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Blacksmith non-profit group on Vancouver Island builds on legacy of historic trade

It may seem like a trade from years gone by, but blacksmiths are still hammering out a place for themselves in the 21st century.

Vancouver Island Blacksmiths Association (VIBA) is a non-profit group whose intent is to keep the art and trade of blacksmithing alive – on the Island and beyond.

The association provides a vehicle to maintain blacksmithing in the community and to pass down its historically rich knowledge base by demonstrating at local events and workshops.

“It’s not necessarily a profession anymore – but it is a craft of worth,” said Rob Sainsbury, vice-president of VIBA.

Smiths exemplify their skill and art-making at a variety of events, including the Saanich Fair, heritage festivals, and schools.

“One of our success stories is we had a kid come in at age 15 who’s now coming up on 20, he’s a very skilled blacksmith,” said Sainsbury. “It’s something that he comes and does as a form of therapy and creative outlet.”

The association also hosts meetings held once a month at the Luxton Fairgrounds in Langford to share in technique and equipment innovations.

Members meet at the shop on Wednesday evenings to practice or work on projects.

To learn more or to become a member visit

ALSO READ: Canon purchases Central Saanich company for $341 million

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Megan Atkins-Baker

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Megan Atkins-Baker

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