Meet the Makers: Amelia

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the awesome folks who are building our makerspace.
Whitehorse’s Public Zine Librarian, Amelia Merhar, is a vibrant member of the YuKonstruct Core Team. Find out more about her art and what drew her to YuKonstruct.
photo by Mark Kelly

Amelia, why did you join YuKonstruct?
I joined YuKonstruct because I am an interdisicplinary kind of person. I love to learn new mediums, skills and techniques to make projects. A community space with access to cool, fancy tools will be a welcome resource and inspiration for my art.

What do you like to make?
I like to make interactive art installations. Each one I make is very different, and my favourite part is learning the new skill, whether it be a bit of programming, sound/audio design, or working with new materials. Check out for examples of my work.

What advice do you have for other makers in the Yukon?
Come out of the woodwork and pop by the space! Donate some spare tools and materials you have laying around, and help build YuKonstruct!

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while making something?
Well, when I was building MOTORBOAT, which was beer-filled carboys converted into 25L breasts that played a song from the perspective of breasts, I have to say, it was the art project my (all male) roommates were really interested in!

What are you working on now?
This summer I am working on my Zine Tree Project. I am building a birch tree filled with hundreds of zines on everything from pirate history to homebrewing, political theory to bike poetry. The tree will serve as a distribution and creation centre for zines, and the goal of the project is to build northern zine culture, and promote independant publishing and alternative media. I will be learning how to make birds in the tree respond to tweets about zines in real-time. July is International Zine Month, and I am doing an artist talk and zine workshop at Arts Underground July 2nd at 6 pm to kick off the project. July 5th at the Edge Gallery, Northern Zine, the Zine Tree project community exhibit will open from 5-8 pm in conjunction with Whitehorse Nuit Blanche!


If you’d like to join the YuKonstruct team, and help build Canada’s first makerspace North of 60 then please get in touch with us. Email: [email protected]

THANK YOU for staying up with us!

Whitehorse Nuit Blanche was an amazing success!

YuKonstruct was proud to be one of several official host sites for this inaugural event. We showcased the Groundwork Sessions Crew offering 12 hours of free breakdance workshops, film screenings, live graffiti and on site performances.

Check out the CBC Radio Interview with Yukon Radio Dave and the Whitehorse Nuit Blanche organizers here. You can also see more photos of the event by Alistar Maitland here.

Thank you for all those who joined in!

If you don’t know: Whitehorse Nuit Blanche is an all night roaming art experience which features and celebrates local artists. This fantastic evening included delicious food, and various performances and art installations all throughout Whitehorse. In support of our local artists, YuKonstruct served as one of several official host sites for this inaugural event.


Make it Late! YuKonstruct open all night for Nuit Blanche

Join us for Breakdancing, graffiti and films at YuKonstruct on July 5 from 7 PM to 7 AM on July 6 at 135 Industrial Road.


Whitehorse Nuit Blanche is an exciting all night contemporary art show that will include art installations, performances and feasts across the city of Whitehorse on July 5 from 7pm – 7am. In a celebration of our local artists YuKonstruct will be an official venue for this free action-packed 12-hour night of fun. We will host the Koovy and the Groundwork Sessions Crew who will be performing their award winning breakdancing routines as well as conducting workshops, performances, talks and films on breaking culture. From improvisation to developing routines and new moves, dancers will create and evolve with the audience.

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Since we are still working on building the space at 135 Industrial Road we have the ability to host such a unique event in our workshop before it’s all ready for our makers. So come on down and dance all night with us! If you need some help staying up, Midnight Sun Coffee is close by, and open all night too!


8:00 pm – 9:30 pm – Workshop & Dance

10:00 pm – midnight – Film screening and Q&A with artists

Between 1:00 am – 5:00 am, Ali Khoda will be creating a live graffiti piece for our workshop

3:00 am – 4:00 am – Live dance show!

4:00 am – 5:00am – Screening from a recent Calgary battle

About the Artists of the Groundwork Sessions Crew:

Meet dancers Kevin McLachlan (aka Koovy), Emile St. Pierre,  Alex Robinson, Ben Robinson, and George Rivard for a dynamic evening of high intensity fun in the form of a breaking performance and introductory workshop.

Kevin McLachlan (aka Koovy),  and Emile St. Pierre have been training and performing together for the last four years. The local grade 12 students have done numerous shows throughout town, including Leaping Feats Dancing Through Life, Winterval, Arts in The Park and more. They performed as part of the Yukon’s Cultural Contingent at the 2014 Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Alaska, creating a collaborative piece with four other dancers.



Donate your spare tools to YuKonstruct!

We have got the space – now we need the tools!

We’ve done our research, created funding applications and submitted them to allow us to purchase the big items for the makerspace. If successful, these items will include a laser cutter, a CNC machine, a 3D printer, an induction forge, an industrial sewing machine among others. It is extremely exciting! When we know if these funding applications get approved, we will share more news.

In the meantime we are looking for donations of any tool in working condition.

Throughout the summer, while we await funding approval, we want to host fun workshops and have you join us. In order to do that, we need simple tools. Everyone is likely to have a hammer, or spare drill that you no longer use. At YuKonstruct, we could give it a good home and put it to use!

Here are some examples of tools we could use:

Our tool wish list

As our thank you for your donation, we invite you to join us to our Tool Drive BBQ eventHammers for Hamburgers on Thursday June 19 between 5-9pm. Bring your tool and let us treat you to some delicious BBQ fare.


We are also accepting donations of useful (non scrap) raw materials. Things like usable lumberplywood and other similar materials will be helpful. We would also make use of recycled renovation fixtures like a sink, or toilet, or a good amount of leftover tiles so that we can work towards upgrading the kitchen and bathroom in the space.

Perhaps you need us to come over and pick it up?

No problem! Just email us ([email protected]) and we will be happy to arrange a suitable time to pick up your donation.

Spread the word!

Please be sure to pass this on to those who maybe able to donate to our cause – we sincerely appreciate your help and support. You are helping us build the Yukon’s Makerspace, one tool at a time.



Meet the Makers: John

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the awesome folks who are building our makerspace.
John is a dynamic member of the YuKonstruct Core Team who is keeping us on track towards our goal of opening a fully operational makerspace by the fall. Read on to find out more about why he joined YuKonstruct.
Hello, my name is John

John, what’s your role on the YuKonstruct Core Team?

I help Chair meetings. I always wanted to be a Judge and love saying ‘Objection!’. Or wait, I mean ‘Over-ruled!’ Never mind.

Why did you join YuKonstruct?

I am passionate about community development and see YuKonstruct as a great way to connect and build community. Oh, and I want to build a bike snow-shovel.

What are you most looking forward to about YuKonstruct being up and running?

I think the buzz of being part of a ‘tribe’ of great people who are creative and willing to collaborate. The possibilities are endless!

What do you think will be YuKonstruct’s biggest challenge?

YuKonstruct is an organization like any other. To be successful we need the community to want, own and drive it. This takes coordination and communication. Those will be our biggest challenges.

What advice do you have for other makers in the Yukon?

By joining the community you get access to tools, but more importantly people. Which means creativity, different skill sets, capital, and ultimately success.

What are you working on now?

Governance, which basically speaks to roles and responsibilities and how decision are to be made. Not really sexy but vital.


If you’d like to join the YuKonstruct team, and help build Canada’s first makerspace North of 60, then please get in touch with us. Email: [email protected]


Small Town Makerspaces

Amelia here. I am on the core YuKonstruct team, and designed the survey that so many of our makers kindly filled out. The survey was a great place to help us identify what our community wants to see in our makerspace, and relay this to our potential funding partners. It captured other information which we have started to follow up on now that we have a space. Things like, who is able to teach courses or donate tools. If you haven’t already, and want to take the survey, we’ve re-opened it. It can be found here:

With my academic background in Community Development, the one thing that has interested me about makerspaces, is how to extend their reach. This is particularly relevant as I read the survey comments from those who were not in Whitehorse, but enjoyed the idea of YuKonstruct. So, in this post I want to share some of the resources I feel could be helpful for rural communities to introduce the makerspace culture into schools, libraries, First Nations and community events.

Make it at your library

This website is run by the maker site Instructables, and the American Library Association. It shares a range of projects searchable by age, materials cost, time and type that can help you find a cool maker activity to do within your means. It was created to help libraries transition into makerspaces, and offers lots of beginner projects to get kids and adults excited.




Make Magazine offers MakerCamp on Google+. A free online maker summer camp July 7th to August 15th  2014.  You register online, and order and pay for your own materials, depending on whether you are interested in just one project, or the entire summer camp. This year the weekly themes are; Makers In Motion, Create the Future, Health & Science, Art and Design, DIY Music and Make:Believe.  New activities are posted each morning, then campers in teams from all around the world rush to make their projects. At the end of the day campers upload photos, video and learn from each other’s successes and challenges.

Makerspace Logo

If you want more than activities or a camp to get the ball rolling, this site offers a complete and free guide to starting a makerspace in your community, the Makerspace Playbook.


Want to start a small town makerspace?

We’d love to hear from you!  Drop us a line at [email protected]
YuKonstruct still has a lot to learn, but we are also here to share knowledge and advice as we go!


YuKonstruct community support

Community is the heart of a makerspace

My name is John and I am one of the folks behind YuKonstruct. Truthfully, I am not a tech whizz or particularly handy. So why did I get involved? For me, YuKonstruct has the potential to become an amazing community. And when people come together and are motivated by a common goal, great things happen. This power and potential is what drew me to this exciting venture.

I once read that a makerspace is more than a space full of cool tools. It is the convergence of a creative community. And that is what makes the maker-concept so rich: community.  It’s easy to focus on the funky space and cool tools, but what are they without people?  What happens when you connect the collective creativity, knowledge, and co-operation of an entire community, and then add in a common space and tools? Magic, that’s what.

Take our event in January as an example, that was magical. A community coming together to support what was just an idea at the time. Without that community, we would have just had an empty room with cool projects. There would be no buzz of excitement, no sharing of ideas, and no inspiration to build from.

January Kick off event - a few of the many great projects
January Kick off event – a few of the many great projects

Humans are social beings. We have an innate desire to live, work, and play, in groups. This is ‘community’ and varies greatly by degree and form. ‘Culture’ is the dynamic output of congregating people over time and space, and includes learning and knowledge transmission. The outcome is rich, diverse and dynamic.

What gets me excited about the makerspace concept is the potential to bring people together and make great things happen. Already YuKonstruct has brought together a motley crue of individuals driven by a common dream. In less than five months we have a space!  No individual could have achieved this alone. There is power and there is potential in community, and from there anything is possible.


We welcome everyone to this community to help us achieve the YuKonstruct dream.

Join us on a Tuesday evening at 7 – 8:30pm where we’re doing anything from building benches and furniture to space planning. Also, be sure to check out our new event’s calendar to see what’s coming up soon.



Tuesdays at YuKonstruct!

Time to celebrate!

On Tuesday May 13, 2014 we opened the doors to show everyone our new space for the first time.  Over 80 people attended to check it out and celebrate this accomplishment with us. There was Yukon Brewing beer, delicious food from Garlic A GoGo, and great music thanks to The Midnight Sons and the Brass Knuckle Society.

YuKonstruct Sneak Peak Party
YuKonstruct Sneak Peak Party

But the fun doesn’t stop there! We have the space, now it is up to our community of makers to help build it into something great. There is still a lot to do before we have a makerspace.

Join us on a Tuesday!

If you want to see what’s going on and lend a hand, stop by any Tuesday after 7pm at 135 Industrial Road. You can check out the space, learn about how we intend to use it, and donate your skills or resources to help us build this into a community space.


Hacking Health North Event Summary

To all those who joined us at the Hacking Health North weekend – Thank You!

Hacking Health North was such a phenomenal success. We appreciate all the participants, observers, sponsors, partners, organizers, and volunteers who gave their time or services during the weekend – it would not have been possible without your help.

In total, 8 projects were built during the weekend and we’ve had some follow up discussions with the teams and several have plans to continue to develop their projects. We wish them lots of success!

For a full look at the projects go to the Sparkboard.

For a snapshot summary check out the infographic below:

A busy week! Hacking Health (May 9-11) and YuKonstruct Sneak Peak (May 13)

Hacking Health North is THIS WEEKEND (May 9 – 11, 2014) – Join us!

We are in the last phase of preparing for this weekends hackathon – Hacking Health North!  It is going to be a fantastic event and we hope you can come as a participant for the weekend or stop by as an observer on Friday evening (6:00pm) and Sunday afternoon (2:30pm).

We encourage you to put your fantastic ideas on our Sparkboard! So far, some great ideas have been posted, like a rural services app, a 3D printed custom temporary spare dentures, or even a doctor magnet to help bring and keep doctors in the north!

Want to learn more – listen to our recent CBC Radio North interview with Tara McCarthy!CBC North

Can’t join us in person? You can pitch an idea, join a team and participate remotely! We will be streaming this event LIVE on YouTube from Whitehorse starting Friday 6pm PDT.

You will also get the opportunity to vote on what you think is the best idea! You must have a Sparkboard login to vote (sign up today!).


What is happening with YuKonstruct?

Don’t worry, while we have been preparing for Hacking Health North we have still been moving forward with YuKonstruct!

There have been some exciting developments that we want to share with you!

Our initial funding is processed, and as of May 6, 2014 we have a signed lease agreement for our new space!  We have spent the past few weeks doing our due diligence, bringing in inspectors, negotiating with realtors, and all the things which come along with this type of commitment. But now we have the keys and we are so excited to officially be able to share this!

We have a YuKonstruct space!! We are so excited!

We have keys!
We have keys!

Now, this is not yet a full makerspace. This is a shell, a place we can build from, and grow into. This is where we need your help, your time, your ideas, and your energy to really make it a community space. We are giving ourselves the summer to do it, and want to officially open our doors and have a functional makerspace by September.  


But that doesn’t stop us from having you come visit to check it out!

We will be hosting a little gathering on Tuesday May 13 from 7-9pm and we invite you to see the new (but empty) space at 135 Industrial Road. You can enjoy some music, food, a beer or two an maybe you can meet an astronaut!

We will also be contacting volunteers as time goes by based on their survey responses to the volunteer section. There will be painting, space planning and lots of exciting things coming up!

If you didn’t get a chance fill out our survey please do so here! This way we can know where to contact you if you have tools to donate or time/skills to share.