The Canadian Home


Would you want to live in a factory-molded cube made of plastic, asbestos, and UFFI? With an "H-bomb shelter" and the nuclear furnace underneath? Or a house designed by God to harmonize with the cosmic Muzak?

The Canadian Home explains how our housing came to be including the pagan origins of "colonial" homes, why "Tudor" is not Tudor, and where so many predictions went wrong. But the book is not just about tastes and floor plans; it also celebrates technological innovation, from prehistoric Inuit windows (of stretched seal guts) to the R-2000 house and habitation in space. For the first time, records of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association have been opened to reveal the power plays of bureaucrats, developers, architects, and financiers and how they affect the quality, affordability, and choice of our housing today. Fiery debates over the sublime and the ridiculous (e.g. 1940s architectural articles on whether Toronto should be bombed) are set against the backdrop of Canadian politics and industrial history. Whether the reader’s interest is in construction, politics, or home decor, this book explains why the roof over our heads is the way it is." Pierre Berton

"In his fascinating study of Canadian shelter, Marc Denhez takes us on a 20,000-year journey from the days of the cave, the tipi, and the igloo, to the H-bomb shelter and the mobile home. This is, in short, a lively as well as an erudite study of the development of housing . [It] deserves a permanent position on any library shelf."

"If you live in a house or own one or build one if you have a roof over your head read this book. A housing book with punch and humour immensely enjoyable."

-Charles Lynch author, journalist and former governor of Heritage Canada.


"The Canadian Home will be of great use and appeal to those with a specific interest in home building and housing policy, as well as history buffs ... What this book does best is connect the past to the present, telling the story of those who have influenced the art and science of producing housing in Canada."

Canadian Journal of Urban Research

"Again, Denhez gives us new material, and manages to walk deftly between the two extremes, ending up centre stage like a true Vaudevillian. Read it and see what I mean."

Heritage Canada (May, 1994)

"... it is such an invigorating surprise, an outright tonic, to come across this excellent book on the history of Canadian housing. Anyone who appreciates crisp research, inventive writing and refined observation - not to mention a rather wingy sense of humour - will certainly enjoy what author Marc Denhez has accomplished in The Canadian Home."

Canadian Geographic (July, 1994)

"A much more serious book than it looks, though just as readable as it initially appears."

Rotunda (January, 1994)

About the Author

Marc Denhez

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Marc Denhez

Marc Denhez is an Ottawa author and lawyer specializing in older buildings and their re-use. He has been published in seven countries and has won Canada's National Heritage Award and an award from the International Association of Business Communications.