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Saint John Tool Library & DIY Centre. Image: Regis Phillips

Men’s Shed looks to benefit mental health and community

By Regis Phillips Apr 12, 2024 | 8:28 AM

The Saint John Tool Library & DIY Centre’s partnership with Men’s Shed Canada (MSC) looks to benefit the region.

This worldwide movement started in South Australia in the late 1990s where they were called Tinker Sheds.

These would be spaces made mostly for men fixing or restoring products, and comfortable areas where men young and old could sit and talk.

The first MSC location opened in Winnipeg in 2011, and 13 years later there are now 95 Men’s Sheds nationwide.  The Saint John location, called The Fundy Men’s Shed, is the second in Atlantic Canada and the first of its kind in New Brunswick.

Other active locations include the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Finland, Estonia, New Zealand and Greece.

Brent Harris, executive director of the Tool Library & DIY Centre, said he got an unknown phone call during Christmas from an MSC representative saying someone from England heard about his tool library that could be a good spot for a Men’s Shed.

“There was somebody who left a pretty major endowment to Men’s Shed’s Canada, and their only ask from the endowment is to plant more.  This was a gentleman from B.C. who was very impacted by the Men’s Shed and wanted to see it more active in the country,” said Harris.

Fundy Men’s Shed members meet every Monday at 10 a.m. Everyone is welcome to join whether or not they have labour and trades experience.

Harris said he hopes there will be sheds across the Saint John region while keeping Princess Street as the main headquarters.

One of Men’s Shed’s goals is to improve the members’ physical and mental health through activities. Many men suffer from isolation, loneliness and depression, and this was especially true after they retired as many men tied much of their identities to their careers.

“It’s one of those issues that affects every community. It is very consistent across Canada. For us to see those numbers and seeing the impact, it was a no-brainer,” Harris added.

Residents wanting to join the Fundy Men’s Shed can find information by clicking here.