I first realized that I had a latent skill and ability to create, and work with tools, at an early age. I was in Grade 7&8 at Kent Sr. Public School in the Industrial Arts program (aka: Shop class). Working with wood and metal came easily to me even then. At that point I decided that I wouldn’t attend the local Collegiate. It was a mere three blocks from my home. My choice was to go to the designated Technical High School, Central Technical School in Toronto. It was two busses and a subway ride each way, each day, for five years. Although I enjoyed working with tools, I was also very interested in electrical theory and electronics. That was my major option for the duration, until Grade 12. Drafting was also included in the curriculum each year of those years. This prepared a good base in planning and design skills, required in “making and building”. My parents encouraged me to go to University however, since academically I was coping in a satisfactory fashion. Grade 13 prepared me towards that goal.
In those early years, I also discovered that I enjoyed teaching and to work with young minds. This came from my experiences in the Scouting and Air Cadet movement. In each organization I advanced to work as an instructor, and earned a Commission with the Canadian Armed Forces. My goal then became to be a teacher directed through my studies. The dilemma of which direction my life and skills would take me, quickly cleared up. I was able to teach, and also became qualified to teach in the Industrial Arts field. This enabled me to teach, and also to share my skills, with my students.
My experience in the High School technological courses served me well. I was able to utilize many of the learned skills in my personal life. My wife and I purchased a cottage lot just east of Algonquin Park’s east gate. I was able to plan, design and build our family cottage. I was able to accomplish this using my own hands and with help only from family and some friends. My daughters are skilled roofers and experts in building construction. They can out dual any guy, using a skill saw, chain saw or a portable drill. Along the way I honed my skills in wood working, producing a variety of shelves, coat hooks and hangers, clocks, lamps, picture frames, benches, and more, to furnish the interior. Admirers have remarked, that I should go into the business. And so I have …
Life continues as I prepare for the next stage in my life. As my teaching career ends, I will continue to use my skills to continue the art of wood working and to share my creations with those that will appreciate them.