Carpenter


Carpentry is part of contracting, but I had never been paid a wage as a carpenter till I came to Edmonton. In those days Edmonton was boom city. The $6 an hour I earned was four times the rate a carpenter would earn in England. The money was nice, but I was mainly interested in learning how it was done in Canada while looking for opportunities. I intentionally worked for a variety of employers involved in various aspects of construction.

There was a provincial scheme for assembling land and reselling lots to small contractors and private individuals who wanted to build their own house. So, I built myself a house.

Carpentry tends to be a highly physical occupation which leaves one exhausted in the evenings. I moved to cabinet making. First I worked as an installer for other companies, and then I made cabinets in the basement of my new house and then I needed more space so I rented a shop.

I went back into carpentry when house sales went through the floor in Toronto and sales of new kitchens fell to a trickle. I joined the Carpenter's and Joiners Union #77 in Toronto. Union members tend to work on bigger jobs and these last longer, which is important when the economy is in a tail spin. The downside is that union work is generally speaking boring. Added to this is that most of the work was downtown Toronto which meant traveling three hours a day.