Knocking on wood

Canadians love wood.

As inhabitants of a resource rich country, Canadians have reaped the benefit of expansive forests. Not only do we build shelter from wood, but it encompasses a significant part of our trade economy.

One of Canada’s largest treasures the Boreal Forest, has 180 million acres occupied by resource-dependent industries such as mining, oil, forestry and hydropower1.

But it's still a dwindling commodity due to urban sprawl, industrialization and clear-cutting.


Source: Canadian Business. Photographer: John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/Canadian Press


Acknowledging the preciousness of this resource, many Canadian artists, architects and interior designers now recognize and showcase only natural materials that have been reclaimed.

These salvaged materials are now being incorporated into a variety of residential purposes.


Built by Toronto Island wood enthusiast, Bryan Jones, this piece was made from salvaged Toronto Island Apple Wood and an upcycled sewing machine base. (Photo taken by author)


One Toronto company uses wood solely salvaged from dead/dying Toronto trees.

Snake Island Furniture is “committed to reclaiming, reusing and re-envisioning distinctive pieces of wood rescued from Toronto’s deadfall”2.

Their arborist, Tyler Ganton, is the artist behind this operation. 


Source: Wecaretreecare


Table made from from Butternut and Black Walnut 


Some of their wood salvage is sourced from the Toronto Islands, where limbs from Weeping Willows are re-purposed into beautiful furniture.


Desk made from Cherry and Willow 

As Canada's economies diversify into the information, services and technology realms, is it possible we might increasingly honour our resource-based wood economy more sensitively through our design?

Could this trend towards salvaged and repurposed wood be a reflection of our nostalgic feeling towards our pioneering history?

Without question, Canada's history of resource extraction does play into our identity.

I believe our desire and respect in using minimally processed, salvaged wood marries our past with the rising needs for eco-conscious future.


Stool made from  Black Locust and Red Oak


Written and researched by Larisa Nagelberg, graduate of Environmental and Human Geography from The University of Toronto


Visit Snake Island Furniture's website by clicking HERE 
To learn more about their arborist and woodworker, Tyler Ganton, visit:



1. Badiou, P., Baldwin, R., Carlson, M., Darveau, M., Drapeau, P., Gaston, K., Jacobs, J., Kerr, J., Levin, S.,     
           Manseau, M., Orians, G., Pimm, S., Possingham, H., Raven, P., Reid, F., Roberts, D., Root, T., Roulet, N., Schaefer, J., Schinder, D., Strittholt, D., Turner, N. & Wells, J. (2013). Conserving the World’s              Last Great Forest Is Possible: Here’s How [PDF document]. The International Boreal Conservation Science Panel and associates. Retrieved from                                                        content/uploads/2013/07/conserving-last-great-forests1.pdf

2. Snake Island Furniture. Retrieved from



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