History

A Canadian Blacksmithing Community

The seeds of CanIRON started out on a July weekend in 1995 at the O’Keefe Ranch, near Vernon, BC as a picnic for the Vancouver Island Blacksmiths Association (VIBA). In 1997 the event launched in its official format as a biennial Canadian Blacksmith Conference, held on the odd-numbered years between ABANA conferences.

CanIRON I was held on the July 1st weekend in 1997, at the O’Keefe Ranch, near Vernon, BC and was a great success! There were blacksmiths from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Alaska in attendance and demonstrators included John Adolph, Derry Cook, Jerry Culberson, Joe Delisimunovic, Hank McEwan, Daryll Nelson, John Smith (Kootenay Forge), Dorothy Stiegler, and Berkley Tack.

Humble Roots

The vision for CanIRON began in 1995 at a weekend picnic at the O’Keefe Ranch, near Vernon, BC for members of the Vancouver Island Blacksmiths Association (VIBA).

Earlier that year, VIBA had asked Joe Delisimunovic, the resident Blacksmith at the O’Keefe Ranch, to be a guest demonstrator in Victoria as part of a project to build a horse drawn wagon.

As a result of the positive connection, Joe invited all the members of VIBA to come to the O’Keefe Ranch for a July 1st weekend workshop & picnic. Everyone had a great time so it was decided to continue the tradition and extend the invitation to our neighbours in the North West Blacksmith Association (NWBA) for the following year.

When July 1996 came around, we had a few members from NWBA, but not the usual travelling crowd we had expected. We realized that because of the ABANA conference in Alfred, New York, that year the travelling crew were attending the ABANA Conference and were unable to take in both events.

A few of VIBA members decided to look into hosting a future ABANA conference, but it was deemed financially impossible for the small association as ABANA required a $25,000.00 usd deposit from hosting organizations.

Those same members, led by Ron Greigg, decided instead to host a Canadian blacksmith conference, on the odd-numbered years to compliment rather than compete with the ABANA conference which was held every 2 years on the even-numbered years.

The First CanIRON

CanIRON I was held on the July 1st weekend in 1997, at the O’Keefe Ranch, near Vernon, BC and it was a great success! There were blacksmiths from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Alaska in attendance. The demonstrators included John Adolph, Derry Cook, Jerry Culberson, Joe Delisimunovic, Hank McEwan, Daryll Nelson, John Smith (Kootenay Forge), Dorothy Stiegler, and Berkley Tack.

A Bright Future

A group from the Western Canadian Blacksmith Guild (WCBG) in Calgary offered to host CanIRON II in Calgary at Southern Albert Institute of Technology (SAIT) in July 1999. In order to allow wider access to the event, the decision was made that CanIRON should travel across Canada, from West to East, allowing other provinces and groups to host and contribute to the CanIRON legacy.

The event has since spanned from coast to coast and is now entering its third decade, bringing together a second generation of blacksmiths and artisans across Canada and North America.

Read more about CanIRON

CanIRON Archives

1997 CanIRON I, near Vernon, BC
At O’Keefe Ranch
Hosted by Vancouver Island Blacksmiths Association (VIBA), Victoria

1999 CanIRON II, Calgary, Alberta
At Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
Hosted by Western Canadian Blacksmith Guild (WCBG), Alberta Chapter, Leduc

2001 CanIRON III, North Battleford, Saskatchewan
At the Western Development Museum
Hosted by Western Canadian Blacksmith Guild (WCBG), Saskatchewan Chapter, Saskatoon

2003 CanIRON IV, Hamilton, Ontario
At McMasters University
Hosted by Ontario Artist Blacksmiths Association (OABA)

2005 CanIRON V, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
On the dock
Hosted by Maritime Blacksmith Association (MBA), Halifax

2007 CanIRON VI, near Victoria, BC
At Luxton Fairgrounds in Langford, home of VIBA
Hosted by Vancouver Island Blacksmiths Association (VIBA), Victoria

2009 CanIRON VII, just outside of Big River, Saskatchewan
At Ness Creek Campgrounds
Hosted by Western Canadian Blacksmith Guild (WCBG), Saskatchewan Chapter, Saskatoon

2011 CanIRON VIII, Fergus, Ontario
At Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex
Hosted by Ontario Artist Blacksmiths Association (OABA)

2013 CanIRON IX, Trois Rivieres, Quebec
At Forges du Saint-Maurice National Historic Site of Canada
Hosted by La Confrérie des forgerons du Québec

2015 CanIRON X, Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
In the historic village
Hosted by Cape Breton Blacksmith Association (CBBA), Whycocomagh

2017 CanIRON XI, Cloverdale, BC
At Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Hosted by Vancouver Island Blacksmiths Association (VIBA) and Greater Vancouver Blacksmiths