Clinker bricks were valued for their unique appearance and used extensively in Edmonton, unlike most other places where they were considered garbage.

Clinker refers not to a style, but to a construction material that proved quite popular in Edmonton. Clinker bricks were bricks that were overfired when being made. The excessive temperatures caused minerals in the clay to form a natural glaze, with hues of red, green, yellow, and purple. Some bricks also fused together in clumps, adding to their unpredictable appearance. Unlike elsewhere in Alberta, builders in Edmonton came to value these unique bricks for the aesthetic quality they provided. Clinker bricks have been used in scores of structures in Edmonton – most commonly for Craftsman style houses – and constitute one of the only vernacular building traditions unique to Edmonton. These bricks are most commonly seen in buildings built before World War II.


  • Irregularly shaped
  • Unpredictably colored with hues of red, green, yellow, and purple
  • Harder and denser than regular bricks


Character Defining Elements

Balcony, Brackets, Brick cladding, Brick structure, Buttress, Clerestory windows, Clinker brick, Columns, Corbelling, Crenellated parapet, Date stone, Exposed rafters, Flat roof, Gable roof, Gabled parapet, Half storey, Hipped gable roof, Hipped roof, Intersecting gable roof, Irregular footprint, Metal structure, Nailed frame structure, One storey, Pier or Pillar, Porch, Pyramidal roof, Rectangular footprint, Smooth stone, Stained glass, Stone cladding, Stucco cladding, Tower, Two storeys