The Claybank Brick Plant is one of the best North American examples of an early 20th-century brickmaking complex. All of the key structures erected during the site’s development from 1912 to 1937 and much of the original brickmaking equipment and archival records survive. Using clay mined on site, the plant became a major manufacturer of fire brick and other refractory products for the railway, oil refining, power and metallurgical industries across Canada and beyond. Situated 60 km southwest of Regina, it operated between 1914 and 1989. Prominent buildings faced with the distinctive buff-coloured brick include the Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon, the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Gravelbourg, and the central tower of Quebec City’s Chateau Frontenac.
During World War II, Claybank was declared an essential war service industry, and its production focused exclusively on fire brick to line the boilers of new air-training bases and for boilers in the Corvettes and Destroyers under construction in Canada’s shipyards. After the war, new synthetic products and better steel reduced the demand for both face and fire brick, while the plant’s outdated equipment limited its production capabilities. In 1992, the abandoned complex was donated to the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation, which has partnered with Parks Canada and the Claybank Brick Plant Historical Society to preserve and interpret this industrial heritage site. It was designated as a National Historic Site in 1994.