Hands On Learning: Woodworking Classes in Canada

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

Education 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.

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.

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)

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)

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)

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)

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 itabc.ca/site3.aspx

Manitoba: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Entrepreneurship, Training, and Trade Toll Free: 877-978-7233 manitoba.ca/tradecareers

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

Newfoundland and Labrador: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Division of Institutional and Industrial Education 709-729-2350 ed.gov.nl.ca/app

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

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

Nunavut: Government Trade Certification for Woodworking Trades Adult Learning & Post Secondary Services Arviat, Nunavut 867-857-3050 edu.gov.nu.ca

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 education.gov.yk.ca

Woodworking Schools Across Canada

Location City/Province Contact
Lee Valley Tools Locations across Canada 800-267-8761
Black Forest Wood Company Calgary, AB 403-255-6044


NAIT Edmonton, AB 877-333-NAIT


Quiet Woodworking Cochrane, AB 403-870-8331


Inside Passage Roberts Creek, BC 877-943-9663


Island School of Building Arts Gabriola Island, BC 250-247-8942 logandtimberschool.com/courses.php
Selkirk College 8 Locations in BC 888-953-1133 ex. 245
Summit School Qualicum, BC 888-901-9903


The Copper Nail Wooden Boat Shop Slocan, BC 250-355-0035


The Joint WoodworkingStudio Vancouver, BC 604-877-2255
Wood to Works Courtenay, BC BowRiverWoods.com
Pembina Valley Luthiers La Riviere, MB 204-242-2695


Prairie Carvers Association Winnipeg, MB 205-489-0149
Canadian School of Lutherie Toronto, ON 416-333-7557


Nova Scotia Wildlife Carvers and Artists Association Halifax and Truro, NS 902-835-8846
Bear Mountain Boat Shop Peterborough,ON 705-740-0470 bearmountainboats.com
Bear Wood Canoes Parry Sound, ON 705-732-1273


Birchbark Canoe Shop Whitefish, ON 705-929-4299
Lado Musical, Inc. Lindsay, ON 705-878-3472


Mapleseed Gallery Owen Sound, ON 519-270-5531


Marquetry Sociaty of Canada Courses in ON and AB 905-643-4327
Canadian School of French Marquetry Cowichan Bay, BC 250-748-1033


MacLachlan Woodworking Museum Kingston, ON 613-542-0543 woodworkingmuseum.ca
Mohawk College Hamilton, ON 888-385-4295


Passion for Wood Acton, ON 519-853-2027


Pat Wolfe Log Building School Lanark, ON 613-256-4997


Paul Ross Woodturning Bloomfield, ON 613-393-1795 paulrosswoodturning.com
Rosewood Studio Perth, ON 613-264-9900


Bruand Lutherie Longueuil, QC 450-679-2631


Timeless Instruments Tugaske, SK 888-TUGASKE timelessinstruments.com


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