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Pursuing A Career In Masonry & Understanding Its Legacy


Lennox Masonry of Victoria, BC building a stone wall


The construction industry offers a multitude of career avenues for young people to explore and master. And while we may be biased here at Lennox Masonry, we feel it still holds true that traditional trades such as stonemasonry and bricklaying possess a hint of magic to them. There is something very rewarding and exciting about carrying on an ancient craft that has been passed down for thousands of years and has been used to build masonry structures which still stand the test of time. Masonry in and of itself has many facets to master and while it's possible to become a sort of jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the various branches of masonry, it's our opinion that it's best to focus wholeheartedly on one and do it very well. It takes countless hours of experience, along with the ability to efficiently problem solve and implement solutions, before fully mastering a trade. Working with a company such as Lennox Masonry, where we employ a team of highly-skilled stonemasons and bricklayers who have mastered their fields of expertise, is incredibly helpful for those just starting out in this trade and who are still unsure as to which route they would prefer to go. In this blog post, and for simplicity's sake, we are going to focus on the two major career choices.


Stonemasonry:



Stone walls and stairs built by Lennox Masonry in Victoria, BC
Sandstone and granite walls and stairs built by Lennox Masonry in Victoria, BC.


Stonemasonry far pre-dates bricklaying and can trace its roots back to ancient civilizations, where skilled craftsmen chiseled away at rough stones to build impressive structures that still captivate our imagination today. From the unearthing of Gobekli Tepe to the grand pyramids of Egypt to the majestic temples of Greece, stonemasonry has left an indelible mark on the world's architectural landscape.

Fast forward to the the medieval period, stonemasons formed tightly-knit guilds, passing down their closely guarded knowledge from master to apprentice. These guilds became the breeding grounds for skilled artisans who contributed to the construction of cathedrals, castles, and bridges across Europe. These guilds created by the early stonemasons also went onto found what we know today as Freemasonry.



Stone cathedral


The Renaissance period marked a resurgence in interest in the classical arts, and stonemasonry experienced a revival. The intricate carvings and ornate details adorning structures like the Florence Cathedral and St. Peter's Basilica showcased the unparalleled craftsmanship of stonemasons.

As time progressed, stonemasonry continued to evolve with advancements in technology. The industrial revolution brought about new tools and techniques, transforming the craft into a more efficient and scalable trade. Despite these changes, the essence of stonemasonry, with its emphasis on precision and artistic expression, remained intact.


Modern Challenges and Opportunities:

In the 21st century, stonemasonry faces a new set of challenges, including the rise of alternative building materials such as cultured stone veneers and increased mechanization (stones aren't quarried, cut, and shaped quite like they used to be). However, the demand for skilled stonemasons remains strong, especially in restoration projects where preserving the authenticity of historical structures is paramount. When it comes to restoring masonry structures, we at Lennox Masonry are typically tasked with restoring stone retaining walls, buildings and walkways for the City of Victoria, BC. When it comes to residential projects we design and build everything from outdoor living spaces to intricate stone walls and fireplaces. In essence, there is no shortage of stonemasonry work nor opportunities to learn and grow from.


Pursuing a Career in Stonemasonry:

Stonemason of Lennox Masonry in Victoria, BC building stone pillars
Granite pillars being built for the Ross Bay Cemetery entrance in Victoria, BC.


For those captivated by the beauty of working with stone and the desire to leave a lasting legacy, a career in stonemasonry beckons. The path to becoming a skilled stonemason typically begins with formal training or apprenticeship programs. These programs provide hands-on experience and mentorship, allowing aspiring craftsmen to learn the intricacies of the trade. It's important to note that as of this writing, there are no formal trade-schools or accreditation programs for stonemasonry on Vancouver Island or in British Columbia. Training is solely conducted on the job-site without any formal recognition. However, the province of Ontario does offer several programs related to stonemasonry in which students may achieve accreditation.

Stonemasonry offers a diverse range of career opportunities, from working on large-scale construction projects to specializing in restoration and preservation. A skilled stonemason may find themselves sculpting intricate details on a new building or meticulously restoring a centuries-old monument to its former glory. Needless to say, it is a highly satisfying and rewarding career path.


Bricklaying:


Brick architectural building

Bricklaying is also an ancient craft that has played a crucial role in the development of civilizations throughout history. From the great walls of ancient Mesopotamia to the iconic structures of the Roman Empire, the art of laying bricks has left an indelible mark on architecture. In this aspect of the blog post, we will explore the rich history of bricklaying and delve into the reasons why pursuing a career in this time-honored trade can be a rewarding and fulfilling choice.


The Ancient Foundations:

The roots of bricklaying can be traced back to around 7000 BC when the earliest known bricks were made in the Middle East. Initially, sun-dried mud bricks were used, but it wasn't until the invention of fired clay bricks in ancient Mesopotamia that bricklaying as we know it began to take shape. The durability and versatility of fired bricks led to their widespread adoption in construction, revolutionizing the way buildings were erected.


The Roman Legacy:

The Romans further refined the art of bricklaying, employing a variety of techniques that are still in use today. The famous Roman arches and vaults, constructed using meticulously laid bricks, showcased the structural prowess of ancient bricklayers. The knowledge and skills developed during this era laid the groundwork for the architectural achievements of later civilizations.


Medieval Mastery:

During the medieval period, bricklaying techniques continued to evolve. The construction of cathedrals and castles demanded intricate brickwork, and skilled artisans honed their craft to meet the demands of ambitious architectural projects. The Gothic style, with its pointed arches and intricate detailing, became synonymous with the expertise of medieval bricklayers.


Industrial Revolution and Modernization:

The Industrial Revolution brought about significant changes to the field of bricklaying. With the advent of mechanized brick-making processes, the demand for skilled bricklayers skyrocketed. However, the importance of craftsmanship did not diminish. Instead, bricklayers adapted to new technologies, incorporating them into their workflow to increase efficiency and precision.


Pursuing a Career in Bricklaying:

Despite technological advancements, the need for skilled bricklayers remains high. The construction industry continues to grow, and with it, the demand for professionals who can bring precision and artistry to bricklaying. Pursuing a career in bricklaying offers numerous advantages:

  1. Job Security: As long as construction is ongoing, the demand for skilled bricklayers will persist.

  2. Creativity: Bricklaying is not just about stacking bricks; it involves creativity and attention to detail, allowing artisans to contribute to the aesthetic appeal of a structure.

  3. Hands-on Work: If you enjoy working with your hands and seeing tangible results, bricklaying provides a satisfying and physically engaging career.

  4. Training and Apprenticeships: Many vocational schools and apprenticeship programs offer hands-on training, ensuring that aspiring bricklayers gain the skills needed for success in the field.


Bricklaying has stood the test of time, from ancient civilizations to the modern era. Choosing a career in bricklaying allows individuals to become part of a rich tradition while contributing to the construction of functional and aesthetically pleasing structures. As the construction industry continues to evolve, the need for skilled bricklayers ensures that this time-honored craft will endure for generations to come.



Lennox Masonry of Victoria, BC logo

Lennox Masonry of Victoria, BC has been proudly serving both Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands for over a decade. We are small group of skilled masons with a great deal of passion towards our trade and for improving the communities we live and work in. We extend our gratitude to the lək̓ʷəŋən people for allowing us to share and work on this corner of the garden with them. We are thankful for the residents and businesses of Victoria, BC for supporting us in our endeavors!

If you’re in need of a professional and reliable masonry company for your next project, please contact us today!


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