ABOUT Zaps Masonry Contracting
My apprenticeship began in 1963 where I attended The Provincial Institute of Trades in Toronto for 4 years, and I took everything pertaining to the trade, eg. Brick-Stone-Refractory- Architectural Drafting. The other students just took brick. My gov't certificate was issued by the Ministry of Colleges & Universities. Technical training came from tradesmen throughout Canada, Europe & USA.
- Wales, Germany
- And All Through Europe
I learned different techniques and styles. I have to say that the two most influential masons were England, Bob Williamson, and the other from Canada, Cooney Goodman, who was taught by an old mason Oscar Plank. I'm unsure if he was from Wales or Holland as he was in his mid-80s when I started in 1963. When I was 21, I wanted to be a foreman, and my boss asked me if I was prepared to say goodbye to all my friends. I had a home and a family, and they came first well. I didn't have to say goodbye to them, they said goodbye to me. Work became a little slow, so in 1975, I started on my own. I became a union shop as I contracted work in:
- General Motors.
- Steel Companies.
- And Other Schools, Commercial Buildings, & Housing Companies.
Most of the good masons were in the union, and their average was age was in the 40s & 50s. There weren't many young people coming up. There were a few good masons in housing but not many. All of my teachers are now dead. I miss them dearly. After an episode of cancer, which was cured three decades back, my interest and style evolved into an art. I began making birds, animals, just about anything out of stone. You can see some of these in my photos. I take a tremendous amount of pride in my work and treat each project as if it were my own.
GENERAL CONTRACTING JOB
I was sent by a general contractor to lay some stone on a new home for a young couple who worked for the Fire Department and he told me to just throw it up. Typical G.C. When I arrived the couple confronted me & asked me not to throw it up. I agreed and said I would give them a nice job. The contractor fired me, however, the couple hired me and I finished the project. In my gallery it's the oval with the eagle in the centre. In my day all supervisors for general contractors were tradesmen, not today. To this day I am reluctant to take on any general contractor.
THE ART OF STONE
I had applied for a Masonry Instructors position in 1981 as I wanted to pass on what I had learned from my teachers. It got down to two of us, and when I was called in, I was asked if I knew anyone in the Provincial Government or the School board , I did not. The gentleman who got the job was always the last one to be hired and the first one to be let go but he knew someone high up. Thats how the system works. Well, 1 taught my son and he now owns Oshawa Masonry and is doing quite well, I'm very proud. Now after all these years I've been asked to teach, I don't think so. I guess it's true it's who you know. I once had a domain name "The Art of Stone" which I gave up and regret now. As you can see with horse, this was for a politician's wife, she was into thoroughbreds and this was her mare. I took many pictures in the stable and ended up with this profile. This is all real stone and they loved it. I can do just about anything in stone now, it's too bad I can't pass it on as I don't have many years left.Learn More