Canada is picture-perfect heaven, almost unfairly enchanting at times.
One of the most stunning, diverse geographic landscapes on Earth, the country is blessed with abundant natural resources. Voted consistently among the best countries to live in, Canada has been a top choice for immigrants for many years.
Canada is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, with over 250 ethnic groups living here. Statistics Canada concludes in its ethnocultural profile that “In the 21st century, Canada has become progressively more multi-ethnic and multicultural, a true Cultural Mosaic.”
The high influx of immigration into the country has strongly influenced the art & craft, traditions, languages, and architecture. Of course, skills have been reshaped and recreated, but this adds to the charming diversity that is evident in the country.
Historically, Canadian architecture was representative of the First Nations people, who were closely attuned to the local climate and geography. However, with the increasing number of immigrants, the doors were open to newer housing techniques and styles developed in Europe and America, which were adapted suitably to the native conditions.
Like other art and traditions, the multi-hued Canadian architecture reflects the uniqueness of Canada’s diverse ethnic culture.
The rustic-looking, almost austere Cape Cod houses are famous in Ontario, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island. During the mid-1800s, Victorian homes were an increasingly popular choice, with the slightly whimsical houses striking a chord with Canadians.
Post World War I, a flurry of construction coincided with the increasing economic ties with America and Europe. A bewildering number of architectural styles – Gothic Revival Style, Tudor Style, Romanesque, Victorian, Neoclassicism, and Beaux-Arts, to name a few, were used for public buildings and structures. Many historic Canadian buildings, including the government, are stunning examples of Queen Anne architecture.
The grandeur and splendor of these classic building styles were much admired and adapted for big-family dwellings. Other popular house styles such as ranch, farmhouse, and craftsman also found favor with architects and builders, blending old-world charm with traditional design.
Modern homes usually offer an open concept floor plan, with simplicity and function the critical points of consideration. Cottage-style homes, on the other hand, are cozy and practical.
Traditional Home Types
Traditionally, Canadians are familiar with detached or semi-detached condominiums or apartments, townhouses, split-levels, and bungalows.
Bungalows and detached houses are independent houses, providing privacy and space. On the other hand, semi-detached houses are very similar to detached houses with one huge difference – they share a common wall with the adjacent house.
Townhouses are also called rowhouses. They are houses in a row, and each unit shares its walls with the houses on either side.
Condos and apartments are residential units in a larger building. Individual owners own the units, and there are shared amenities for all the unit owners, such as parking space, gym, pool, etc.
Split-levels are homes on multiple levels – living areas on one floor, bedrooms on another, and so on. Duplexes and Triplexes, so named according to the number of levels, are examples of split-level houses.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular Canadian house styles, ranging from the more traditional house styles to modern houses. You will better understand your preferred style when you decide to invest in your next home.
Ranch Style Houses
A very unassuming and homely style, this design has been around since the 1930s. The ranch style is a sought-after suburban house design, primarily due to its clean lines, low rooflines, and adaptability to add-ons.
Originally from the United States, this style became increasingly popular with Canadians who had larger plots of land to build their homes in the suburbs or smaller cities.
Locally sourced building materials such as natural stone, wood, and bricks were used extensively in this housing style. Stucco walls, big windows to let in natural light and fresh air, and a sprawling living area are a few must-haves in a ranch-style home.
Wood is customarily used for doors, windows, kitchen cabinets, and furniture too, adding to the welcoming atmosphere. You can see a few stunning examples of Canadian ranch-style homes in the suburbs of London or Ottawa.
Single Floor Plan
Very straightforward in design, these houses are usually spread out on only one floor (though you may very rarely see an upper floor or basement). The facade’s length decides the house’s classification, as there is minimal elevation. However, there have recently been two- or even three-level ranch-style houses designed for growing families.
The living space is visually and structurally accessible, a godsend for people with limited mobility, families with small kids, or anyone who doesn’t really like stairs. The modern ranch-style houses are space-efficient, and attached garages are a familiar addition.
Wood is customarily used for doors, windows, kitchen cabinets, and furniture, adding to the welcoming atmosphere. You can see a few stunning examples of Canadian ranch-style homes in the suburbs of London or Ottawa.
Farmhouse Style Homes
Like the ranch, the farmhouse-style home is a good choice for a budget house. They are functional, casual in design, and considered a “chic” alternative.
Created out of necessity to house farmers or farm workers, farmhouses have been around for decades. A rudimentary style, it has proven to be very popular with people who wish to get back to the basics of life and love open spaces.
These homes often use reclaimed wood, wrought iron, and simple vintage accessories. You can expect exposed wood beams, barn board paneling, or even a sliding barn door in this rustic-style house.
Farmhouse-style homes can be fantastic space savers and are an excellent choice when you have budget constraints. The size and design of the houses allow you to save on construction costs while also being a stunning visual treat.
Craftsman Style Houses
Created as a natural result of the widespread American Arts and Crafts movement, Craftsman-style homes were designed to showcase excellent artistry. Dating from the beginning of the 20th century, they were meant to be statement pieces of talented home builders and artisans.
Heavy cobblestone bases, sizeable front porches or covered verandas, and embellished ornate woodwork are the hallmarks of a craftsman-style house. These houses were famously built along the Canadian west coast, where people were more likely to enjoy the outdoor space.
Craftsman-style homes come in many shapes and sizes, though they often have low-pitched flat roofs with overhangs, exposed rafters, decorative beams, and tapered columns on the porches. The bay windows, sometimes paired with a transom window or an eyebrow window, are another beautiful feature of this style.
The most common version of a Craftsman-style house is a single-story bungalow. However, these bungalows often have usable attic space that offers excellent renovation options.
Craftsman Rustic Style
A simpler version of the craftsman style, these rustic homes are less ornate and focus on using natural building materials. Built to last, the craftsman rustic style houses utilize a good amount of wood, stone, and bare bricks and are a good mix of practicality and traditional design.
It is no surprise that craftsman homes are making a comeback, with their retro looks much admired by home-proud Canadians.
The Tudor Style
The Tudor Style stands apart from other house styles, and many grand old buildings exist in the older neighborhoods of Toronto or West Vancouver. A whimsical air about these old homes brings medieval knights and beautiful damsels to mind.
Instantly recognizable due to their characteristic steeply pitched roof, gables, half-timbering, prominent chimneys, and tall, narrow windows, the Tudor houses are charming representations of English manors during the middle ages.
The black and white effect was one of the most remarkable things about a traditional Tudor-style house. This effect is due to half-timbering – an exposed wooden frame with the gaps filled in with wattle and daub, often whitewashed.
Tudor-style homes use multiple window types, such as a casement window with multiple windows or Bay windows, as well as Transom windows. Traditional Tudor-style homes often have off-center gabled doorways, giving them a distinctive look.
Several architectural styles are included under the Victorian style, including Gothic revival, Italianate, Second Empire, and Queen Anne.
Nevertheless, they have common characteristics such as steep, gabled roofs, round towers and fanciful turrets, and a colorful display of stained glass, woodwork, and bright colors.
A quaint Victorian at Historic Stewart Farm in Surrey, Canada Photo by Mike Lutke on Unsplash
Dollhouse-like in appearance, these lovely homes usually had an asymmetrical façade with a wrap-around porch, dominant front-facing gables, and patterned shingles. In their own way, the stained-glass windows, a staple in Victorian houses, is a definite curb appeal.
Modern homes prize function over form, so these houses have a clean look with simple yet luxurious design elements, with very little clutter or ornamentation.
Spanning the early to mid-20th century, the design of modern houses was a product of the contemporary art movement. With an open concept plan, modern-style homes are practical, with flat roofs, and simple proportions, using high-quality materials like marble and wood.
A modern home emphasizes design, architecture, and interiors. With no fixed format, the house can be scaled down and work around constraints of space availability. The house customarily has a large hall that comprises the kitchen, the living and the dining area, and a separate space for the private rooms.
Interior and Exterior Design
Natural colors are preferred for the exteriors of a modern home, while contemporary furniture with the same design throughout the house is the norm.
Most modern-style houses are seen in the urban centers, offering residents a sleek façade with modern amenities.
Rounding Off the List of Home Styles
The above-mentioned home styles are charming examples of the Canadian architectural style. Several other contenders can be added to the list, such as the charming Cape Cod houses, the colonial style house, the beautiful Cottage style and country style homes, and so on.
Old country-style homes tend to have massive layouts and sit on large plots of land. They are decorated very simply with crafty wooden furniture.
West Vancouver’s rough terrain dictated the unique open layouts, complex geometric forms and multi-functional spaces and rooms. The extensive use of glass and wood makes the West Coast Style homes look stunning – bringing the natural environment and natural light into the living spaces.
The Cape Cod-style traditional homes were tiny, with a steep roofline, wood siding, multi-pane windows, and hardwood floors. The Old country-style houses lean toward massive layouts and sit on large plots of land. They are decorated very simply with crafty wooden furniture and have huge windows to maximize natural light in the house.
On the other hand, Colonial-style houses are two-story stone buildings with elegant designs, intricate details, expensive materials, and finishes. This style was a version of French architecture adapted to the local geography and resources.
There are as many house styles as you can dream of. And Canada offers some of the most beautiful house styles in a stunning variety of locales.
Many home buyers or builders choose a classic design or prefer more popular types. Or they opt to weave their favorite elements into a single house. There are no proven formulas that can give you the best choice.
When you are house hunting, you can look at a modern house, a gothic home, or a west coast-style house. Every style has a distinct charm of its own, and only you can know what you want for your own home. You must remember that an older property may not have the same features as a modern house, although it may look stunning.
To make your real estate decisions easier, talk to a reputed Real Estate Brokerage. They can help you with choosing the house of your dreams.