Hands-On Learning: Provincial Education Resources
Listed here are many of the informative and entertaining woodworking and wood-related classes that Canada has to offer. The list is by no means exhaustive; many courses are found only by word of mouth. Sometimes a master craftsman is happy to take a private student if you just ask. I found a woodworker at a local lumberyard who was willing to give me private lessons.
From Sea to Sea
Lee Valley offers in-store seminars across the country ranging in topic from beginner scroll sawing to picture framing, and much more. They’re an affordable way to get acquainted with a subject. (Photo by Lee Valley Tools)
Inside Passage, just outside of Vancouver, B.C., offers a seven-week ‘artisan program’ and a nine-month ‘Craftsman Program’ based mainly on the teachings of the late James Krenov. (Photo by Inside Passage)
Music to Your Ears
The Canadian School of Lutherie offers classes on building and repairing guitars. Classes range in duration from one day to one year. (Photo by The Canadian School of Lutherie)
Rosewood Studio, in Perth, Ont., offers classes ranging in duration from a weekend to nine months. It also brings in many woodworking experts to teach focused classes. (Photo by Ron Barter)
Also included here is the contact information by province for learning more about taking classes and pursuing an apprenticeship in the wood trades: carpentry and cabinet making. These two trades are both considered “red seal” trades. Once you get certified, your certification is accepted across Canada without the need for further testing.
The main purpose of this article is to list “hobby” or non-trade woodworking classes. Some classes are small and some are large. Some have a cosmopolitan international group of students (Inside Passage and Rosewood Studio), and others have an international group of teachers (Black Forest Wood Company). Some classes are usually one-on-one (Birchbark Canoe Company). Most welcome woodworkers of all skill levels.
The variety of woodworking courses that exists is surprising. The Nova Scotia Wildlife Carvers have a course just on carving fish. The Island School of Building Arts has a course on building custom doors. A little homework reveals that there are courses to suit everyone’s taste, schedule and wallet.
In addition, clubs and guilds almost always offer short seminars on different techniques. So joining a local woodworking club, association or guild is a great way to improve your skills as well as network with other woodworkers. Keep in mind that classes sponsored by a club usually have a very low or negligible cost if you’re a member. Definitely join your local guild.
It’s great if there’s a course near you, but don’t let distance stop you. Make it a holiday to take a class and explore a part of Canada you haven’t seen. Hone your skills, learn something new, and most of all, have some fun.
Provincial Education Resources
New Brunswick: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Apprenticeship and Occupational Education
Fredericton, New Brunswick 506-453-2260
Nunavut: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Adult Learning & Post Secondary Services
Arviat, Nunavut 867-857-3050
Ontario: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
Toll Free 800-387-5514
Saskatchewan: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Apprenticeship & Trade Certification Commission
Toll Free: 877-363-0536
Yukon: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Training Programs
Toll Free: 800-661-0408
Woodworking Schools Across Canada