Rising costs push Bridgeland’s birdhouse builder to close shop

24 August 2023

Jerry Backwood – Willow Park on the Bow resident


After 13 years of woodworking from a rented garage in Bridgeland, Silvera resident Jerry Blackwood is dismayed to announce he’s closing his shop as the rise in rent, the cost of wood, and the maintenance of his tools has become overwhelming.

Jerry, a resident of Silvera’s Willow Park on the Bow building, was a Greyhound mechanic for 20 years. Before that, he worked on the ferries in Nanaimo, BC, before leaving for Alberta, retiring, and moving into a Silvera independent living building.

After he retired from Greyhound, he didn’t know what to do with his free time and decided to get back into woodworking. He had worked on boats and built a couple himself in the past.

He rented a garage from a gentleman down the street from Willow Park on the Bow so he could continue with his hobby of building birdhouses, birdfeeders, lawn windmills, sunflowers and other decorations to brighten the homes in his neighbourhood. When he started with this passion project and people saw his craftsmanship they began asking for orders, which he could barely keep up with. Yet, every summer he would have his colourful cart outside on 1st Ave NE to sell his wonderful works of art.

Rachel Rogers, a Bridgeland resident and Silvera employee, said she had the pleasure of crossing paths with Jerry when she moved into the neighbourhood in 2015. “I bought many birdhouses for my friends and family over the years, and I managed to snag one for myself before he closed up shop for good,” Rachel said.

Rachel, who did not originally know Jerry was a Silvera resident, was even more pleased to be able to take home one of the last birdhouses made in Jerry’s shop once she found out. Jerry was also delighted to have met Rachel and share his story with a Silvera employee to keep the memory of his shop alive.