Book Review: Barns of Western Canada

The book “Barns of Western Canada: An Illustrated Century” by Bob Hainstock is a great review of many of the most interesting barns in the area. The photos are great and the captions really tell the story.

I’m not really a “barn guy” but I do see a lot of barns while I am driving around the Canadian prairie, looking at trains or at abandoned places. Some of these barns are in pretty bad shape but many are well maintained. All are interesting to look at!

A barn in Glass, Manitoba
A barn in Glass, Manitoba

I’ve always lived in the city or suburbs, but my grandparents had a farm in Kingsclear, New Brunswick that we visited frequently. I remember wandering through the old barn on the hill, and the pigpen and woodshed near the farmhouse. Good memories.

While driving around, what has really struck me is the wide variety of barns in the prairies. As this book points out, there is no “western barn” shape like the Pennsylvania or Dutch barns found in the eastern US. Western Canadian barns have a wide pedigree, drawing from the knowledge of eastern European settlers and incorporating English, Scottish and American influences.

A barn near Brunkild, Manitoba
A barn near Brunkild, Manitoba

“Barns of Western Canada” includes both colour and black and white photos, showing barns through the century or so that they have been present in the west. It really does a good job of showing the variety and explaining the reasons for why barns were built the way they were.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in old buildings in the west, and any barn enthusiasts out there.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Barns of Western Canada”

  1. As a child I remember the fancy elevator style barn being built in the Brunkild community. We thought the farmer was very well off for that style of building. It was converted to a grain storage elevator later.
    Richard

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