08. March 2012 · Comments Off on Meet The Crew: Jim Dinn · Categories: Latest News

Jim Dinn began work with the Red Antiquities Building in August of 2011.  Reflecting on his experiences and contributions restoring and renovating the building Jim imparts some wonderful pearls of wisdom, “You can save anything in the world if enough people put their heart into it!”

An experienced Craftsman and Cabinetmaker, it’s clear when speaking to Jim that the Red Antiquities Building is a project near and dear to his heart.  For Jim, bringing the building back from the brink isn’t just about preserving a piece of architectural history, it’s also about Community and Revitalization.  Jim is a long time resident and member of the SoHo Community having lived 41 of his 51 years in the SoHo region.  Jim has seen the SoHo community through a lot of changes including the demolition of his old school, Governor Simcoe School, and sees a lot of hope for the future of the community.  “There’s a lot of growth happening in the area right now and it’s got that up and coming feel!  New things are happening and houses, buildings and properties are being cleaned up.  The R.A.B. is a perfect example.  It was a hurt looking building and now it’s quite gorgeous.  Now that we’re working on the drywall inside you can really get a sense of the complete project and it’s just gorgeous!”


Jim’s 27 years of experience as a Cabinetmaker and the time he has spent self-employed doing Renovations and Handyman work have made him an invaluable asset on the Red Antiquities Project.  When asked what brought him to this project after 27 years in Cabinetmaking  he shares that he wanted to broaden his horizons. “I believe that you can teach an old dog new tricks!  I wanted to get deeper into the field, work outside and practice my art on different buildings and in different locations.”  Jim speaks with pride about his craftsmanship recognizing it as a form of art.  “From the ground up it takes all of your body, physically and mentally.  I’m leaving a part of myself here.  When this project is done I’d like to continue to get out there and practice my art working on various buildings, even in different towns and cities if that’s what it takes!”

When asked what qualities and characteristics he brings to endeavors like the Red Antiquities Project Jim is very confident in answering, “110% Quality!  I take great pride in my work and put all of my heart into it!  I’ve also learned in my work to always think a step ahead.  You have to know what it takes to complete what you are doing in the moment but you need to know what has to happen next and plan for it.  That makes the project flow and avoids downtime!”

Jim’s forward thinking has made an impact not only on the building itself but also on the rest of the crew at the R.A.B.  With 20 years experience as a Foreman in the Cabinetry trade, Jim has trained a lot of new employees in his career and enjoys imparting what he has learned to other crew members.  “We’re quite a varied crew with guys of all different backgrounds and ages from 17 – 62.  Whenever I can share what I’ve learned throughout the years and help the other guys I’m happy to do it, especially when it comes to safety.  I get it back in return.  The pieces of information you learn from the guys are golden!”  Jim maximizes that opportunity to teach and learn from others simply due to the fact that he has never called in sick on the job. “I’m always here, I’m a hard worker with a lot of heart and I’m pretty easy to understand!”

It’s also easy to understand the benefits that Jim has gleaned form working on the Red Antiquities Project.  Jim has saved his earnings, purchased a vehicle, made new friends, established new contacts on the job and has expanded his knowledge and experience in the area of Heritage Restoration and Renovations.  Perhaps greater than all of this is the overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment that radiates in Jim’s expression as he talks about sharing details about the Red Antiquities Building with his friends, family and neighbours.  “I love it!  It’s an artistic work and a building that will last another 120 years!”  The heart that Jim puts into his work and into the Red Antiquities Building might be best illustrated by his experience during a press conference held on site at which the Ontario Trillium Foundation presented funding for the project. “I remember that day, talking to the Politicians and Dignitaries about the building and my work with it – I found myself with a tear in my eye!”

Away from the job site a great deal of Jim’s focus is on his family and community.  He talks with passion when describing his relationship with his son and scattered throughout our conversation are details and references about his friends and neighbours.  A glimpse into Jim’s character is revealed when he talks about a recent fire in a house on his block and his selfless attitude in approaching the burning building to ensure the occupants were out safely.  It’s that sense of commitment, dedication and heart that makes Jim Dinn an important part of his community, an important part of his Crew on the job and an important key in the success of the Red Antiquities Building.

After all, “You can save anything in the world if enough people put their heart into it!”

~ Greg Yarker


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