You may recall an earlier post on Traditional Boat Building in which I expressed some regret that there were few places teaching boat building in Canada; a country with such rich maritime traditions. Well, there is a process underway in Toronto to start up a nautical center on the Toronto waterfront that will have boat building as the core attribute of the center. It will offer public courses but its primary purpose will be to work with at risk youth teaching skills through boat building as well as learning seamanship skills.
I was contacted by Paul-Owen Fournier, who is on the Board of Directors of the organization which is called Youth Boat Works. Paul launched Youth Boat Works in 2008 with the mission to provide unique experiential nautical programs for young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds.
He is currently working to establish a permanent home and nautical center on the Toronto waterfront for Youth Boat Works, where the focus will be on youth experiential education and the promotion of advanced electric propulsion technology.
Peter Code is also on the Board of Directors. He is a master boat builder and former Olympic rower with over 15 years of boat building and teaching experience. Peter has taught traditional boat building for many years, his latest project is the building of a second Bantry Bay gig, a 39 foot french designed longboat, circa 1796. It was Peter's vision, determination and leadership in addition to his technical skill set that has allowed the Atlantic Challenge program to come to Toronto.
Youth Boatworks Canada is a registered charity with a history dating back to 1953 under the original name “The Seahawks Toronto”. It was started by WWII veterans and was focused on teaching local youth leadership skills through sailing.
Today, they continue this heritage and it has evolved into an organization whose mission is to assist young adults to develop leadership, team building and vocational job skills through the experiential process of building wooden boats and learning how to row, sail and navigate them. Their involvement with Atlantic Challenge International Gig sailing and rowing program is their flagship program.
It's wonderful to see artisan boat building skills being shared with youth and promoted in Canada!