Brick manufactured at the plant graces the facades of many prestigious buildings across Saskatchewan as well as many other provinces. Face brick was produced until 1960’s, and adorns such prominent buildings as the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and the Delta Bessborough in Saskatoon. Among many others, the beautiful Gravelbourg Cathedral is faced entirely of Claybank brick as are a number of court houses and other public buildings.
The rare fire brick produced here lined the fire boxes of the CN and CP Rail line locomotives, and of warships in World War II. The fire brick was also used in the construction of the rocket launch pads at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Not only does the brick plant constitute one of the best preserved examples of early 20th century industrial activity in Canada, but is one of a small number of heritage attractions in Saskatchewan to have achieved formal National Historic Site designation status.
The self guided tour cost us $25 and about an hour to complete. There are also trails into the hills south of the site and I wish we had time to explore.
This was a lot of fun for both me but the entire family. We explored for a while together and alone and found all sorts of fascinating sites and facts while on the site. I think it is also a testament to the vision of the community which has worked very hard to raise the money and put in the elbow grease to slowly bring this site back and make it into a National Historic Site. They say they are $2 million into a $6 million project so make sure you visit and then donate. It’s a site that is worth preserving.
Just a quick note for when this post is buried in the archives. The weekend trip was made possible by Ford Canada who gave us a 2015 Ford Focus to use and review. They also paid for a big part of the weekend.