I work for a small company that does restorations for Heritage Board houses and churches in Toronto.
I deal mostly with the repair of historical buildings, whether to brickwork or stone architectural features. Heritage masonry is a lost art here. It's pretty gratifying to work on a building that's 100 or 200 years old. Reproducing architectural features through masonry is really challenging but rewarding work.
I have a geography degree from the University of Guelph, with a minor in environmental studies, which led me into the office world. But I knew I would go crazy in an office.
When I was a kid, I'd buy a toy and take it apart as soon as I got home. I've always had an interest in the historical aspect of craftsmanship. One of my hobbies is restoring historical motorcycles, and I build my own furniture instead of going to Ikea.
I took an architectural technician diploma at George Brown. You learn the technicalities and the methodologies, but it's not until you get on site that you get to implement what you've learned. In school they focus on creating simple designs that can be mass-produced quickly at reasonable cost. I was never interested in that, so historical restoration is something I pursued on my own.
The work we do allows people to live downtown without constructing new houses. When you compare a historical building that's over 100 years old with new builds whose materials have a lifespan of less than 50 years, you see more sustainability in something that's historic.