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Heritage Retrofit Carpentry graduates work on Province House project

June 28, 2017

(L-R) Heritage Retrofit Carpentry graduates Jenna MacNeill, Steffen MacEwen, Zackery Bernard and Noah Savary examine blueprints for Province House.

Six graduates from Holland College’s Heritage Retrofit Carpentry program have been selected to work on one of Canada’s most historically significant buildings and a national landmark this summer, preparing Province House National Historic Site for major conservation work.

Province House is considered to be the birthplace of Confederation and has been the seat of Prince Edward Island’s provincial legislature since 1847. As stewards of Province House, Parks Canada is taking action to conserve the historic infrastructure of this iconic building and make it accessible to all, both today and for generations to come. Quinan Construction Ltd. of Orillia, Ontario, was awarded the $8.7 million contract for this stage of the project. Over the summer, the crew will be stabilizing the building to ensure its structural integrity during later excavations. The Holland College graduates will have the opportunity to work on many different aspects of the stabilization, gaining incredible hands-on experience under the guidance of experts from Quinan Construction.

The Heritage Retrofit Carpentry alumni are excited about working on a project with such historical significance.

“It is quite an honour to be a tradesperson working on Province House, where the Fathers of Confederation first met to discuss forming Canada,” said David Redmond, a recent graduate from the program and now a heritage carpenter on the Province House project.

Steffen MacEwen agreed, noting that this was an ideal opportunity to put the skills they learned in the Heritage Retrofit program into use.

“We have been in school to learn how to care for our built heritage, and we learned a lot,” he said. “Heritage buildings like Province House will be here for centuries to come, I am honoured to have the skills to be able to work on such a building.”Heritage Retrofit Carpentry students learn carpentry techniques and theory to allow them to work on culturally significant projects. For one whole school year, the students repair and reproduce all carpentry elements of historic buildings, including trim, doors, windows, and stairs.  The students are well versed on how to work within the standards and guidelines that serve as the guiding principles of heritage conservators.

Heritage Retrofit Carpentry students learn carpentry techniques and theory to allow them to work on culturally significant projects. For one whole school year, the students repair and reproduce all carpentry elements of historic buildings, including trim, doors, windows, and stairs.  The students are well versed on how to work within the standards and guidelines that serve as the guiding principles of heritage conservators.

Understanding these complex techniques and theories make graduates of the program ideal for such highly skilled work,” said Josh Silver, instructor for the program.

“Our students develop skills sets well beyond the normal boundaries of carpentry. By the time they graduate, they are skilled craftspeople ready to work on just about any heritage carpentry project. In the past, we have seen graduates working on a variety of historic buildings, including the Houses of Parliament. We are delighted that our graduates are working on Province House.”

Holland College graduates are benefitting from the vision set forth by Parks Canada.  Parks Canada sees the importance of supporting Island youth in mentorship for fledgling careers.  In 2015, Holland College and Parks Canada signed a memorandum of understanding in order to facilitate projects such as this one, enabling Holland College to provide invaluable training experiences to students in the Heritage Retrofit Carpentry program.  Parks Canada’s vision will not only provide today’s graduates with world class opportunities for professional development, it will keep the skills learned by these artisans in Prince Edward Island.

“These Holland College grads are participating in the Graduate Mentorship Program, which pairs graduates with mentors who can provide real-world skills training and unforgettable learning experiences in their field of study,” said Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant. “Working on the restoration of Province House is truly a once in a life time opportunity, and we are pleased to help these grads make history, while gaining work experience.”

Parks Canada is committed to telling the story of Province House and commemorating milestones, such as the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, even while the building is closed for conservation work. For more information on the conservation project or to sign up for updates, visit parkscanada.gc.ca/provincehouse.
The Graduate Mentorship Program helps unemployed post-secondary graduates by providing a temporary wage subsidy to employers who create long term employment opportunities. Funding for the Graduate Mentorship Program is provided through the Canada-PEI Labour Market Development Agreement. For more information or to apply, visit www.skillspei.com

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For more information about this release, please contact:
Sara Underwood, Media and Communications Officer
Tel: (902) 566-9695

 

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