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Unfading Red Slate Chosen for Historic Roof

By     Jan 12th, 2024


North Country’s Unfading Red Slate has been selected for the restoration of the historic roof of the Deer Park United Church building. Originally constructed in the then-popular Norman-Gothic style in 1912, the building at 129 St. Clair Avenue West in Toronto, Ontario was originally called the Deer Park Presbyterian Mission. Designed by architect Andrew Sharp, who worked with the firm Darling & Pearson at the time of the church building’s construction, the church originally featured a prominent tower on its Northwest corner with four corner turrets and of course, an elegant slate roof.

Deer Park Church seen from the ground

Photo from Urban Toronto

The original Deer Park Presbyterian Mission building was built at the corner of Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue in 1881. As the congregation quickly outgrew its original building, what would become the Deer Park United Church began construction on August 12, 1911, with a unique ceremony that featured the laying of two cornerstones – one stone from the old building, and one from the new. Completed in 1912, the Deer Park United Church was a magnificent and notable landmark in Toronto for nearly a century. The iconic red slate that adorned its historic roof and drew the attention of passersby and architectural sightseers also helped the building to earn its heritage designation in 2008.

Photo from Wikipedia

With the departure of the Imperial Oil offices next door in 2008, which had been heating the building for many years, the church building became unsustainable; the building was de-sanctified, and the congregation relocated to the nearby Calvin Presbyterian Church. As the neighborhood continues to develop and grow, some parts of the original church building were permitted to be demolished to facilitate the construction of condo buildings. In order to preserve the historically significant sections of the building, the church was carefully deconstructed and its façade preserved to be incorporated into the new development.

Deer Park Church Under Construction

Photo from Urban Toronto

North Country Slate supplied 25 squares of our Unfading Red roofing slate at 18” x 12” x ¼-3/8” to match the existing slate for the restoration of this historic roof. Unfading Red is a hard-vein slate that marries the natural strength of roofing slate with the rustic earthy colors of clay tile. It is a very rare slate, graded S1 by ASTM International and only actively quarried out of one location in North America. This scarcity, in combination with its natural durability and longevity, contributes to its incomparable aesthetic, its earthy charm, and its distinctive luster.

Unfading Red Slate on Deer Park United Church Roof with Brass Snow Rail System

Photo from Construction Connect Canada

On the sections of the roof that are being restored, the North Country Unfading Red slate is beautifully contrasted by the shining brass of the updated snow rail retention system. Snow retention systems like the one pictured above play a critical role in preventing avalanching, which prevents costly damage to eaves and gutters as well as providing safety to pedestrians passing below.

Unfading Red Slate with Copper Snowguards

Photo by NCS

            The restoration and reimagination of the Deer Park United Church is being completed by Heather and Little, specialists in historic reconstruction and preservation. The incorporation of this heritage designated building into the modern mixed-use condo development emphasizes the blending of the architecturally historic construction with the current metropolitan demands of a city on the grow. While the Deer Park United Church building’s century of service is at an end, the benefits of using of North Country Slate for its historic reconstruction will ensure another century of natural beauty, strength, and majesty for one of the neighborhood’s most iconic roofs.

By     Jan 12th, 2024
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