Ontario Architecture  
home Contact Building Styles Building Terms About This Site


Any questions - please contact me at shannon at ontarioarchitecture dot ca

In response to the many requests I get for resources, please find beneath a short list of some resources.

I will gladly update this if you have a name or company that has done great work for you.


---- Restoration of Windows/Doors_

ARA Restoration - Kitchener - Sasha Knight

Furlan Conservation - Hamilton - Walter Furlan

Heritage Mill - Dundas - Alan Stacey

_- ------Floors-

Historic Lumber

Northern Wide Plank



--- General Carpentry--

------- Masonry-

blaker masonry

brick and stone craft



Vintage Materials --


Historic Lumber- Acton (west)

Legacy - Cobourg (east)

Northern Wide Plank- Schomberg

Timeless Materials - Southhampton, Waterloo, Toronto

Doors, Windows, Baseboards, corbels, artefacts

Artefacts - St. Jacobs (west)

Balleycanoe - Mallorytown (east)

Century Salvage - Collingwood (north)

Historic Lumber- Acton (west)

Legacy - Cobourg (east)

Lucan - Lucan (west)

Post and Beam - Toronto

Smash - Toronto

The Door Store - Toronto

Timeless Materials - Southhampton (north), Waterloo, Toronto

-Hardware and Lighting----

Kamermans and all those above


Homestead Milk Paint

Swede Linseed Paint-


Designing, Drawings and Managment


Craig Sims-

Dan Cheatley-


Megan Hobson --


Edifice - Old Home


Courses, Instruction Guides,

Short Courses

-Edifice - Old Home

--Paradigm Shift


Colleges and longer courses--

- Haliburton School of the Arts

- Algonquin College - Masonry and Woodworking



Restoration Craftsmen

"Without fabulous artisans and craftsmen there would be no great architecture" Bill Curran

Just because a company's advertising says 'restoration' does not mean they know what they are doing. If you want a really authentic window/floor/ porch, there are a lot of companies that want to charge loads of money for really bad work.

Those listed here have done really excellent actual restoration work. With people travelling to Europe and seeing 400 and 500 year old homes, they are more inclined to restore rather than renovate. The good restoration people I know are really busy. But they can be scheduled in.


Paradigm Shift - Paris Ontario

Andrew Skuce

Winner of a great many awards, Paradigm Shift restores windows, doors, and architectural detailing. There may be people as good, but no one is better.

Drew Skuce is taking a break but we hope he will be back soon..



San Andrea



Historic Lumber - Acton


Historic lumber in Acton Ontario is the home - or possibly the nursery - for literally acres of historic flooring, staircase parts, joists etc. See the historic lumber section under materials.

As well, these guys know how to install the floors without butchering them and cutting them into small bits like some other companies do. The historic lumber website has loads of good information. If you are looking to buy enough flooring to do an entire house - matching - and people who know how to do it properly, this is the best place to go. In this photo is the floor in their retail space as well as a cupboard and table and hutch all made from reclaimed lumber.

Contact Allan

If you are restoring an older home, the flooring is a crucial part of the building. "Wide-plank" flooring is a selling feature in most houses. At Historic Lumber they have all the different sizes plus the know-how on how to get it back together. The floor in the restial space of this establishment shows the character of the original floor plus a really nice, lustrous finish.

The furniture in the back ground is made of reclaimed lumber. The table, cupboard and hutch have all been produced from floorboards and larter boards rescued from tear-downs. The paint used on the furniture is milk paint from Homestead milk paint in Toronto.


Porches and Friezes

Hal Cooper - Cobourg

Hal Cooper is a perfectionist who likes to buy homes, restore them, and then move on to the next. He does work on other buildings and does an incredible job. The Ionic columns on the right were, frankly, a mess when he got them.

Contact Hal

J. Stowe - Hamilton

Jamie Stowe

In the area west of Tornonto Jamie Stowe does great work.The before and after shots on his website show you what can be done with woodwork that has been left to rot.

Contact Jamie


General Carpentry

In order to get good finishes, you need to have someone who actually does good carpentry to set up the frame.

Aaron Pierce - Belleville

Aaron Pierce is honest, hard working and dependable. He is sensitive to historic properties and understands how they go together. He could also oversee a restoration project with no problem.

Contact Aaron

S. Calverley- Hamilton

In the area west of Toronto Steve Calverley does great work. He is enthusiastic about restoration, especially Arts and Crafts.

Contact Steve

Alex Towers - Burlington

Alex Towers does really nice finish carpentry. He is not yet trained in restoration, but does good work.

Contact Alex



coffered soffits installed by Aaron Pierce


Blaker Custom Masonry Prince Edward County

Bree Blaker

Older homes generally had fireplaces and often they were Rumfords. Bree Blaker of Blaker Custom Masonry can build authentic Rumford fireplaces. he can also do cutting edge new designs or rustic stone designs. He lives in Prince Edward County but travels around a lot doing work around Ontario.

Contact Bree

Colin Coveny - Ottawa

heritagebrick and stone craft.com

Colin Coveny seems very knowledgeable and clearly does great work. I have never worked with him but from the phone conversation and the website I would say he's a good bet.

Contact Colin

Chris Correa-Riviera- Hamilton

Chris is just starting out but does good honest work.

Contact Chris


Vintage Materials

There are loads of great places to get architectural materials and artefacts. Many of these places are in the country and a good destination for a Sunday drive.

Below are some of the materials locations.


Historic Lumber - Acton


If you want wide plank flooring, baseboards, doors, etc., Historic Lumber in Acton is a good place to start. They have many widths of flooring and a few different materials. They also have baseboard etc. in reasonable lengths and quantities.


Contact Allan



Northern Wide Planks - Schomberg


Specialising in wide plank flooring, Northern Wide Planks in Schomberg ON will supply you with various grades of wide flooring. They can finish it in a variety of finishes from very smooth to original where all the saw marks etc. are visible.

If you are restoring an old home, often there is original flooring under the linoleum etc. If you are lucky, this can be restored quite easily.

If some or all of the original floor has been destroyed, to regain the 'spirit' of an old building, wide plank floors are really necessary.

This photo of the Nelles House in Grimsby shows the wide plank flooring, 12 to 16 feet long, found in a Georgian style house. The hearth would be very plain with no decorative border.


Contact Adam



Timeless Materials - Southhampton, Waterloo, Toronto

Legacy - Cobourg

Also supplying flooring are the three locations of Timeless Materials and Legacy in Cobourg. These suppliers also supply doors, doorknobs, lighting fixtures and other architectural artefacts.

Here is an 1830s floor made of pine. The boards are 9" wide and eight to sixteen feet long. Note the simple hearth treatment.

Contact Legacy



Historic Lumber - Acton


Like flooring, historic baseboards will take some time. They need to be stripped and then finished. Once down to the wood, if you use milk paint or linseed paint, you will never need to finish them again.

The profiles on the right show just a smattering of the profiles available at Historic Lumber

Contact Allan



Jan Kamermans

Doorknobs and hardware make a huge difference in a restoration. You can get them all to match, and they can all work. Yes, it is not always easy, but then again, for every 10 doorknobs you buy at a box store, one of them needs to be returned because they are so cheap and simply do not work.

Historic Lumber, Legacy, Timeless Materials all have hardware. The king of hardware, however, is Jan Kamermans. If you want an entire house or building with hardware that matches, he's the guy. If you want a specific piece of hardware to match, he's got it. He also has a wide variety of lights and other goodies.

Getting all the locks to work and matching them is also a bit of an art. Jan will do all of that. He has the know how and the equipment to restore all the hardware to fit the building or environment. What Historicc Lumber is to wood, Jan Kamermans is to hardware.

The Kamermans shop in Hamilton is like walking into the Olde Curiosity Shop. It is by appointment only, but a real treat if you can get there.

Contact Jan

West of Toronto

Historic Lumber in Acton has a lot of hardware, particularly door knobs.

historic lumber

Timeless Materials has a shop just outside of Waterloo.

Timeless Materials - Waterloo,

Artefacts in St. Jacobs, less than an hour from Historic Lumber, also has a good variety of hardware.


About an hour west of St. Jacobs and Waterloo is Lucan, another good spot.


East of Toronto

Legacy in Cobourg has a wide variety of doorknobs and hardware as well. They ship a lot over the internet.


If you are going to Cobourg, go a little further to Balleycanoe just east of Kingston for a nice variety of artefacts largely from the east of the province.


North of Toronto

Heading towards Georgian Bay there is a great spot in Duntrun, just south of Collingwood.

Century Salvage

Then head west to Southhampton to see another Timeless Materials.

Timeless Materials -

In Toronto

In Toronto are three excellent architectural artefact suppliers.

Post and Beam - Toronto

Smash - Toronto

The Door Store - Toronto



Homestead Milk Paint

Solvent Free Paint

This corbel, taken from a Second Empire or Italianate building, was painted in 1890 or so. It stayed on the building until it was demolished about 3 years ago. Allan at Historic Lumber rubbed it down with Linseed oil, and it's good for another 100 years.

Yes old buildings take a lot of upkeep if you use the wrong materials, but if you use the right ones, there is only maintenance every 100 years or so.

Milk Paint can be used on interior or exterior wood. Buildings that have exterior milk paint are usually covered with a coat of oil - Fleming College's restoration program uses Hemp oil to finish.

Linseed paint will also last 100 years. See Swede Paint

Contact Henri at Swede paint



Homestead Milk Paint


Milk paint stands the test of time and is chemical and solvent free.

Here is a door that has been partly restored. On the left are crumbling layers of oil and acrylic paint. The green paint that is still adhering to the wood is milk paint. Both milk paint and linseed paint penetrate the wood and become part of the finish.

Often milk paint is covered with a layer of oil for exterior use. If your paint is needing a bit of an uplift, a rubbing with boiled linseed oil will restore it to its original lustre.

Contact Jenny



It is true that old doors take some time and some expertise. It is also true that they are heavier and last longer than new doors. The styles are also unique and charming.

In Britian and norther France they often have a velvet ot tapestry curtain that can be drawn across the door during the really cold winter. This allows for an R value of about 10 on top of the R value of the door. Make sure it is properly sealed and it is just as good as a new one.



Design, Drawings and Management

Courses, Programs and periodicals

Design, Drawings and Management

There are a lot of graduates coming out of Willowbank that have expertise in putting together a team to do a full restoration. Megan Hobson is a good person to contact with regard to management. It's quite a small field, and most people know one another.

If you want drawings done for a new porch or a restoration, Craig Sims is a good choice. He Knows his subject very well and is extremely talented.

Courses, Programs and Periodicals

Community Colleges are starting to have very good programs for restoration. Algonquin College has a wonderful Historic masonry Program, and Fleming College has a good restoration and environmentally sensitive building program.

Part Time programs are available through various sources.

Edifice magazine is a legendary source of Old Home information. Tutorials and sound advice can be obtained from this source regularly.

Paradigm Shift

This 1780s window was almost unrecoverable. Now it is a focal point in the building. The original glass was recovered and used.

Drew Skuce will teach you how to do this kind of restoration.


This utterly gorgeous building is now used for a wide variety of classes from full time programs to part time training sessions.

Located in Queenston, it is the perfect location to see excellent older buildings.



Edifice Magazine

Chris Cooper and the Cooper Guild are legends in Old Home restoration in Ontario. The magazine has been providing great information about products, artisans and restoration techniques for years. Chris Cooper sponsors a variety of hands-on workshops.

Learn how to repoint stone and brick, restore artefacts, and recreate wonderful architecture.

For a list of books about Ontario Architecture


Annotated Bibliography

Angu, Margaret.The Old Stones of Kingston. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966.

Ashenburg, Katherine. Going to Town: Architectural Walking Tours in Southern Ontario. Toronto: Macfarlane, Walter and Ross, 1996.

Atkinson, Dan. ed.A Decade of Sundays, Quinte Walking Tours. Belleville: volume 1, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, 1994.

Blake, Verschoyle, and Ralph Greenhill. Rural Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press,1969.

Blumenson, John. Ontario Architecture A Guide to Styles and Terms. 1978

Those who are interested in Styles and Terms of Ontario Architecture should definitely avail themselves of this book. It is the most comprehensive overall guide to Ontario Architecture, but is sadly out of print. The book can be found in most Ontario libraries and in some good remainder stores. Many of the buildings on the "styles" pages of this website can be found in this book, and it is interesting to note the changes that 30 years have seen on the upkeep, colours and landscaping of the buildings.

Cathcart, Ruth. How Firm a Foundation: Historic Houses of Grey County. Wiarton: Red House Press, 1996.

Cathcart, Ruth. Seeking permanence in a New Land: Historic Houses of Grey and Bruce Counties. Owen Sound: Ampersand Printing, 2009.

Clerk, Nathanial. Palladian Style in Canadian Architecture, Ottawa: Parks Canada, 1984.

Cruickshank, Tom, and John de Visser. Old Ontario Houses. Toronto: Firefly Books, 2000.

Residents of Ontario are not taught an appreciation of local architecture in school, and thus, while many people are interested, they don't always know where to start to look. This beautifully produced picture book offers a look at Ontario architecture by region, with stunning photography and insightful prose to introduce the various regions and architectural styles. For those who have not discovered the beauty of Ontario and its architecture, this is a very good place to start.

Cruickshank, Tom, and John de Visser. Old Toronto Houses. Toronto: Firefly Books, 2003.

Like the above, this coffee table sized book is deceptive in that it is so handsome it is easy to overlook the quality of the prose. Like any master of his craft, Cruikshank's style makes writing and researching seem a lot easier than it is. There is a wealth of information presented in a most accessible and agreeable way. De Visser's photographs, taken in all seasons and at all times of day, bring out the beauty of the subjects, many of which will be seen, no doubt, "for the first time" by people who pass them every day.

Cruickshank, Tom, and John de Visser. Port Hope: A Treasury of Early Homes. Port Hope: Bluestone House, 1987.

Cruickshank, Tom, Peter John Stokes and John de Visser. The Settler's Dream: A Pictorial History of the Older Buildings of Prince Edward County. Picton: County of Prince Edward, 1984.

Fox, William Sherwood. The Bruce Beckons: The Story of Lake Huron's Great Peninsula. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1952.

Greenhill, Ralph, Ken Macpherson and Douglas Richardson. Ontario Towns. Ottawa: Oberon, 1972.

Ingolfsrund, Elizabeth. Triumph in Design, Toronto Regional Architectural Conservancy. Toronto: Kingsway Park, 1994.

LACAC. Cobourg: A Guide to the History and Architectural Heritage of the Town of Cobourg. December 2002.

This is a terrifically useful little guide to introduce visitors to the architecture of Cobourg by means of walking tours. The prose is easy to read, the streets are easy to follow, and the buildings are wonderful. This pamphlet is an excellent idea very well produced.

Leaning, John, and Lyette Fortin. Our Architectural Ancestry. Ottawa:Haig and Haig Publishing, 1981.

Lownsborough, John. The Privileged Few: The Grange and Its People in Nineteenth-Century Toronto. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1980.

MacRae, Marion, and Anthony Adamson. The Ancestral Roof: Domestic Architecture of Upper Canada. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1963.

This is the standard book on Ontario architecture; it is the one that all others are measured by. The photography and production are 30 years old, and the results are not in the same league as the much later books, but the in depth research, the witty prose style, and the humourous but caring attitude of authors makes it a book that can be read many times. Sadly, this is now out of print, but second hand books shops often have a copy, and it can also be obtained "on-line".

Maitland, Leslie. Neoclassical Architecture in Canada. Ottawa: Parks Canada, 1984.

Maitland, Leslie. The Queen Anne Revival Style in Canadian Architecture. Ottawa: National Historic Parks and Sites, 1990.

For an introduction to the Queen Anne Revival style, and a wide look at the various manifestations of the style found in England and across Canada, this paperback-sized book can't be beat. There are examples of all types of buildings in all different sizes, repesenting a thorough yet readable and interesting overview.

Marshall, John E. Fifty Years of Rural Life in Dufferin County. printed by Maurice Cline, 1977.

For a small book with no pretensions, this is a book ( or booklet) that you simply can't put down. After reading it, you wish more people would take the time to write some memoirs of their county for future generations. Mr. Marshall describes a time when my own grandfather and uncle lived in the same county. We all remember bits of the stories that they used to tell, but none of us were bright enough to write them down.

McBurney, Margaret, and Mary Byers. The Governor's Road: Early Buildings and Families from Mississauga to London. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982.

McBurney, Margaret, and Mary Byers. Homesteads: Early Buildings and Families from Kingston to Toronto. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979.

McIlwraith, Thomas F. Looking for Old Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.

Mikel, Robert. Ontario House Styles. Toronto: Lorimer, 2004.

Otto, Stephen A., and Richard M. Dumbrille. Maitland: A Very Neat Village Indeed. Erin: Boston Mills Press, 1985.

Powell, Jane. Bungalow Kitchens, New York: Gibbs Smith, 1920.

Raftery, Anna-Marie. Passport to the Past Heritage Tours. City of Mississauga, On. 1996.

Another rather small pamphlet type of book that does an excellent job introducing the reader to the various towns that became Mississauga, and the builders and buildings that made the towns what they were. If you think you can drive around and visit all of the buildings in one or two days, you are mistaken. But once you have started visiting them, you can't stop; there are some real gems.

Rempel, John I. Building with Wood. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1967

This is a book written by a teacher who has an obvious love of his subject, not to mention an impressive knowledge of it. For primary building techniques it is thorough and enlightening, giving an insight into both the building methods and the reasons for them. Rempels chapters on polygonal houses are unequaled in anything else I have seen and focus attention onto a very distinct and yet rare Ontario building phenomena.

Shiels, Judy, and Mary Appleby. Sidelights of History: A Guide to Etobicoke's Century Buildings. Etobicoke: Etobicoke Historical Board, 1975.

Stokes, Peter. Old Niagara-on-the-Lake, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971.

Stokes, Peter, Tom Cruickshank and Robert Heaslip. Rogue's Hollow: The Story of the Village of Newburgh. Ontario, Through Its Buildings. Toronto: Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, 1983.

Tausky, Nancy Z., and Lynne D. DiStefano. Victorian Architecture in London and Southwestern Ontario. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1986.

Wilson, L.W., and L.R. Pfaff. Early St. Mary's: A History in Old Photographs from Its Founding to 1914. Erin: Boston Mills Press, 1981.

Wright, Janet. Architecture of the Picturesque in Canada. Parks Canada, Ottawa: 1984.


Articles about Ontario Architecture can be found in Arabella Magazine back issues:

Kyles, Shannon - Italianate Architecture - Arabella issue 1 - Fall/Winter 2008

Kyles, Shannon - International Architecture - Arabella issue 1 - Fall/Winter 2008

Kyles, Shannon - Arts and Crafts Architecture - Arabella issue 2 - Spring 2009

Kyles, Shannon - Gothic Revival Commercial and Churches - Arabella issue 3 - Summer 2009

Kyles, Shannon - Gothic Revival - Residential - Arabella issue 4 - Autumn 2009

Kyles, Shannon - Victorian Architecture - Arabella issue 5 - Winter 2009

Kyles, Shannon - Loyalist Architecture - Arabella issue 6 - Spring 2009

Kyles, Shannon - Regency Architecture - Arabella issue 7 - Summer 2010

Kyles, Shannon - Second Empire Architecture - Arabella issue 8 - Autumn 2010

Kyles, Shannon - Georgian Architecture - Arabella issue 9 - Winter 2010

Kyles, Shannon - Art Deco Architecture - Arabella issue 10 - Spring 2011

Kyles, Shannon - Romanesque Architecture - Arabella issue 1 - Spring 2012

Kyles, Shannon - Queen Anne Architecture - Arabella issue 1 - Summer 2012



Contact Us

This is a free, nonprofit website. If you have found it useful and would like to contribute to its continued success, your donation can be securely accepted through PayPal below.



Your generosity is appreciated.