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5 Tips for Landscape Artists Inspired by Iconic Granite Landmarks

What do the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Aberdeen Pavilion in Ottawa, Canada, the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge and the Statue of Liberty have in common? Aside from being iconic international landmarks that is.

If you hadn’t already guessed, then let us shed some light: granite has played a key role in the construction of each and every one of them.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at these historic monuments, delve into how granite was used in each application – and discuss the ways memorial makers, urban artists and landscape architects can use the tricks of the past to create stunning long-lasting landmarks today.

1. Embrace Durability like the Ancient Egyptians did

Granite is known for its strength and durability, making it the perfect choice for long-lasting structures. The largest of the three pyramids in Giza – a bona fide ancient wonder – is primarily constructed using limestone and granite blocks.

Memorial artists, urban designers and landscape artists can apply this same principle to their work today – by selecting durable materials, such as stone or concrete, for everything from foundations, paths, walls, to other decorative hardscape elements.

The results? Granite not only looks wonderful, it’s built to last. And by combining granite with other hard wearing stones, urban designers and artists will imbue their work with a sense of permanence and longevity – and minimize the need for constant maintenance.

2. Incorporate Texture and Contrast, a la The Taj Mahal

While primarily built using white marble, the Taj Mahal incorporates intricate inlay work featuring a variety of precious and semi-precious stones – and granite.

Granite often boasts unique textures and color variations, and today’s urban and memorial artists can take inspiration from this by incorporating different textures and contrasting elements into their sculptures and landscapes.

Combine smooth and rough surfaces, mix materials like wood and stone, or vary plant textures to create visual interest and dynamic compositions.

3. Balance Simplicity and Sophistication

Many granite architectural designs strike a balance between simplicity and sophistication. Today’s granite artists and landscape architects can apply this concept by creating clean lines and simple forms while incorporating elegant details and refined elements.

You can see this approach in the iconic The Aberdeen Pavilion (also known as the Horticulture Building) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Constructed between 1898 and 1903, in the late Victorian and Edwardian architectural styles, it incorporates a striking combination of brick and stones including granite.

While the building’s foundation and lower levels were constructed using locally quarried Nepean sandstone – and the upper levels and exterior walls were made of red brick – granite is incorporated into the structure as accent pieces.

You’ll see granite in the columns, lintels, and many of the decorative elements of this forever-eye-catching building.

4. Prioritize Functionality

Granite architecture often focuses on functionality, ensuring that the stone serves a practical purpose.

One famous landmark that uses granite to service a functional *and* aesthetic purpose is the Statue of Liberty.

While its main body is made from copper – and its internal structures from steel and iron – the statue stands on a huge foundation of concrete, granite blocks and granite-faced concrete – all of which provide that all-important stability and support.

The Statue of Liberty’s pedestal is also made of granite. Its exterior comprises rough-hewn granite blocks, while its interior is constructed with dressed granite blocks. The rugged texture and natural colour variations of the granite contribute to the eternal visual (and very Instagrammable) appeal and impact of the structure.

5. Pay Attention to Scale and Proportion

From the most famous to the locally beloved, granite structures usually exhibit a sense of proportion and scale that fits harmoniously with their surroundings.

Granite architects, memorial artists and urban artists can apply this principle by carefully considering the scale of landscape elements, such as trees, shrubs, and architectural features. A truly, cohesive example of landscape architecture, art or memorial, needs to maintain a balance between the sizes of its different components and the world around it.

When considering landmarks that wow with their sense of scale and proportion, they don’t come much more iconic than Stonehenge – the ancient myth-enveloped, stone circle located in Wiltshire, England.

These prehistoric large standing stones – or, sarsens, as they’re better known – comprise many different types of stone and rock, including Preseli Spotted Dolerite, a type of igneous rock that contains a significant amount of granite.

Stonehenge is an imposing structure, with some of its stones weighing several tons and it stands at over 4m tall. The sheer hugeness and solidity of these stones create a grandeur and monumentality that has evoked awe and wonder in onlookers since its creation in the Neolithic period, around 2500 BC.


As we’ve explored, granite has played a key role in the structure of many of the most beloved landmarks around the world, including: the Taj Mahal, the Aberdeen Pavilion, the Statue of Liberty, Stonehenge and the Pyramid of Giza.

All of these landmarks showcase the enduring beauty and significance of granite in architecture and cultural heritage. Which is why landscape architects, memorial artists and urban designers love working with granite just as much today as they did then…

Contact us today

Did you know that we at HGH Granite have been providing granite services for the last 90 years? Our vision and business model have helped build a loyal customer base that relies on our expertise and quality workmanship. Over the years, our team has grown with like-minded individuals that share the same passion for providing outstanding granite products and services. Let us help build you your vision.

Our Work on the Landscape of Nations Memorial

We were honoured to work alongside landscape architect Tom Ridout in the creation of the Landscape of Nations memorial in Queenston Heights Park, Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, back in 2015.

The large outdoor permanent installation is a living memorial dedicated to the contributions and sacrifices made by the Six Nations and Native Allies on Queenston Heights and throughout the War of 1812. It also symbolises the position of the First Nations people at the core of Canadian history – and national affairs today.

HGH sourced and supplied large amounts of granite in different colourways for different elements of the project.

The history behind the memorial

We’re often asked which are our favourite-ever projects to have worked on but the truth is, they all have a special place in our hearts. Many have huge historical significance and honour important people from our past and present – and this project is no different.

The Battle of Queenston Heights took place on this site during the War of 1812 – during which Major-General Sir Isaac Brock and his Canadian aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Colonel John MacDonell, lost their lives.

The battle was all but lost until the Six Nations warriors – the Haudenosaunee – and Indigenous Allies arrived to help and ultimately turned the tide.

A look in more detail

Visitors to the memorial are greeted by a Turtle focal point – rendered in granite pavers on the main pathway. The history of the turtle is significant. In the Six Nations creation story, the earth was created on the back of a giant turtle when Skywoman fell from the sky. The story goes that Skywoman landed gently on the back of a turtle and was given dirt from the ocean floor to spread on its back, representing the ground we walk upon. The cutting to size of the granite pavers to create the turtle design – along with their installation – was an intricate process, equally complex and rewarding.

John Norton and John Brant

Near to the Turtle stand two bronze figures in Native clothing and feathered headdresses. These are the figures of John Norton and John Brant – the two Mohawk Chiefs, who led the native warriors into the Battle of Queenston Heights after Sir Isaac Brock died. The figures were created by Six Nations bronze artist Raymond Skye and we were honoured to supply the granite bases on which they stand.

The Longhouse

The statues of Norton and Brant stand at the entrance to an archway of tall steel rods – The Longhouse. A longhouse is an architectural structure traditional to the Six Nations, which provides shelter – in fact, Six Nations people used to refer to themselves as `People of the Longhouse`.

The Wampum Belt Walkway

Starting at the Turtle and running beneath the Longhouse in the direction of the central installation of the memorial is a walkway composed of two parallel bands of granite – one light, one dark. These two granite bands represent the Two Row Wampum Treaty between the Six Nations and Dutch settlers in the early 1600s.

The First Nations used to record their treaties in the form of wampum belts of different coloured beads, rather than on paper. The two rows represent the Dutch ships and the canoes of the native people sailing together in mutual respect, the walkway representing their agreement to co-exist on parallel paths.

The Memory Circle

At the centre of the installation is The Memory Circle where the names of the Six Nations and Native Allies are carved into bronze medallions on the surrounding stones, shaped into a sunray pattern.

Tree of Peace

The memorial also features an Eastern White Pine tree that stands as a symbol of the Six Nations constitution, known as the Great Law of Peace. Our team worked around this and other precious 200-year-old-plus trees to install the large granite boulders for the bronze plaques that line the pathway leading to The Memory Circle.

The memorial was unveiled to the public in October 2016 and has become a much-loved visitor attraction, allowing people to learn more about, and reflect upon, the Six Nations people and their legacy.

From the intricacy of the work on the turtle paving area to managing the installation of the large boulders around the ancient trees –  any damage of which incurred a significant fine – this was a complex, challenging and deeply rewarding project to be a part of. We’re proud to say it showcases our team’s capabilities – and sensitivity – in the field of landscape art and memorials to brilliant effect!


4 Key Challenges and 4 Big Wins of a Vietnam Memorial Project

As much as we wish we could say otherwise, not every project of ours has been delivered without a hitch. Case in point: the Cayuga County Vietnam Memorial, whose memorial concept was born almost four years before the memorial was eventually installed.

This isn’t a usual turnaround time for a project. An average memorial project like this might take one to two years, from start to finish.

However this project was first touted in 2017 and we all know what was waiting for us in 2019/2022. Yes, people say never work with animals or children – but working through a global pandemic can be pretty hard-going  too!

Let’s take a look back…

In 2017, we received a call from Four Seasons Memorials in Auburn, NY, asking us to help them create a memorial honouring those from Cayuga County who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

The clients presented a range of concepts to us and we were responsible for then putting the overall memorial design together, using the text and graphics we’d been provided with.



Challenge 1: the approval process

The approval process was slower than usual because we needed the go-ahead from both our client – and the Cayuga County Vietnam Veterans Group. This entailed a lot of back and forth. Of course, we wanted to make sure the design was spot-on, and that everyone was happy, before it went into production. 

So while this part of the process took a lot longer than usual, there was a good reason behind it.

Challenge 2: the pandemic

When the overall shape and size of the monument had been confirmed, the Jet Black granite was ordered from India. 

It arrived at HGH in 2019 and once the final approval of the artwork was received in 2020, the granite was uncrated and inspected. It was at this point that we were surprised to find some significant defects in the stone which prevented us from being able to proceed with the engraving. 

The challenge now was that it was 2020 and we were in a global pandemic with supply chains and shipments all over the world at a standstill. 

We reordered the granite from India – however, it became clear we wouldn’t receive it in time so we had to begin looking at our domestic supply chain within Canada. 

We were able to source an excellent black granite, which was quarried in Africa and partner with a fabricator in Quebec to get the monument made to our quality expectations.

Challenge 3: escalating costs

The work involved in polishing the granite walls and base of the monument was very costly to do in Canada. However, because of the time constraints, this was our only option. We visited the cutting and polishing facility in person, prior to shipping, to ensure the quality was to our expectations.

Challenge 4: etching machine repairs

This memorial required a significant amount of etching. However, this coincided with our Laser Etching machine having to take a break, due to needing a new part. Normally, this would be quick to order in. Because of the pandemic, however, it did not come in a hurry. We waited 6 months and there was still no sign of it arriving so we took the plunge and ordered a brand new impact etching machine.

Never ones to let a challenge defeat us – or more importantly, to let down a client – we reached out to our friend Mark Derusha from Derusha Supply and the company sold us a new SuperMax impact etching machine, which arrived within a couple weeks.

Finally, the project could be completed!

As you can see, the process wasn’t smooth-sailing. But as you can also see, the final results were – eventually – stunning. And we take from this project, four big wins, which are:

Win 1: perfect etching 

Once the etching machine issue was solved, the subsequent etching results with the new machine were outstanding. 

Win 2: beautiful contrast 

We might not have had the original Jet Black granite we ordered from India – but the contrast of the etching on the African Jet Black replacement granite was fantastic.

Win 3: an exquisite and enduring memorial

The intricate map on the front of the monument was sandblasted then hand painted. The powerful photo collage and the names of the “Fallen Brothers” are impact etched. The memorial name on the bases of the memorials and on the back of the memorial are all sandblasted. A piece to treasure for a very long time.

Win 4: happy clients

While the process, from concept to completion of the memorial, was extended, stressful and time consuming, the end result was beautiful – and our client and the veteran community loved it.

Do you have a project you’d like us to help with? Contact us today 

Did you know that we at HGH Granite have been providing granite services for the last 90 years? Our vision and business model have helped build a loyal customer base that relies on our expertise and quality workmanship. Over the years, our team has grown with like-minded individuals that share the same passion for providing outstanding granite products and services. Let us help build you your vision.

Our Most Asked Questions About Cemetery Monument Installation

Cemetery monument installation is an important part of our work here at HGH and a specialised procedure that we’re often asked about.

From traditional memorials to benches and multi-piece monuments, the scope of work we carry out varies greatly. So let’s get started with some of our most frequently asked questions.

Is there a typical installation process?

Good question. Before we dive in, we should start by saying there’s no such thing as a typical installation process. It will vary depending on geographical location and the cemetery where  the monument is being installed.

How is the headstone transported to the cemetery?

Our granite headstones are loaded onto a crane truck. If the cemetery in question is accessible and it is permitted, the crane truck will drive in and install the piece directly – taking great care to protect the grass being driven on. 

If the monument plot is in an inconvenient location, or the cemetery is old and inaccessible, then the piece will be transported to its destination in a hand-cart.

HGH Granite cemetery monument installation

How many pieces makes up a monument?

Upright Granite monuments are usually constructed from two pieces of granite. The upper headstone section, or die, which sits on a stone base. The die and base are joined together with a monument setting compound.

Is this how the monument stays in place?

Yes, the setting compound is a sealant – like putty – and it goes around the perimeter of the joint. Spacers – made from little pieces  of lead – are then placed in each corner. The lead leaves  a gap so the setting compound fills the void to create the necessary seal – this also stops the monument from rocking and prevents chipping. 

Once the setting compound and lead are in place, the monument itself is placed on top of the base. We leave it to sit for a few minutes and then trim the perimeter with a knife to clean away the setting compound – before giving the monument a final wash and wipe down.

Do you need to follow a set of industry-wide Health & Safety regulations? If so, what are they and why are they important?

Every company has its own H&S methods, developed through experience. The health and safety of our team is of huge importance to us, so naturally, we do all we can to ensure our staff feel confident during the process of installation. From making sure there’s always at least a couple  of team members on site at the same time, to ensuring the team has the correct work gear and safety equipment.  

We recently acquired a new piece of equipment to help our team carry out their installations even more efficiently and safely. Watch this space for the first picture!

How do people look after the memorials once installed?

The great thing about granite memorials is that they’re nearly  maintenance-free. In the event of a headstone getting dirty, a light mix of dish soap and water can be used to clean them up. If the memorial has a steeled  surface and moss has begun to develop on it, it can be removed with white vinegar and water, along with a gentle scrub brush.

HGH Granite team completing a cemetery monument installation

Is installing memorials an emotionally rewarding process? 

Absolutely. It’s humbling – and rewarding – to know we’ve played a part in providing a place people can visit and reflect and remember their loved ones.

Got a question about sourcing granite? A new project you’d like to discuss?

We’ve been providing granite services  in Canada and the USA for the last 90 years and our loyal customers come back time and again for our experience, knowledge and artistry. We’d love to help you build your artistic vision today, too. Contact us today and the conversation can begin!

Why Granite is the Perfect Material for Streetscape Artists

Granite has a romantic backstory. (And all artists love a romantic backstory!)

Made up of quartz, mica and feldspar, it comes from crystallised magma cooled deep beneath the earth’s crust.

While it’s under there, it’s heated and compressed to such a high pressure that it forms a super-strong interlocking structure – and it’s this that gives granite its unmatchable density, hardness and strength.

Elemental and easy to work with

Granite couch by HGH Granite

The perfect material with which to make enduring pieces of public art and streetscape architecture, wouldn’t you say? Granite enables artists to imbue an artistic vision with a genuine monumental quality. While associated with the past, it also allows artists and architects to enter the future.

Take the over six-tonne granite Chesterfield sofa in Yorkville, Toronto, created by artists Susan Schelle and Mark Gomes.

We were responsible for sourcing, carving and polishing this gleaming piece of Crystal Brown granite for the artists, before their finished piece was unveiled to the public in 1998.

Granite couch install

While the public aren’t advised to use the sculpture as an actual sofa (it is art, after all – the picture above shows the installation process!) the piece has been sitting proudly and thrilling onlookers for almost 25 years – and counting. When polished up, granite can preserve its shine for many centuries, in fact.

It’s resistant to the elements

Streetscape architects and sculptors love that granite is weather-proof. Resistant to sweltering and plummeting temperatures, and that it also stands up, spectacularly, over long periods of time, to vehicular traffic and footfall.

We’ve worked with artists on a number of stunning public thoroughfares where heavy human traffic is the norm. Such as the graphic granite plaza at the Sony Performing Arts Centre, below left, and the giant Persian rug-style plaza outside the Four Seasons Hotel, in Yorkville, Ontario, below right – both designed by Claude Cormier + Associés.

Not only do these works surprise and delight every person who steps upon them, the works themselves don’t feel the strain – and aren’t prone to the same wear and tear – as much as a man-made material such as precast concrete.

Granite’s durability means it’s a gift that keeps on giving – to the current generation and for generations to come.

The design possibilities are endless

Granite offers so much potential for decorative beauty and creativity. Just take a look at the integrated public artwork Indigena Domain, above, which is located in front of the Cambridge City Hall in Ontario. It was created by artist Stephen Cruise and incorporates a stunning granite river and sculptural components that evoke shapes from the living world.

Granite has a huge colour spectrum, too – from whites and blacks to blues and pearly greys, pinks, reds and greens. We love the way granite brings elegance, ambience, character – and a sense of strength and timelessness – to any landmark or streetscape.

It’s sustainable and available

Sustainability and availability go hand-in-hand with granite, which is another big draw for contemporary artists and architects.

Work with the right granite expert with the right tools and equipment and granite is easy to grind and shape, too. It’s also relatively abundant, nigh-on indestructible and considered to be an inexhaustible rock. And one more reason (for now) that it’s the first choice stone for so many designers and architects to work with is? It’s cost effective too. Yes, granite rocks.


Got a question about sourcing granite? A new project you’d like to discuss?

We’ve been providing granite services all over Ontario for the last 90 years and our loyal customers come back time and again for our experience, knowledge and artistry. We’d love to help you build your artistic vision today, too. Contact us today and the conversation can begin!

Maanjidowin (The Gathering): A Closer Look

Client: David M. General
Commissioned by: PortsToronto
Location: Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, West Gap dock wall
Testimonial: “The work that HGH Granite can produce fulfils my sense of Indigenous perspective and the relationship of our art to the land.” David General, Artist

In this blog, we’re going to take a deep-dive into one of our favourite recent projects, showing you the 4-step process of taking a sculpture from idea and prototype to national treasure.

The project we’re looking at is Maanjidowin: The Gathering, created by David M. General, Mohawk Nation, Wolf Clan of the Six Nations, who is known for his mix of Indigenous and modernist style.

Where is it?

The 16-foot granite and bronze sculpture sits at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on the dock wall overlooking the Western Gap. It was commissioned by PortsToronto in recognition of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and their relationship to the land, air and water. 

What does it represent? 

Three mythical fishers – Mukwa-kwe (Bear), Nigig-kwe (Otter) and Migizi-kwe (Eagle) – who have come to the estuaries and islands along Toronto’s Lake Ontario shoreline to fish. Their canoe is inscribed with words and symbols of significance to the Mississaugas of the Credit, including the Medicine Wheel and the Seven Grandfather Teachings, which are guiding principles that provide the moral and cultural foundation of life. 

How did HGH get involved?

We had worked with the artist David M. General before on various projects, including the Thomas Longboat Memorial project for the Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015 and on The ‘Eagles Among Us’ memorial, located at Battlefield Park in Stoney Creek, ON. He came to us and discussed the project then HGH sourced and supplied the granite for the canoe and the animals, along with hand-polishing each piece and doing the engraving on the granite. This included accommodating the artwork provided and ensuring the stencils were placed precisely where the artist envisioned, prior to sandblasting.


The 4-step process of taking Maanjidowin from an idea to reality


1. The prototype

This model – or maquette created by the artist – shows the Maanjidowin prototype, which was used for the initial presentation then used to scale the full-size model. David talked us through his plans and we discussed the suitability of different granite types before placing an order with our quarry in India.


2. Production

Once the design was decided upon and the granite was ordered, it was time for work to start on the real thing. All the granite carving and polishing was completed in India then once the granite arrived at HGH we were responsible for fitting the bronze into the granite figures, sandblasting all the text and artwork then finally installing the finished piece.




3. Shipping 

Then it was time for the sculpture to be shipped to its final destination. As you can see our team in India wrapped each piece individually and placed them into special shipping crates using our cranes. 

4. Install

It was installed in partnership with the Mississaugas of the Credit throughout April 2022 and was opened to the public on 4 May 2022.

The Results

Maanjidowin opened on 4 May 2022 and has quickly become a beloved part of the Toronto Airport landscape.

The Honourable John Tory, Mayor of Toronto said: “Billy Bishop Airport is an important gateway for residents and visitors alike, and I am pleased that those travelling through the airport, as well as those within the surrounding community, will be able to enjoy and learn from this new and important sculpture.”

Contact us today 

Did you know that we at HGH Granite have been providing granite services for the last 90 years? Our vision and business model have helped build a loyal customer base that relies on our expertise and quality workmanship. Over the years, our team has grown with like-minded individuals that share the same passion for providing outstanding granite products and services. Let us help build you your vision.

Step by Step Guide to Choosing a Cemetery Memorial

A cemetery memorial is a lasting and unique way to remember the life of a loved one. They provide a place for people to reflect and grieve – and act as a physical reminder of the individual who has passed away.

Choosing a memorial is a very personal and subjective experience and involves various parties – from family and loved ones to memorial specialists and cemetery personnel.

However, there are some basic steps to follow when choosing a memorial that will help the process go more smoothly and be one less thing to worry about. Here’s our short step-by-step guide to the process.

HGH Granite Hartog Memorial


1. Orientation

Before picking a location within the cemetery, decide if you would like the memorial to be an upright monument or flush grass marker.

2. Size

By-laws outlining what memorial type and the permitted size can be installed on the site and these are specific to each cemetery. Make sure to check, when purchasing a plot, that the cemetery will allow for the size of the memorial you have planned.

3. Overall Look

Once you have chosen a memorial site you can begin to picture how you would like the memorial to look. A great way to get ideas is to take a walk through a cemetery and take note of the various colours, shapes and designs. You can also browse memorial displays – online or in brochures – to find a design that meets your requirements then share these findings with the memorial specialist so they have a better idea of your vision ahead of the design process.

4. Suitability & Foundations

Memorial sales staff will be able to confirm if the memorial you have in mind will be suitable for your chosen site and can also order a memorial foundation if required. The foundation is installed beneath the base of an upright monument, to add stability while the ground around the memorial moves due to the natural elements. In some areas this is a concrete foundation which is poured up to 48 inches deep – while other areas might require a 4-inch thick granite foundation slab.



5. Colour & Material

Next you will want to choose the colour and material of your memorial (see our guide to choosing granite colours). If you’re considering a granite memorial with sandblast engraving or etching, we would recommend going with darker colours, such as American Black, Jet Black, and Cambrian Black which give great contrast. Once the colour is confirmed the design process can begin.

6. Stone Orders

After the dimensions, colour and final design drawings of your memorial are approved the granite/ stone can be ordered (unless you choose one that is already in stock).

7. Engraving

Once the granite/stone arrives the engraving process begins. Click the link to get an idea about the types of engravings, etchings and hand sculpting you can opt for.

8. Delivery & Installation

Once completed, the memorial is delivered to the cemetery for installation on the appropriate lot.

As we mentioned in the intro, every memorial purchasing process is unique – and there can be extra side steps depending on the style, size and location of your memorial. However, these eight steps represent a typical process. We hope you find it helpful.

Contact us today

Did you know that we at HGH Granite have been providing granite services for the last 90 years? Our vision and business model have helped build a loyal customer base that relies on our expertise and quality workmanship. Over the years, our team has grown with like-minded individuals that share the same passion for providing outstanding granite products and services. Let us help build you your vision.

Your Ultimate Guide to Granite Colours

‘Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment’. So wrote artist Claude Monet once upon a time. Here at HGH, we agree wholeheartedly with the first two statements. As for the torment? Well, only when faced with extended delivery times on popular colours, perhaps.

As you might have guessed, this blog is all about colour. Granite colours. We are quizzed a lot on this subject. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of those most-asked questions and provide you with the answers! For more about our granite colours, you can also download our colour book.


Are there specific granite colours that are good for specific projects?

Not Really. Here’s the thing, there isn’t any right or wrong colour to use. Provided the material of choice has the qualities suitable for the application, the colour is totally down to you. Whether a memorial, landmark, or piece of public art, go with whatever fits your vision and gives you a good feeling. You can take look at our whole catalogue of colours.


What’s the best colour to use for intricate engraving and etching projects?

Dark granites work best for sandblast engravings and etchings. Black granites such as American Black, Jet Black, and Cambrian Black give the best contrast – while colours such as Brits/ Impala and Laurentian Green work well too.

What are the most popular granite colours


Jet Black by a long shot. And we get it, it’s dramatic and punchy and has a huge impact on any project. However, Cambrian Black is increasing in popularity. It is a beautiful dark black material that has more character than the standard Jet Black. After black, there is strong demand for colours such as Brits/ Impala, Indian Red, Laurentian Pink, Barre Grey, Stanstead Grey and Mt. Rose.

Do clients order a mix of colours or one dominant colour? 

It depends on the type of sale. For streetscape projects, most clients will choose one dominant colour. However, cemetery clients often choose a wide variety.


Is there a difference between the permanence  of different granite colours? 

Some. Not all. Blue and green granites tend to fade once exposed to the natural elements. Black also has a tendency to lighten up a bit. In summary, blue will remain blue, green will be green and black will be black, but the hue or tone may change slightly over time.


Are there any colours that need more restoration and clean-up? 

The colour itself doesn’t cause the granite to require more or less restoration, or clean-up over time. However, the location in which it’s installed definitely affects this. For example, granite installed in a shady, damp part of a cemetery or streetscape can be expected to develop moss or moisture staining on the surface much more quickly than a memorial installed in a bright open area of the same cemetery or street.

Will we ever see new colours in granite? 

As quarries expand and grow, we expect to see more variation and new colours over time, for sure.


Are there any new techniques that are creating new granite colours? 

There are not many new finishes or textures to be found in the industry. Granite has been around a long time! The colour we get is whatever Mother Nature has is store for us. We can’t do a lot to change that unless we use different finishes to create a variety of tones.


What are the granite trends to look out for?

We expect high demand for black granite to continue into the foreseeable future. For streetscape and architectural use, we expect to see more use of light colours, particularly light greys such as Barre Grey, Imperial Grey or Stanstead Grey. This is because of the stones’ high SRI (Solar reflective index) – meaning its light colour absorbs less heat than dark granites.


Which is your favourite granite colour? 

We love them all here at HGH but it definitely depends on the application. American Black or Cat’s Eye is stunning in a monument, but for streetscape projects Platinum Black and Cambrian Black pack a punch.

Are there any HGH projects that have a particularly dramatic use of colour? 

The Four Seasons Hotel project will always be one of our favourites. For obvious reasons!


Contact us today

Did you know that we at HGH Granite have been providing granite services for the last 90 years? Our vision and business model have helped build a loyal customer base that relies on our expertise and quality workmanship. Over the years, our team has grown with like-minded individuals that share the same passion for providing outstanding granite products and services. Let us help build you your vision.

The Benefits of Ordering Ahead of Time

There’s a saying that goes ‘Punctuality is the soul of business’. 

We agree. Although we’d also add ‘People’ and ‘Product’.

At HGH, we pride ourselves on getting our valued customers’ orders to them right on time.

It’s integral to the success of a project, shows respect to our customers, and is key to our own ongoing business success. 

However, it’s a busy time in the world of granite right now, and we wanted to let you know that an increased demand for delivery – both domestically and internationally – is resulting in delays and increased lead times on granite.


What does this look like?

Domestic orders for granite – which previously took 6-8 weeks – and international orders, which took 3-4 months, both now have a current lead time of 5 to 7 months. 

The exception to this is on these granite colours: Mt. Rose, Red Deer Mahogany, and Laurentian Pink – whose lead times currently exceed 7 months. 


What factors have led to the delays?

There has been a significant increase in domestic orders, particularly with more complex pieces – such as P5 special shapes monuments, sculptures and polished margin bases – that would typically have been ordered from overseas. And these are creating a backlog in production due to the additional time they require to create.

Quarries and plants are facing a serious shortage of available workers (a knock-on effect of the pandemic), and this is also a big issue – with not enough labour coming into the workforce to fill the gaps. There’s also been a drop in the availability of trucks to ship raw material and finished product.

All of which has created the perfect storm for delays. Which brings us too…


The benefits of ordering ahead of time

We know it’s not always easy to plan ahead – that sometimes you need something, and you need it now. However, in the current climate, the benefits of ordering granite ahead of time can mean the difference between a completed or postponed project.

Getting your orders to us well in advance – 7 to 8 months ahead of time, being optimal – will result in successful projects and happy clients. Consider placing an order in October or November and have it arrive just in time for spring sales. 



We’ve got this

Just to reassure you, we’re constantly monitoring the current situation so as to minimize disruption to your orders. We hope the above information has been helpful but if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Contact us today

Did you know that we at HGH Granite have been providing granite services all over Ontario for the last 90 years? Our vision and business model have helped build a loyal customer base that relies on our expertise and quality workmanship. Over the years, our team has grown with like-minded individuals that share the same passion for providing outstanding granite products and services. Let us help build you your vision today.

How Hand Sculpting Can Bring A Monument To Life

Granite has been used to construct some of the world’s most beautiful and durable monuments, sculptures, public artworks, and landmarks – due to its versatility, natural beauty and durability. These days many granite businesses – HGH being one – are equipped with new tech and equipment to support the design process, using solutions, such as:

  • CAD based design progams
  • CNC cutting and milling
  • 3D modelling software

But there are some projects when nothing less than the hand-sculpted work of a master craftsperson will do. At HGH, our craftspeople use the following tools regularly to create striking sculptures with natural stone:

  • Air Hammer: pneumatic hammers provide maximum power and are used with a selection of carbide chisels for removing layers of excess material from granite to reveal a more defined and refined pattern or design in the stone. Pneumatic hammers range in size, making them suitable for roughing large applications down to projects that require detail and precision.
  • Chisels: pneumatic diamond and carbide chisels are used for bushing, cutting and roughing and come in a range of sizes and styles. They are generally used in multiple steps of the sculpting process to create the shape. For the fine artistic details, a sculptor selects chisels with finer tips to allow them to carve out small, intricate areas.
  • Die Grinder: a sculptor will use a die grinder and attach diamond plated wheels and diamond blades to shape and create the final artistic details of a project. As the finer details take shape, using smaller sized blades allows the sculptor to produce the final definition.

A look at some of our favourite hand sculpting projects

We’ve had the privilege of working on a variety of iconic monuments and projects throughout our history. Here are just a few….

Maanjidowin (The Gathering), Toronto

The Maanjidowin sculpture, which sits in a lofty position beside the ferry terminal that takes passengers from the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to downtown Toronto on the mainland, was commissioned by PortsToronto to honour the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and their relationship to the land, air and water (on which the airport now operates).

The sculpture – created by David M. General, Mohawk Nation, Wolf Clan of the Six Nations – features three mythical fishers who’ve arrived at Toronto’s Lake Ontario shoreline to fish. The canoe in which they sit is inscribed with words and symbols signifying the Mississaugas’ guiding principles. The animals were hand-polished in India, and HGH provided the granite and engraved the finished artwork.

Markham Veterans Square, Markham, Ontario

This historic cenotaph was reimagined, refurbished and unveiled as part of a new multi-functional site to honour Markham Veterans in 2018. The memorial serves as a gathering place for the community and stands tall alongside Veterans Square. We provided the granite, and our craftspeople hand-shaped each of the oak leaves.

Moccasin Identifier, Trillium Park, Toronto

Trillium Park on Toronto’s iconic waterfront comprises 7.5 acres of public green space, filled with native trees, plants, flowers and beautiful sedimentary rocks and boulders. Inspired by the Ontario landscape itself, the park was designed in consultation with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. The Ravine with Moccasin Identifier comprises two stone walls connected by a bridge that frames Lake Ontario and forms the gateway to the park. A celebration of First Nations’ heritage and culture, the moccasin identifier engraved into the stone is a visual reminder to recognize and honour the past. HGH provided the granite on this project and our craftspeople engraved the large-scale moccasins onto the Ravine’s granite walls.

Joseph Brant Museum sculpture, Burlington, Ontario

We sourced granite from our partners in India for this sculpture by indigenous artist David M General, which will sit outside the Joseph Brant Museum in Ontario. The figurines were hand-polished in India and HGH will carry out the final installation.

Hand Sculpting Inspiration

Looking for more hand sculpting examples? Take a look at the below showcase of projects HGH has collaborated on.

Contact us today

Did you know that we at HGH Granite have been providing granite services all over Ontario for the last 90 years? Our vision and business model have helped build a loyal customer base that relies on our expertise and quality workmanship. Over the years, our team has grown with like-minded individuals that share the same passion for providing outstanding granite products and services. Let us help build your vision.