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. Volume VIII Number 3 . . . . October 5, 2001
Stores were built with false "boom town" fronts (large parapets that hid the roof and made the stores look bigger and more solid than they really were). But the most prominent prairie building form was the grain elevator. A town's importance was measured by the number of elevators - as in "a three-elevator town."Beginning with an illustrated timeline from 1600 to the present, this book explores the diversity of Canadian architecture. Each influx of settlers to Canada brought with it different architectural influences- the Byzantine domes of Ukrainian churches, Victorian "gingerbread" houses from England and the Mennonite house-barn combination, to name a few. With the introduction of mail order catalogues and the development of the railway, materials, previously unavailable in certain areas of the country, could be shipped from coast to coast. Shemie does not restrict the subject matter to houses. She covers a variety of structures - shelters, multiple dwellings, churches, office buildings, banks and government buildings - and also discusses the development of large cities and the growth of suburbs. Adaptations to building materials and construction techniques which help people to survive Canada's harsh, extreme climates are also mentioned.
In all, 15 topics, with a double-page spread devoted to each, are covered. The text is enhanced with plenty of watercolour illustrations, all of which are suitably labelled (a brief description of each building depicted is also provided). A table of contents and a glossary, with sketches to illustrate various architectural terms, are included. One minor flaw is that, because there are no page numbers, readers have to flip through the book to find specific information.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.