Why Do Canadian-Trained Engineers Wear Iron Rings?

Different practices from different cultures stand out but if there’s one worth mentioning, it’s the iron ring worn by Canadian-based engineers.


For every engineer, there’s a certain pride in being part of a profession of high standards. Not everyone gets to be one so for those who worked hard to achieve it, it’s definitely something to be proud of. For decades, engineers from different parts of the world have developed a certain culture and practices in their profession. Different practices from different cultures stand out but if there’s one worth mentioning, it’s the iron ring worn by Canadian-based engineers. If you happen to work with one, you may even get a glimpse of what this ring looks like.

Source: Wikipedia

This Iron Ring is worn by Canadian-trained engineers to remind them of their responsibilities as an engineer. It’s a symbol of one’s pride in the profession while reminding one’s self of the humility one needs to practice engineering.

These rings are given during ceremonies in individual universities. Each university is assigned to one of the 26 camps of the Corporation of the Seven Wardens. The ceremony is held privately and invitations are only extended to local engineering alumni and engineers that were invited by those scheduled to be part of the ceremony. This ceremony is called the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer.

Source: uWaterloo Engineering Orientation Week Media via YouTube

Each ring is made from stainless steel or wrought iron. However, most camps have decided to give rings made of stainless steel to avoid the deterioration of iron – which eventually turns the finger black. Only the Toronto camp allows the recipients to choose between a ring made of wrought iron or stainless steel. The Iron Ring is worn on the “pinky” finger of the dominant hand.

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There’s a legend where the rings given were made from the steel of a beam from the first Quebec Bridge. The Quebec Bridge was designed to connect Sainte-Foy and Levis, Quebec, Canada. It’s known for the tragedies that happened in the early 1900s when it collapsed back in 1907 and in 1916. The tragedy cost 75 workers and people blamed poor planning and design by the engineers in-charge of the bridge. However, many have said that there’s no evidence to prove that this is true.

Source: Wikipedia

The Iron Ring has already been adopted in the United States. Ring ceremonies are already held in different colleges where engineers receive a stainless steel called Engineer’s Ring. The recipients sign an “Obligation of the Engineer”.

Source: Wikipedia

Article Sources:

Iron Ring (Wikipedia)

Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer (Wikipedia)

Quebec Bridge (Wikipedia)

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Why Do Canadian-Trained Engineers Wear Iron Rings?

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