Episode 3: Canadian Granite
Igneous Rocks Granite
Unlike limestone, granite was slow to appear on the architectural stone market. It was not until railway construction began in the mid-19th century that industrial production of granite began. Before that time, known deposits were considered to be too far from the Montréal and Québec consumer areas. For a long time, fieldstone, with its rounded shape, was used to build fireproof houses. It came mainly from fragments detached from outcrops of Grenville Province rock and transported during glacial periods (Maurice, 1955)
(Igneous Rock - Québec, Canada)
In Québec, early geological survey of Canada reports mentioned the areas where it was possible to extract high quality, easy-to-cut granite. The Stanstead and Barnston areas in the Eastern Townships subsequently produced very large quantities of granite. In addition to these areas, major extraction centers, including Chatham, Grenville, and Wentworth townships, as well as some Monteregian Hills, have been cataloged. In 1864, when the report on the geology of Canada was published (Logan et al., 1864), construction materials, except for limestone, were almost totally ignored.
In the stone industry, the term “granite” refers to all “hard” crystalline rocks, either igneous or metamorphic, used in construction and decoration. "Granite" includes rocks such as granite, monzonite, farsundite, magnetite, gabbro, or anorthosite. Gneiss is also identified as granite in the industry.
Approximately 80 to 90% of the granite produced as architectural stone in Canada comes from Québec. Nearly twenty-five companies quarry granite in sixty-odd quarries. In Québec, the main producer is the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean Region, with 40% of total production, followed by the Capitale-Nationale Region, with 30%.
Québec's granite is primarily used as dimension stone for producing cut-to-size panels, slabs, and tiles. Other uses include monument stone, ornamental stone, curb-stones, and landscaping stone.
Quarry operators refer to a wide variety of colors of granite and the production includes white, blue, brown, grey, pink, red, black, green, and violet.