Yellowknife's Makerspace working on permanent home

Makerspace YK is working on renovating the building which once housed the After 8 Pub and converting into a public workshop. It hopes to open in spring or summer 2021.

Non-profit workshop hopes to open permanent space in spring or summer 2021

Makerspace YK is working with the landlord to convert the former After 8 Pub into Makerspace's permanent public workshop. (Walter Strong/CBC)

You may have seen their bus, full of power tools, motoring around Yellowknife, hosting workshops and helping people build things.

Now Makerspace YK is working on creating a permanent home as it moves into the location that used to be the After 8 Pub.

The non-profit organization is working with the building's landlord to renovate the space into a public workshop, and open later this year in spring or summer.

Makerspace YK will provide people with access to the workshop and its equipment to build things, for a nominal fee.

"[People] can use [the shop] to do all sorts of different kinds of art or construction ... that they might not [normally] be able to do," said Julian Morse, the executive director of Makerspace YK.

It's also hoping to partner with another organization to get additional equipment such as CNC machines, which are programmable and allow people to make much more intricate objects that they would be able to with their hands.

The workshop will also have 3-D printing.

'I just found out I really liked it'

Twelve-year-old Leah Covey is looking forward to Makerspace YK's new permanent space.

Two years ago, she was invited to build a sawhorse.

"I just found out that I really liked it," she says. 

She also worked on a few picnic tables and experimented with melted copper.

"I also got to use a whole bunch of other power tools," she says.

She's hoping that in the new space, she'll be able to create things that she can sell on Facebook.

"I would really like to make some, like, pretty useful objects ... just blanket holders and like a fancy bookshelf and like shelves," she said.

Grow the knowledge economy

Morse is hoping the workshop will become so popular, Makerspace YK will outgrow the space.

"The hope is to make it really successful," he says.

Morse was hired three weeks ago and took the job because he sees this as an opportunity to grow the knowledge economy in the N.W.T.

"It helps grow the skill sets in the community," he says. "I think it'll help introduce people to trades in a way that they may not have been able to check it out in other ways."

With files from Lawrence Nayally