Origins: Granite is known as Igneous Rock , and in Southern Ontario, almost any granite you see has had it's Geographic origins from the Canadian Shield unless it has been specifically shipped from outside of Canada.
Granite stone is a very common type of Natural Stone in Southern Ontario. It was a big hit for some architectural styles during the 60's and 70's and it is still used today in some fashion or another.(Photo: "Hole in the Wall", near Parry Sound, Ontario)
Character: One of the hardest rocks found on earth, second only to diamonds. Commonly found in shades of pink, greys, blacks and whites. One single section of Granite can have all the colours mixed within. It can also be speckled with different flakes of colour/texture or solid in composition. Usually seen as a rounded, smooth stone unless it is split, cut or shaped by tools.
Common uses in Landscaping:
- Wall Facing: Split-faced fieldstone granite which is obviously split in half and chiseled to shape. The stone is then mortared in place with a fitting pattern that keeps most of the mortar joints uniform. (See Landscape Feature Stones below for origin details.)
- Landscape Feature Stones: Used as a garden accent, the stones are usually rounded or oval shaped with interesting patterns or colours to them. Attractive when combined with planting or other landscape elements... Sold by the ton or pound and refered to as Fieldstone... Found throughout Southern Ontario, it's origin is from glacial erosion scraping the Canadian shield and depositing the rocks in Moraine fields during the end of the ice age.
- Granite Flagstone: Random shaped patterns ranging in the many different colours that granite comes in. It can give a rustic and warm feel to an informal patio. Usually this stone is sold by the ton or pound and is quarried from bedrock. A more elaborate and thin (0.5 inch) type of flag is known as Mill Lake flagstone, quarried near Parry Sound, Ontario... commonly used as facing around fireplaces and is sold by the square foot.
- Beach Pebble or River Rock: A very popular garden or water feature edge material. Great for placing in areas where planting is hard to establish or in other areas to help keep erosion and weeds down. Sold by the ton or in bags and comes in different dimensions (2" to 5" is the most common size). It's origins are from river edges and glacial deposits known as Eskers. When looking for this material, ask for "scrubbed" beach pebble.
- Granite Cobble Stone: Used mainly as a natural stone paver, it can be both colourful and busy looking. A very labourious stone to install due to it's non-uniform shape and it can be uneasy footing for elderly folks or ladies in high-heeled shoes.
Cobble stone use dates back many years and is an old world practice found commonly on the streets of Europe. It was used mainly in Toronto during the construction of the Streetcar Routes throughout the city. It is a desired stone by some folks, but hard to come by in mass quantities. Reason being that this stone is not commonly quarried in such dimensions. The stones are carved out from bedrock and individually shaped.
If it is found on the market today, it is because a section of road base in the old parts of Toronto (pre 1950's) has been torn up and rebuilt. The Granite Cobble Stone is removed, packaged and sold. The demand for this stone combined with it's scarce availability makes it a very high priced stone.