A men’s community workshop
on Salt Spring Island, BC

―   215 Members   ―
154 Kings Lane
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Described as workshop-type spaces containing tools and materials that men can use to make or fix things, to work on a variety of crafts, or just to tinker away, Men’s Sheds are public places for men to socialize "shoulder to shoulder" and improve their well-being.

As one man expressed it: "Somewhere to go. Something to do. Someone to talk to."

The Men’s Shed concept has already proven to be a success in many other communities. There are presently 40 Men’s Sheds in British Columbia and 2,800 worldwide.

Target Demographics

Although all men and others who identify as men are welcome, Men’s Sheds are particularly meant to reach at-risk men who may not easily make connections in their community otherwise:

  • Men who have complex needs
    due to aging
  • Men suffering from disabilities
  • Men suffering from depression
  • Men with other health issues
  • Men who are returning after spending time at an institutional facility
  • Immigrant men and refugees
  • Men with social anxiety
  • Homeless men
  • Men in low socioeconomic circumstances
  • Divorced men
  • Men with addictions
  • Men who are being abused

Most Men’s Shed members tend to be senior citizens.

Men gather for a demonstration on the proper technique to sharpen woodworking tools with precision.


Membership in a Men’s Shed is only for men and others who identify as men. Just as women’s groups and services exist because women often feel accepted when they are pre-approved on the basis of their gender, men (although they are perhaps less likely to express this) also may benefit from feeling a sense of belonging when they are exclusively surrounded by other men.

However, the Salt Spring Men’s Shed is on the lookout for a female organizer who is passionate about starting a Women’s Shed at a different location. The Salt Spring Men’s Shed is ready to offer support and resources, including help with organization, administration, network building, funding, promotional activities, and more. The organizer will need to find the specific location for the Women’s Shed.

Anyone interested in this opportunity is encouraged to get in touch with the Salt Spring Men’s Shed for further information and aid in setting up a Women’s Shed.

It’s worth mentioning that the Salt Spring Men’s Shed is already lending support to someone working on establishing a Women’s Shed in Duncan, and is aware of multiple other thriving Women’s Sheds that have been established elsewhere.

Lastly, there is a shared workspace available to both men and women at the former Middle School, The Space: SSI Community Resilience Hub, for those interested.

Equality and Diversity

The Salt Spring Men’s Shed is intended to be inclusive of all population groups among men.
No distinction will be made based on:

Aims and Objectives

"Health By Stealth"

In literature for health practitioners, Men’s Sheds are recognized for their positive and therapeutic aspects. They are included in the national health strategies of countries such as Australia and Ireland.

Participants benefit through:

Membership in a Men’s Shed can break down the social isolation and stigma that are associated with various health conditions. Men can discuss their concerns with other men; participate in health screenings; find information about illnesses, community resources, and support services in a rack of leaflets; or learn vital information from health promotion officers or educators. All health-related events at the Salt Spring Men’s Shed would be subject to the approval of the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Areas of education and/or prevention include:

Typically, about 30% of Men’s Shed members are disabled.

Social Benefits

As men participate in a Men’s Shed, they strengthen their social skills:

There's something truly satisfying about learning a new skill and mastering it to achieve perfection.

Community Impact

Men’s Sheds benefit the population at large. They become places where people outside the group can find a tremendous amount of expertise, along with a willingness to be of service to the community. Men’s Shed members like to be useful and accept building projects such as:

"The kids are going to love this!"

Men’s Sheds in other regions have also started Tool Libraries, delivered hospital beds, and repaired furniture.

Moreover, family members who are concerned about their husbands’, fathers’, and brothers’ quality of life can find respite as their relatives discover a daytime activity, comradeship, and support outside the home.

Finally, establishing a Men’s Shed on the island should reduce the demand for other senior-focused and institutional living services. Men’s Shed members become healthier overall and extend their ability to live independently.

Project #1: Build a storage unit for the shed ― with whatever wood is available.

Restoring an old plow. "It’ll be good for another 100 years!"

How The Shed Is Used

As a Creative Space

Although woodworking is probably the foremost activity at a Men’s Shed, it is by no means the only one. Members also work on various other handicrafts, such as metalworking, jewelry-making, repairing electronics, candle-making, leatherwork, calligraphy, origami, paper crafts, or toy-making.

As an Area for Socializing

Arguably even more important than the creative space is a sitting area to accommodate members and visitors. There, they can engage in conversation, have a cup of coffee, or play a card game.

It’s time for a cuppa and some laughter.

For Special Events

Periodically, the Salt Spring Men’s Shed may want to organize events. These may include:

Many events will be open to the entire public.

Naturally, the Men’s Shed will fully comply with the guidelines that are set out both by a landlord and by the Provincial Health Services Authority.


Continued success will depend upon strong and trusted partnerships. Thus far, the following parties have agreed to a partnership, or expressed their support, to ensure the success of a Salt Spring Men’s Shed:

Copper Kettle


The Salt Spring Men's Shed has received funding from the following organizations:

Letters of Support

Copper Kettle
Salt Spring Community Health
Salt Spring Community Services
Elizabeth May

Income Streams For Ongoing Operations

To create a barrier-free space, membership in the Salt Spring Men’s Shed is available free of charge.

The Salt Spring Men’s Shed expects to generate income in the following ways:

Income Resulting from Donations

The Salt Spring Men’s Shed will depend on donations from members and residents.

Income Resulting from the Sale of Donated Tools and Materials

Like other Men’s Sheds, we expect a partial source of funding to be from the sale of items that were donated by members, or by people in the community who may be downsizing or just cleaning house. We will offer to pick up these items and repair or refurbish them for resale.

Income Resulting from Selling Created Items and Rendering Services

A significant number of Men’s Shed projects will be done for the community. Some will create items that are intended to be sold, some will be on "contract", some will be done for cookies, and some will be entirely free and result in a spontaneous donation.

Examples include: constructing birdhouses, picnic tables, docks, greenhouses, sheds, furniture, and boardwalks; repairing or refurbishing household appliances; repairing and maintaining outboard motors; installing ramps and wheelchair lifts; and removing snow.

Legal Status

The Salt Spring Men’s Shed is affiliated with the Nanaimo Men’s Resource Centre (charity 876952110 RR0001), and is registered as a society.

A movement that is growing this rapidly
attracts media attention.

Some sheds grow so large
that they open a second location.


"I have lost a lot of weight since I started attending the shed. I exercise with a few men from the shed."
"...just coming to the shed and using my hands again. It allows me to stay active both mentally and physically."
"[The Men’s Shed] provides good laughs with others and craic. I enjoy engaging in different activities with others."
"[The Men’s Shed] brought me back to life. I am able to enjoy life again. I was not in a happy place in life before coming here."
"It gave me a sense of well-being and self-worth. It made me realize there is a whole new world out there when you are retired."
"It assisted me in developing social skills and coping skills with others. [We] are able to discuss problems with the men at the shed."
"[The Men’s Shed] opened me up to a lot of new activities. It’s a significant portion of my time since retirement. I have two other very close friends at the shed now. It made me want to continue staying active."
"...very helpful in meeting new people from different backgrounds. I see a lot of other men having fun and engaging in healthy conversations together while also participating in activities."
"It has allowed me to meet such a wide range of individuals."
"I have friends in the shed and talk with a few out of the shed as well. I go on walks with other members. It gets me out of the house to talk to other people."

Source: Impact of Men’s Shed on Social Participation and Health Outcomes,
Honors Thesis by Joshua Grimmer, Western Michigan University

Bicycle repair • Book restoration • Pottery and ceramics • Vintage car restoration • Lockpicking and locksmithing • Music jam sessions • Woodworking and carpentry • Painting and drawing • Metalworking • Candle making • Jewelry making • Screen printing • Creative writing and poetry • Sewing • Gardening • Card games and chess • Paper crafts • Cooking classes • Leatherworking • Discussion groups • Hiking • Model railway building • Robotics • Electronics repair • Sculpting • Food preservation • 3D printing • Photography • Wood carving • Men's choir • Fishing • Furniture restoration • Knife and sword making • Toy making • Musical instrument repair

Creative Christmas gifts.

Strangers become friends.

Safety Policy