered an increasingly sophisticated range of house plans for the contractor and the potential home-owner....

    • CHAPTER NINE Housing the Industrial Worker
      (pp. 213-231)

      In chapter 5 we examined the nature of housing that appeared in those parts of Canada where migrant labour, usually a male work-force, was employed to harvest natural resources such as furs, fish, minerals, and timber under the aegis of mercantile capital. The types of expedient housing erected to serve this often transient population located on an equally transient resource frontier contrasted sharply with the dwellings being laid on the land concurrently for agrarian families. We noted that while there were some evident antecedents for the cambooses, cook rooms, and shanties of these labour camps, the lineage back to the...

  9. CHAPTER TEN Conclusion
    (pp. 232-236)

    By the end of the nineteenth century, several generations of design manuals had succeeded in providing a set of national, even international, house designs. The new primacy of vernacular housing was a reflection of broader transformations in North American society and economy. In very few parts of the continent were people living in isolation from metropolitan ideas. Broad increases in literacy, a secularization of values, the mobility of people, and the integration of activities into a market economy exposed most people to a more egalitarian and yet complex world. Gone were the hierarchical, simple relationships of enclosed community and limited...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 237-266)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 267-290)
  12. Index
    (pp. 291-305)