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Photos: Port Moody Men's Shed Society gets ready to open its doors

Men's Sheds aren't just a place for men to work on their handyman projects, they also provide mentorship and mental health benefits

Port Moody’s new Men’s Shed Society is getting ready to throw open its doors for an opening celebration and barbecue May 15.

But first it has to have doors.

Members of British Columbia’s 20th men’s shed have been hard at work converting Charlie’s Shop at the Station Museum from a storage shed to a functioning workshop where they can gather and tinker on woodworking and repair projects.

They’ve also installed new doors that will provide more security while still staying true to the shop’s original look when it was used to house an old lumber carrier from the nearby Flavelle sawmill.

Men’s Shed societies started in Australia and New Zealand in the 1990s to provide men a place to commune with each other as they kept their hands busy with handyman projects.

The mental health benefits of mentorship and support they provided quickly spread worldwide.

There’s now more than 1,000 men’s sheds in Australia, hundreds more in the U.K. and 19 in the United States as well as dozens across Canada.

"There’s a tremendous amount of skill, knowledge and experience," said Mike Jennings, of the Men’s Shed Association of B.C.

Projects on work benches range from carpentry to metal fabrication, electrical work, computer programming and even boat building.

The executive director of Station Museum, Jim Millar, said a men’s shed is a good fit for Port Moody as th city was built on the foundation of manual toil building the trans-Canada railroad as well as in its numerous early lumber mills.

Already the museum has benefited from the skills of its men’s shed neighbour, as members have done some repairs around the facility and they helped install 19 interpretive sign boards around the old Ioco townsite.