Manufacturers of the Finest Family Memorials since 1909

THE STONE CENTRE INC - Proudly Serving Canadian Families Since 1909!
1909 - The Humble Beginnings

Our company was founded in the year 1909, by George W. Nelson & his brother Percy Nelson at Lower Cape in Albert County, New Brunswick (near the famous Hopewell Cape Rocks). The Nelson brothers initially set up their business in an old church, with the showroom and offices at the front of the building and the manufacturing facilities at the back. The company was originally known as George W. Nelson & Sons and the business was successfully operated from this location for many years. In addition to making monuments, the brothers were involved in quarrying granite, and the manufacture and installation of architectural stonework.

We are not sure exactly when George's sons Russell, Maurice and Harry joined the company. The family was quite large and Geo. W. Nelson & Sons directly employed several members of the immediate and extended family, whilst others became involved in related stone working industry companies, such as cemetery lettering, or making speicalized tools and equipment for the monument industry.

The photo at the left was taken in 1950. Left to right are: Harry Nelson, Russell Nelson, Carl Nelson and Jim Preston.

By the mid 1950s, Geo. W. Nelson & Sons had become the largest monument & stoneworking company in the Maritimes, and they were actively quarrying, manufacturing and selling memorials and other stonework on both a wholesale and retail basis.
1957 - Hampstead / Spoon Island / Evandale Grey Quarry Purchased

The famous Spoon Island or Hampstead quarry was purchased. This quarry first started production in 1841 and the distinctive grey granite, commonly known as Coral Dawn, was used to construct bridges and buildings throughout the Maritimes, many of which are still standing. The stone from this quarrry was used to construct the Sir John A. MacDonald monument in Kingston, Ontario and more recently it supplied the stone for the causeway to Prince Edward Island.
1959 - The Big Move - Building a New Manufacturing Facility in Sussex, New Brunswick

At some point in the late 1950s, the local government decided to heavily tax the one and only thriving business in town. The building was getting older and the taxation issue was a major thorn in the side, so the family decided to look for a new location and they found one, in Sussex, New Brunswick. Sussex was growing and the prospect of a new employer in town was welcomed by the local authorities. In 1959, ground was broken, a new building was constructed and the most advanced machinery and equipment of the time was purchased and installed in the new building. It was probably at this point that the company name became Nelson Monuments Ltd.
1961 - Black Granite Quarry Purchased

The Nelson's purchased a black granite quarry at Digedeguash Lake from Ken Fitzgerald and began redevelopment and quarrying operations. The Nelson's quarried for a number of years at this site, and enjoyed living at the cottages that they built on the lake, during the season's when the quarry was operational, and for a number of years after Russell retired and before Carter moved to Vermilion Bay. Russell Nelson also looked at the idea of reopening some of the historic St George quarries, but market conditions and the investment that would have been required to make them operational, eliminated that possibility.
1967 Heritage Memorials Started

By this time Russell & Maurice Nelson were the owners of the company, but the years of growth, expansion and plain old hard work began to take their toll on the relationship. Harry and Maurice moved to Windsor, Nova Scotia and built a new manufacturing plant in Windsor, Nova Scotia to concentrate on the Nova Scotia market. They have also continued the family traditions of quarrying their own granites and Heritage Memorials is today, one of Atlantic Canada's largest monument companies.
1970s Nelson Monuments Ltd.

Russell's sons, Merrill, Eric, Carter purchased 75 % of their fathers shares in Nelson Monuments. Russell was semi retired but still working in Sussex and he assisted with prospecting and planning for new quarries. Merrill was responsible for the manufacturing operations in Sussex, Eric was responsible for sales and travelled extensively sourcing granite from overseas,Carter looked after the quarrying. Garth joined the company in 1970 at age 13, working part time after school in the plant. Three years later, when he was just 16 years old, he went to work full time in the Evandale (Spoon Island) quarry. In 1976, Russell offered to sell his remaining 25% share in the company to Garth and by this time Garth was back in Sussex, working full time in the plant and learning all phases of manufacturing memorials.

In 1979, when Garth was just 22, he was transferred to Moncton, New Brunswick to learn the ropes as a territory sales manager. By that point he already had 9 years of quarrying and manufacturing experience under his belt. His wife Allison joined the company in August of 1979, working as the branch manager of the Moncton showroom.

During this time, the Nelson's were actively prospecting for granite deposits and looking at possible quarries in New Brunswick, Ontario, and overseas. The area with the most potential for a viable, new quarrying operation, was identified by Carter and Russell Nelson, in Vermilion Bay, Ontario.
1980 Nelson Granite Quarry opened in Vermilion Bay, Ontario

The Nelson's staked their claim, purchased the land in Vermilion Bay, Ontario. Carter Nelson and his family moved there to begin quarry development and build a manufacturing plant, an operation that became known as Nelson Granite. This quarry is now one of the largest and most successful, producing granite quarries in North America and a major percentage of their granite is exported to the USA and overseas. The block shown in the photo at the left was produced in 1983 and weighed in at 53200 lbs (nearly 24 tons). To give you an idea of what the weight of this block represents, the average full tractor trailer load of granite weighs about 44,000 lbs. The Nelson Granite quarries are capable of producing very large, evenly squared blocks with a very low waste factor, something that is unusual and considered very desirable by those who work in the granite industry.
1982 Branch Office in St Johns, Newfoundland Opened

Garth and Allison Nelson moved in Feb 1982 to St Johns, Newfoundland. Allison worked as branch manager of the new sales display that she and Garth opened in St Johns in March of 1982 and Garth worked as the sales manager for the province of Newfoundland.
1982 Retail Operations started in Ontario

In the summer of 1982, it was decided that the company would do an expansion into the Ontario market. Garth and Allison Nelson were transferred to Ontario in the fall of 1982 to start up the Ontario division of the company. Allison spent a several months working at head office in Sussex during the transition, learning about computers on the main frame computer that had just been installed in a special dust free, temperature regulated room in the Sussex office. This computer was one of the first to be used by a monument company in North America, and Nelson Monuments was one of a handful of companies in New Brunswick with a main frame computer.

In November of 1982, Garth & Allison opened a sales office on Victoria Street North in Kitchener, Ontario. A lettering plant was opened shortly after that, in 3000 sq feet of rented industrial space in Waterloo. Sales grew at an unprecedented rate (we topped Small Business magazine's frontrunner for growth, in both 1983 and 1984!) and in 1984 the sales office was moved to Colby Drive in Waterloo so that it would be located with the manufacturing operations.
1985 & 1986 The Stone Centre's New Manufacturing Facility & Showroom in Kitchener, Ontario

By 1985, with sales going very well, things became very crowded in the 3000 sq ft space on Colby Drive. It quickly became apparent that a company owned, stand alone manufacturing operation, with some land for outdoor storage was going to be required. Garth and Allison located and purchased land on Bridge Street East, in the Township of Woolwich, the proper zoning was acquired and construction of the new building began. Manufacturing commenced in the new building during the spring of 1986 and this location is now our permanent home, and base of operations. It is nice to note that several of the sales representatives & other people who joined us in those early days, are still working with us, some 30 years later!
1992 Ideal Monuments, Lambton Memorials & Dale Monuments Acquired

The purchase of Ideal Monuments and Lambton Memorials, was finalized in March of 1992. We also acquired Dale Monuments in the same year. Ideal Monuments had been in leased premises on Springbank Drive in London for many years, but the building was in poor condition. We stayed in the old location until the lease ran out, and then moved to the much nicer, more modern quarters that were acquired through the purchase of Dale Monuments. Some twenty years later, Ideal Monuments is still operating successfully from this location.
1995 Butterfly Agreement to Reorganize Shareholders for the Various Divisions is Completed.

Merrill & Eric Nelson become the sole shareholders of Nelson Monuments, Atlantic Canada division, Carter Nelson & his son Nevin Nelson become the sole shareholders of Nelson Granite and Garth Nelson became the sole shareholder of The Stone Centre Inc.
1997 Stone Centre Inc Showroom opened in St Catharines

A new showroom to service the St Catharines and Niagara Region was opened on Carlton Street in the front of the Buns Master Plaza.
1998 Lambton Memorials Renovations Completed

Lambton Memorials was at one time a small old fashioned one man shop. The outdated shop area was removed in 1998 and the entire building renovated and converted into a more attractive office and display area.
2001 Brantford Monuments Acquired

We love old stone houses and this one came with an added bonus! An existing monument business was attached to the house and the owner wished to retire and contacted us. This classic cobblestone house had an attached shop and showroom and the old shop areas have been converted in recent years to a larger, more attractive showroom.
2001 Nelson Monuments Ltd in Sussex, New Brunswick is sold to Inouk Imbeault.

Merrill & Eric Nelson were sole shareholders of this operation and decided to retire, and sold their shares to outside interests. Nelson Monuments has continued in operation but is no longer owned by the Nelson family. Although it was sad to see this part of the company pass to outside hands, we are glad that the new owner has kept it going, and we wish him all the best.
2005 Shantz Memorials, Shuh Memorials & Galt Monuments Acquired

2006 Heritage Memorials of Perth County Acquired (NOT related to Heritage Memorials in Atlantic Canada)

This property is presently undergoing renovations. A new exterior and a pitched roof have been added, the office has been completed and and interior showroom area is presently under construction. Please excuse our mess while this work is in progress.
2007 Galt Monuments Moved to a New Location in Cambridge

The former City of Cambridge Pump House was purchased, the property was rezoned, a new cedar roof was put on, and the house was renovated in a manner that retained and respected the Heritage Designation of the property, and yet allowed us to use the property as our new showroom.
2009 The Stone Centre Inc & other Nelson Family Companies Celebrate Their 100th Year of Business!

From their humble beginnings in a small village in Albert County, New Brunswick, the Nelson family has built an amazing group of companies. Most are still owned and operated by the family and they are all strong, viable companies to this day. With varied operations that encompass everything from quarrying, manufacturing, cemetery lettering and even making the equipment used by monument makers throughout North America, the family has an interesting and unusual place in the history of the monument industry.

This 100th year also marked the installation of a new piece of equipment at the Kitchener plant. A top of the line, Allen Datagraph laser etching machine was installed, so that laser etchings could be done in house, rather than sending the work out to Quebec to be done. To date, there are only a handful of laser machines operating in the province and The Stone Centre is the only company in Ontario with this particularly advanced machine, which is set up specifically for use on granite.
2015 Alliston Monument Works Acquired

One of our most recent acquisitions is actually one of Alliston's oldest continously operating businesses. At this point we do not know the entire story of the company, but we do know that it has a long history of being owned and operated as a family business. Our company has been continously owned and operated by the Nelson family since 1909 and we intend to continue that tradition with Alliston Monument Works. If anyone has old photos, artifacts or information regarding this company and would like to share this with us, we would be most grateful.

The building that was widely recognized in town, as the Alliston Monument Works, was constucted in 1901. We do not know what year the business was relocated to it's present address. The original building was designated as a historic property in 2007. It was recently restored and the interior redesigned with offices that are used by the Chamber of Commerce and the Alliston Business Improvement Association.

A nice photo of the original building as it stands today, can be found at the architect's website at and we think they have done a very nice job with preserving the exterior and make the small interior into a very attractive usable space.
2016 Glenmount Memorials, Port Colborne

With two well established locations in the area, Glenmount Memorials has been a very nice addition to our family. The experienced staff there have been truly a pleasure to work with!

Glenmount Memorials has a long tradition of making beautiful family memorials and that is something that we are also very good at. As part of The Stone Centre Inc, Glenmount Memorials now has access to the largest inventory of memorials in Ontario, one of the largest collections of designs in North America and better machinery and equipment for production and delivery.

We will be posting more about the history of this company at a later date.
2016 Glenmount Memorials, Welland

This outdoor display and office in Welland, while physically our smallest office, is a very pleasant sunny welcoming space. Although the photo does not illustrate this, there is wheelchair access. The person who works in this office has many years of experience in monument design and she is one of the nicest people to work with. This location is very easy to get to, as it is on a well known street and close to the local cemeteries.