Canadian Woodworking

Hands-On Learning: Provincial Education Resources

Author: Cynthia White
Photos: Ron Barter
Published: October November 2012
Woodworking classes
Woodworking classes

How better to hone your skills or learn some new ones than by taking a course? There are all sorts of woodworking courses, classes, seminars and workshops across Canada to jump start your passion for woodworking.

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)

From Sea to Sea

Canadian Krenov
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)

Canadian Krenov

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)

music to your ears

Fine Furniture
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)

Fine Furniture
Mysteak lumber

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

Alberta: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Apprenticeship and Industry Training
780-427-8517 ext 4

British Columbia: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Industry Training Authority
778-785-2400

Manitoba: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Entrepreneurship, Training, and Trade
Toll Free: 877-978-7233

New Brunswick: Government Trade Certification for Wood­working Trades Apprenticeship and Occupational Education
Fredericton, New Brunswick 506-453-2260

Newfoundland and Labrador: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Division of Institutional and Industrial Education
709-729-2350

Northwest Territories: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Department of Education, Culture & Employment Programs, Government of the Northwest Territories
867-873-7552

Nova Scotia: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Labour and Advanced Education
902-424-5651

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

Quebec: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Centre administratif de la qualification professionnelle
Toll Free: 866-393-0067

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

Canadian Woodworking Schools


Cynthia White - [email protected]

Cynthia’s table project is dedicated to her shop dog, who died during its completion.

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