Architecture students get real-life experience on Canada’s East Coast

Ryerson students Karl Sarkis (sitting left), Elijah Sabadlan (standing left), and Mitchell May (standing, behind with grey sweater) with mentors from E.R.A. Architects earlier this summer.

Ryerson students Karl Sarkis (sitting left), Elijah Sabadlan (standing left), and Mitchell May (standing, behind with grey sweater) with mentors from E.R.A. Architects earlier this summer.

First-hand experience is often the best kind. Ryerson student Elijah Sabadlan travelled to Newfoundland this summer to put his architectural science degree to use, but his lessons weren’t all technical.

“Before we actually started working on the project, we spent time in the community getting to know the people and the history of the town, so it was more meaningful,” said Sabadlan.

Sabadlan, along with four other students (two others from Ryerson), were selected to work on a project called, “Culture of Outports: Lights of Trinity Bay North,” in historic Port Union, N.L.

For two weeks, they worked with E.R.A. Architects Inc. to plan, design and recreate a park on the town’s waterfront. Foundation Square, the park’s namesake, includes a playground, firepit, picnic area and boardwalk. But most importantly it reflects who the people of Port Union are.

“Kitchen parties” thrown by Port Unioners — with music, food, and fun — gave Sabadlan and his fellow students an opportunity to get to know the people who live in town.

Family and community closeness — the kind when the entire town knows what you had for breakfast and your recipe for the muffins you brought to church last Sunday — are very important to Sabadlan.

He was born and raised in the big city of Toronto, but the Newfie way of life reminded him of his home back in the Philippines.

“Everyone was just so welcoming. Even if they didn’t know you, they would invite you over for dinner. I miss that sense of home.”

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on September 18, 2013.

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