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Tile to Tech


History + Heritage

  • Old slate roof tile for sale at Monigram Coffee Roasters
    Old slate roof tile for sale at Monigram Coffee Roasters
  • "Heron on Tile," painting by artist Lois Keir.
    "Heron on Tile," painting by artist Lois Keir.

Rebecca Soares, Conestoga College Print Journalism Student | May 22, 2018

Out with the old and in with the new! But wait – what do we do with the old?

For some, the answer comes easy. You can simply throw away the old as there’s no purpose to it anymore. But what if the old was part of a historic building?

The Old Post Office is transforming into an adaptive re-use of the space and in the process of restoration, the old slate tiles were removed from the building. Once they were removed, no one was quite sure what to do with the dreary, dark and dirty pile of rubble until a member of the community sparked a flame.

Monica Braun, one of the owners of the local coffee shop, Monigram Coffee Roasters, came up with the idea that the old slate tiles could be sold and refurbished for a variety of other uses. Not only was it a great use of the large, looming pile of rubble but also an opportunity for Idea Exchange to have raise money needed for the technology at their new location.

Monica and Graham Braun held the fundraiser at their local coffee shop and the community showed an overwhelming support for the idea. Over $5,000 was raised for technology at the Old Post Office! This technology will support STEAM programming at the new location.

Those throughout the community who purchased it have used it for a variety of reasons from entertaining to a backdrop for paintings. Artist Lois Keir, used the old slate tile for a beautiful painting of a heron.

What started out as a dirty pile of old building materials, grew into a blooming community project. It just goes to show that something old can become new again.

Thank you to Monica and Graham for helping Idea Exchange, for their time and energy facilitating the sales of the slate tiles.


Submitted by DW (not verified) on

Do you know if there any of these tiles still available for purchase?

Submitted by Laura (not verified) on

Hi -- Yes, there are still some tiles available. It is getting down to the last good ones so act fast! Just stop by Monigram Coffee Roasters (16 Ainslie St. S, Cambridge) to pick them up. Thanks!

Laura, Idea Exchange