Estevan Brick

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Estevan Brick

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Estevan, Saskatchewan's brickmaking industry began as an offshoot of the coal industry in 1902. The first plant started in 1906 as a private company, Eureka Coal and Brick Co. In 1912 the plant was sold and renamed Estevan Brick and Coal Company. In 1918 it was sold again and renamed International Clay Products. As Estevan clay was unsuitable for refractory (fire) bricks, the plant focused exclusively on face and common brick during its early years. In the 1920s, as part of a general plant expansion, the plant expanded its product line to include "Scots Gray" building tile, terra-cotta, quarry floor tiles, and pottery (wine jugs). This necessitated shipping in clay from Eastend for blending with Estevan clay.

In 1932 the plant closed due to the Great Depression. In 1945 the Saskatchewan government purchased the plant and reopened it as a Crown Corporation operating under the name Saskatchewan Clay Products. In 1964, the plant underwent another name change, to Estevan Clay Products Division. In 1965, the daily management of the plant was handed over to Industrial Management Ltd. The plant, which underwent another name change to Estevan Brick Ltd., became a limited liability company with the province as majority shareholder.

This structure continued until 1969, when the plant was sold to Peben Contractors Ltd. The revamped company, called Estevan Brick, introduced new product lines, including what was reputed to be the whitest brick produced in North America. In 1978 Estevan Brick became a division of Thunderbrick Ltd.In 1992 it was sold again to Canada Brick, and in 1995 it was sold a final time to I-XL Industries Ltd. It was incorporated in 1995 as Estevan Brick (1995). In 1997 the plant was closed due to shrinking markets.

The plant's face brick can be found in a number of buildings in Western Canada and North Dakota, including the Estevan Court House (now a provincial heritage site), the Federal Building in Regina, the Assiniboia Court House, the Saskatoon Normal School, the Power Station at Estevan, and the SaskPower building in Regina. An official edict from the province, brought in in 1965 during the years of W. Ross Thatcher, ordered that buildings constructed with public money be built from Saskatchewan brick; hence many public buildings constructed during this period contain bricks from the Estevan brick plant. Much of the snow-white brick was sold in the province of Quebec.

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