Algonquin Timber Frames History
Master timber framer John R. MacDonald puts a lot of love into everything he does -- a love of trees, a love of wood and a love of nature. As the son of a Prince Edward Islander whose family roots were in fishing and farming, John inherited a need to work with the land.
John learned the ancient art of timber frame housebuilding in the late 1970s while working in Ontario for some prominent industry leaders at the time. Jamie Cooke, past director of the Canadian Housing Manufacturing Association, and Ted Benson, Steve Chapell, Ruddy Christian, and Jack Sobon who went on to found the Timber Framers Guild of North America, were among his mentors and they taught him well. These people crossed his path at a time when John was eager to learn. After timber framing in the Rockies of Alberta, John returned and settled near Deep River in the Ottawa Valley where he has remained ever since.
John has noticed an increase in demand for post and beam homes over the past few years as more and more boomers are choosing to retire in the country, and asking for custom-built eco-friendly, energy-efficient homes made of sustainably-harvested, local Ontario wood.
John also finds himself building more timber frame additions such as sun rooms, country kitchens or family and living rooms. “Even a simple one-room addition, or one-room feature in a house, can be very rewarding, too, because I get to build a relationship with the client, which I love. My clients are always very appreciative.”
Timber framing in its purest form is one of the oldest and most visually appealing ways to build a home. Post and beam homes are built using heavy timbers.
John sources his timber from Jamie Rogge of Rogge Logging, a fixture on the logging scene in the Ottawa Valley.
The fact his business is contributing to a sustainable future for Ontario is even better, which is one of the reasons he joined the Ontario Wood program.
“Everything I build is from local materials and it's always been that way. All the people that mentored me when I was young were much the same. I guess I'm part of a tradition that I hope to continue as long as I can.”