In a shed, men get together for activities like woodworking projects, cooking, bike repairs, music, and yelling at the television during the playoffs. The movement started in Australia in 2007, expanding their tradition of backyard sheds into collaborative, communal spaces. Since then, the Australian Men’s Shed Association has grown to over 900 member sheds. Other places with large Men’s Shed movements include Ireland, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Scotland. We aim to see a similar movement develop here in Canada.
Doug Mackie founded the first Canadian shed in 2011 in Winnipeg. Doug recognized that many men in his community had both time on their hands and a tendency to suffer from isolation, loneliness, and depression. This was especially true after they retired as many men tie big parts of their identities to their careers. Since starting MenSheds Manitoba, Doug has helped men come together, stay productive, and contribute to the community—all of which are keys to good overall health.
Above all, men's sheds are what we make them. Sheds are:
- A gathering place for men of purpose. And others.
- Usually involving a work space. For those who don’t have one or have had to give theirs up.
- Productive. Maybe.
- A place to change the world. Definitely.
- A helping hand. You bet.
Sheds are not:
- A formal training program. But you may gain some knowledge and skills.
- A sports club. But you may play sports.
- A health program. But your health and well-being may improve.
- An information service. But you may ask questions.
- A service for men. But you might be of service to others or get advice and support from time to time.
Sheds aim to be:
- Independent. We welcome help from others as long as there are no strings attached.
- A benefit to the community. We will give more than we get.
- Inclusive. All are welcome.
The goal of the Canadian Men’s Sheds Association is to build a sheds movement in Canada. The CMSA started in 2015 with Doug Mackie, Duncan Stickings, David Hall, Wes Haslitt, David Milloy, Florent Legault, and Steve Suderman, with support from the Movember Foundation and the Aging and Mental Health Lab at the University of Manitoba. We aim to do this by connecting existing sheds, helping to start new ones, and raising awareness of their many benefits to social, physical, and emotional health. If you’re interested in joining our peer-run organization of volunteers and building the movement, please get in touch.
The toolkit on this site and a formal evaluation of the Men’s Sheds Program was led by the University of Manitoba’s Dr. Corey Mackenzie, Dr. Kerstin Roger, Mary Anne Nurmi, Kristin Reynolds, John Evoy, and James Urquhart, in consultation with members of the CMSA. For questions about the research or toolkit, please contact Dr. Mackenzie through the Aging and Mental Health Lab website.
Photography throughout this site was provided by Doug Mackie and Steve Suderman.