Skip to Menu


(Choose from the list below)

Main article


HOME is where the hearth is.

From heating woes to lifestyle wows!

Sketch of men sitting around a heating stove says, Let's get together on heating

Staying warm by the heating stove.
Click the image for more information.

Indoor heating played a significant yet under recognized role in the social and economic life of Canadians over the past 300 years. This exhibit endeavours for the first time to describe the evolution of heating from open fires to automated, enclosed-fire, central systems that began to appear around Canada’s first birthday in 1867 — and dramatically changed the family, social, and economic life of this new dominion from sea to sea to sea!

This new website, with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, offers all visitors a self-guided, interactive, internet-based tour of this fascinating world of man-made methods of indoor comfort — which led to the leisure lifestyles of today's society. It clearly is also about people, their lives and adaptation, hopes and dreams of a better life in this New World.

The choices of where to start, where to go next and how to participate in this unique story — in English and French — are at the fingertips of each visitor. Key menu links with dropdown topics will take you to stories throughout this exhibit — there is no start or finish. In fact, this is a “living” exhibit, neither complete nor closed, but rather “a work in progress.” This exhibit will continue to grow — with your contributions via our Feedback Form, which is available on every page (see below).

Already the site offers galleries of images, illustrations, cutaways, past and present. You will come across historic names like "octopus" furnace, or “Daisy” boiler, and a host of elegant wood stoves. Try a game, and learn from animations, audio clips and videos. Reminisce by reading about hit songs and movies of the past, historic dates and facts. Understand the key scientific principles that still form the underpinnings of heating technologies. Look ahead to see how ground-source systems, solar, and, maybe, fuel cells have a role to play.

Central automated heating (some say “automatic” heating) enabled business to work and expand year ’round, created jobs for people with less chore time, enabled leisure activities, provided comfort for students and teachers — this and much more helped make Canada the powerful economy and society it has become for the benefit of all. Enjoy, and, if you can, contribute your comments, suggestions, and updates.

Article Sources

From heating woes to lifestyle wows!

  • Research from the archives of the HVACR Heritage Centre Canada (DCSB #201).

Image Credits

From heating woes to lifestyle wows!

  • Air conditioning and refrigeration: a complete training program, Series C: Heating--Part1 (Chicago: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute, Inc., 1938), illustration, 1-1.