This summer, Gillis Quarries gave architecture and design industry professionals the opportunity to tour their stone quarry in Garson, Manitoba. With Jeffrey Dolovich and Keith Gillis as our guides, a number of MMP staff attended one of the tour dates last week.
Gillis Quarries was founded in 1910, and has grown over the last decade into Manitoba’s largest stone quarry, specializing in Tyndall Stone. This porous, light stone has an intricate grey veining pattern of magnesium carbonate which was created by the burrowing of ancient marine creatures within the calcium carbonate bed 450 million years ago. Tyndall stone is quarried only in Manitoba, and can be seen gracing the exteriors of many civic buildings throughout Winnipeg.
Tyndall stone was favoured by many architects and designers at the turn of the century. MMP Architects has a vast history of using Tyndall stone as can be seen on the Centennial Concert Hall, the Manitoba Museum, Broadway Disciples Church, the Great West Life Building, the Manitoba Building at 270 Osborne, and more. An exhibit of Tyndall stone and its uses throughout Winnipeg’s history was put together by the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation in 2013, it’s an interesting read and can be found here.
Our tour of the quarry was fascinating. Tour attendees were able to get down into the quarry and see how the stone is cut with two different diamond blade saws, how a crew extracts 8-tonne blocks of the limestone, and how the blocks are stacked, labeled, and prepared for processing. The tour also included a look at the processing plant where we were able to observe the cutting and finishing of shapes and mouldings with saws, lathes, planers, and grinders.
MMP would like to extend our thanks to Gillis Quarries for the engaging tour of their operations. For more information on the quarry please visit the Gillis Quarries website here.
Please see above for a few photos from the tour.