Something quite inspiring is happening to many of the felled trees around Mississauga – Sidney Gendron and his team are breathing new life into them. The company is called Sawmill Sid and their mandate is to repurpose the lumber from a variety of trees including maple, black walnut and sadly, the ash trees that have met their plight due to the Emerald Ash Borer. Many forests in and around Port Credit and Lakeview have been wiped out because of this imported insect; an unfortunate reality as we continue to depend on inexpensive foreign goods. One saving grace is a company like Sawmill Sid’s mandate to turn this negative situation into a positive one. The image below shows the destruction caused by the EAB to a mature ash tree – one could say, at this point, it could be considered natures work of art
It was very enlightening walking around the lumber yard (located at the Small Arms Building site in Lakeview) with Sid. He shared some of the ideas that he and his team have to produce a variety of products from the salvaged lumber. There is a large trailer on site that is a kiln used to dry and cure the wood; a process that can take up to three months. Once cured, they can turn that lumber into fireplace beams, eclectic dining tables, charcuterie boards, apple wood chips and even potting soil with the leftover sawdust. “We try not to waste anything” says Sid. One of my favorite items the company produces is a pre-fab log cabin that Sid tells me can be used as a writer’s or artist’s escape – now that’s my kind of repurposing! It’s always inspiring to meet people who are passionate about their work and talking with Sid about his vision for the company gives me a new appreciation for supporting local initiatives and true craftsmanship.
Words and Images by Ann Ivy Male