The Muskoka Rock Company takes us on a tour of what’s new in granite around the lakes.
They say that everything old is new again … a remark that resonates with the practice of processing contemporary products from ancient stone reserves. An igneous rock created deep within the earth, granite’s dense grain makes it a very hardy building material, but not all granites share the same material dynamics. The Muskoka Rock Company is fortunate to hold a series of proprietary quarries that bear some of the highest quality granite reserve in Canada.
The geology of the Canadian Shield has shaped our history: glacial activity carved out rivers and lakes, facilitating the explorations of the early settlers. Peaks that were higher than most mountain ranges were softened by erosion into rolling hills, and the retreating glaciers exposed the surfaces now quarried to enhance our homes and cottages.
“Over the last few years the Muskoka Rock Company product has increasingly found its way into urban spaces throughout North America. We’re finding that many of our cottage clients are bringing the Muskoka granite that they love at the cottage into their design and renovation projects in the city.”
– Jeremy McCabe, Director of Sales
Because the minerals that comprise the stone exist in different proportions, each quarry displays distinct characteristics. The Muskoka Rock Company extracts from a number of quarries, each featuring individual textures, grains, and pigments that can be blended for intriguing results. Sourced from the quarries of Rosseau, Lake Joseph, Blue Lake, Georgian Bay, Milford Bay, Dwight and Huntsville, Muskoka Rock Company granite has colours ranging from classic black, gray, and salmon hues to darker tones with light streaks for an earthier appeal. “We choose to use our own proprietary quarries,” says the company’s president, Seth Rudin, “because our clients want their décor to blend with our topography.”
We’ve come a long way from the days when granite was chiefly found on flagstone patios or garden walls. Today, its beauty and strength are prized for many interior and exterior applications, from walls and floors to countertops and shower stalls.
There are a number of reasons why it has become such a prime choice for cottagers and homeowners. Appearance and durability are obvious factors, but its versatility is another compelling attribute. Granite can be processed by splitting, sawing, flaming, and polishing, and Muskoka Rock employs all these techniques. “Some applications are best with hand-split stone,” says Seth, “but our variety of bridge, wire and CNC saws can also create perfectly calibrated products.”
FROM PYRAMIDS TO PATIOS
Among the world’s oldest industries, stone has been used for building since before the construction of Egypt’s great pyramids in 2600 BCE, and it has held its appeal over the ages that have passed since. “In addition to large pieces for exterior or interior applications, we have a variety of sizes for arbours and accents,” Seth points out. “And thin veneer cladding is also in great demand.”
With its variable grains, shades, and shapes, granite floors are exceptionally striking, whether on an outdoor patio or interior room. The stone can be square-cut, geometric, or organically curved. “We finish it in accordance with the intended function,” Seth explains, “and we can cut the thickness that’s needed, including our new half-inch option.” This is a real advantage for renovations when the installation must match the existing infrastructure.
Seth has noticed that people are increasingly drawn to granite flooring because of its low-maintenance, stability, and durability. No longer the sole domain of the patio, it is often today’s choice for all the interior spaces, from living rooms to kitchens to bathrooms.
“Our production techniques allow us to form dependable surfaces,” says Seth. “Even, level surfaces ensure predictabity which makes for a safer environment while harmonizing with the character of Muskoka’s landscape.”
EXPANDING THE HORIZONS
The Muskoka Rock Company was established in 2011 with a mission to manufacture exceptional granite products. In August of 2015, the company merged with Van Dyk Natural Stone Supplies and Huntsville Aggregates to become the largest supplier in the region. Their vision is to continue to broaden their portfolio and expand into other markets.
“Many people feel a strong emotional connection to their Muskoka property,” says Seth, “and they want to echo its ambience in their urban home.” The company is working with many Muskoka designers who also serve the Greater Toronto Area, and this is proving to be a benefit to the seasonal residents who want to enhance their main-residence flooring with authentic Muskoka granite. “The product is finding it’s place in homes, cottages, and offices throughout North America.” he adds.
Timeless and stunning, and with an authenticity unrivalled by fibre carpets and traditional tiles, granite is finding a place of pride throughout our homes and cottages. It is quite literally as old as the hills, but with today’s tools and techniques, this gift from the earth is being given new life.
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