The Repair Café Effect

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The Repair Café on September 13 brought many first time and returning visitors despite the drizzling weather. The first visitor, Tony Chug, showed up an hour early. When he saw us setting up, he enthusiastically lent us his helping hand, and an hour and a half later, he left smiling with his lamp fixed and offered to volunteer when we return to Skills for Change November 22.

Tony’s response was one of the many moments that encourage us to keep growing the Repair Café in Toronto. We feel the tremendous support from the people who have experienced “the repair café effect”, and through our volunteer work in the last year or so, we are more certain than ever that our core value of “neighbours helping neighbours” is shared by many in the city. Repair Café Toronto’s main goals of preventing needless waste, sharing repair skills, and bringing our diverse community together, are being realized in more repair cafés throughout the city!

Here’s an article, for example, that recently appeared in The Varsity, the University of Toronto campus newspaper. It was written by a visitor to September’s repair café, Joseph Ianni, and explains well what we mean by the repair café effect.  Below is an excerpt from his piece.

“… as the morning carried on, I noticed how diverse the group became. Experts on items varied in age and background, and so did those coming with broken items to be mended. As I waited for an expert of my own, I watched as Sam, a young boy, helped a middle-aged man repair his old radio, while an elderly man assisted a young Russian woman with her laptop.”

Click here for the full article.

We would like to thank the generous contributions of our event sponsors Skills for Change, Frank’s Pizza House and Noir Coffee and Tea. As well, a sincere thanks to the terrific volunteers for their wonderful support. Event photos will be posted on our Facebook page.

Our next Repair Café on October 18 will be held at the Cedarbrae Branch of the Toronto Public Library in Scarborough. If you are a fixer and would like to help out, we’d love to hear from you. If you have a broken household item, you are very welcome to bring it to Cedarbrae Public Library on October 18. We will be open from 12 to 4 p.m. For details, please go to the Upcoming Events page.

Are you interested in starting a repair café in your neighbourhood? Don’t miss this free workshop “How to Start a Repair Café” on October 25. Repair Café Toronto will share our experience with you and break it down on what it involves. The workshop will be held at Skills for Change from 12:30 to 2:30 pm. Please sign up on our home page.

The Most Successful Repair Café Yet!

Once again we broke more records at the Repair Café in terms of number of visitors and items fixed. We were invited back by the Toronto Reference Library on August 9 and this time there were visitors waiting 20 minutes before the Café opened. One hundred and nine items were seen, 77 per cent of them were fixed completely, and 13 per cent were fixed partly with specific advice given to the visitors.

Once again, our amazing team of fixers stepped up: Aaron, Andy, Erich, Giles, Jung-Hee, Mike, Miriam, Monica, Nat, Paul  Magder, Paul Wilson, Phil, Rachael, Renae, Samuel, Sue, Teresa, Tim and Young. Not only did they get things fixed, but they did not give up no matter how difficult the challenge was. We will post some videos on the their work shortly.

Our awesome volunteers greeted and guided visitors: Bev, Judy, Mary, Robert, Alice, Fern, Jason, Robin. And we had our photographers and videographer on board, Heather, Kavita, and Lon.

Of course, our success also came from our sponsors of this August event: Toronto Reference Library, Balzac’s Coffee Roaster and Circles and Squares Bakery.

Repair Café Toronto is offering a Repair Café Startup Workshop on October 25 at Skills for Change (791 St Clair West, Toronto) to share our experience in organizing repair cafés. We have been receiving a lot of positive response and we hope to help other people to set up new repair cafés in their own neighbourhoods. If you are interested in starting one, please fill in the simple form to the right and we will be in touch.

The Repair Café is looking for new fixers of all kinds as we continue to grow. If you are interested in joining our fixer team, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@repaircafetoronto.ca.

The Repair Café is also looking for a Marketing and Communication Specialist. This is a volunteer position. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to promote this innovative sustainability movement in Toronto as well as work with a great team of like-minded people in building a caring and green community in our neighbourhoods. If you have the relevant expertise and would like to help grow the Repair Café, please contact us at info@repaircafetoronto.ca.

For the next Repair Café September 13, we will be returning to our base Skills for Change on St. Clair West. Details about this event are available on Upcoming Events page.

 

Come Join the Repair Café – New Volunteers are Welcome!

On July 12, we had another successful Repair Café at Skills for Change. It was wonderful to have new volunteers joining our fixer team. Samuel, one of our new fixers, who is also our youngest fixer (15 years old!), told us that he joined the Repair Café for the learning experience and for the environment. At this café, he fixed everything from a toaster to an electric oven. Samuel is terrific, a natural fixer and leader, and we’d love to have more young fixers like him joining us, they are the next generation!

Max, our bike fixer who just recently joined us was busy with fixing bikes at the station set up in front of the building. Another new fixer, Paul, came to the Repair Cafe as a visitor at the North York Central Library in June and this time returned as a fixer specialized in household appliances and computers. He enjoyed the hands-on challenge in bringing broken objects back to life. It’s great to have Max and Paul on board sharing their knowledge and skills, and their joy in helping others!

We would like to thank all the new and returning visitors for their support and feedback. Please continue to help spread the magic of the Repair Café!

As well, many thanks to our sponsors, Skills for Change, Frank’s Pizza and Noir Coffee and Tea, for their generous support!

The Repair Café is looking for new fixers of all kinds as we continue to grow. If you are interested in joining our amazing fixer team, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@repaircafetoronto.ca.

The Repair Café is also looking for a Marketing and Communication Specialist. This is a volunteer position. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to promote this innovative sustainability movement in Toronto as well as work with a great team of like-minded people in building a caring and green community in our neighbourhoods. If you have the relevant expertise and would like to help grow the Repair Café, please contact us at info@repaircafetoronto.ca.

For the next Repair Café August 9, we will be returning to Toronto Reference Library at Bloor and Yonge. Details about this event is available on Upcoming Events page.

Repair Café continues to reach out to different neighbourhoods

On Saturday, June 14, the Repair Café visited a new neighbourhood – North York. Our team of volunteers, who travelled from different parts of Toronto and outside the city, gathered at the North York Central Library with their toolkits to help the visitors fix their household items, including computers and electronics, small appliances, clothes, jewellery and books. We also had a new 3D printing fixer joining us this month. Once again, there was a great turnout of visitors!

We would like to thank our volunteers for their enthusiastic support, and a huge thank you to our partner Toronto Reference Library – North York Branch and to Starbucks for providing coffee for the day.

We were asked by many when and where the next Repair Café would be. The times and locations of the upcoming monthly repair cafés are now listed on the right column of our home page. This year, we have been offering the Repair Café once every two months at our base, Skills for Change, in the St. Clair West neighbourhood, and in every other month a different area of the city. The neighbourhoods we have visited so far include Yonge and Bloor, Danforth East and North York, and in October, Scarborough!

Repair Café Toronto is offering a Repair Café Startup Workshop in the Fall to share our experience in organizing repair cafés. We have been receiving a lot of positive response and we hope to see new repair cafés being set up by local groups in different neighbourhoods. If you are interested in starting one, please fill in the simple form to the right and we will be in touch.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Repair Café or sponsoring the Repair Café, please Contact us or email us at info@repaircafetoronto.ca.

Don’t miss our latest photo albums of the portraits of visitors and fixers with their “Fixed” items. They are available on our Facebook page. Many thanks to our photographer Heather!

Why don’t you have a go at it?

 

On a sunny Saturday May 10, the Repair Café held its first anniversary event at Skills for Change in the St. Clair West neighbourhood. At its 11th monthly gathering, our volunteer fixers once again helped fix all kinds of household items: computers and electronics, small appliances and furniture, clothes, jewellery, books, gardening tools and bikes …

This time, we had one of our volunteer fixers, Mase, talk about why everyone should try doing repairs. Have a listen to his video above! The event photos will be available at our Facebook page soon.

The Repair Café is thankful to our team of volunteers, including everyone from the fixers to the event volunteers who have been supporting the Repair Café month after month since they joined the team. Their expertise, dedication and enthusiasm are why so many people have been returning and also spreading the word about the Repair Café.

We would like to give our special thanks to our long-time community sponsors who have given us their generous support – Skills for Change, Noir Coffee and Tea and Frank’s Pizza House.

Our next Repair Café is on Saturday June 14 at North York Central Library. For more info, please visit Upcoming Events.

Repair Café Toronto aims to reduce needless waste and build a repair culture in Toronto. We are offering the Repair Café in different neighbourhoods this year and we need your support. If you are interested in sponsoring the Repair Café or joining our volunteer team, please contact us at info@repaircafetoronto.ca.

We are planning to provide a workshop in the fall on how to organize a repair café. If you are interested in attending this workshop, please sign up on the home page of our website and we will contact you for further details.

Repair Café on the Danforth

The Repair Café had another terrific event with lots of fun fixing things and meeting new people on April 12. This month, we joined the Toronto Tool Library on the Danforth and participated in the Danforth East Community Association’s Dreams event. We enjoyed very much the hospitality of our east-end friends and are full of thanks to Mr. Haig Baronikian for giving us the space to hold the event! A big thanks to all the volunteers for their super enthusiasm and generous support.

With the help of our fixers, many broken items such as lamp, radio, clock, blender, dehumidifier, bag, were diagnosed. Some were fixed while others required special parts or were not repairable. Regardless of the results, their owners were happy, as the fixers had taken the time to look at their items and made their best efforts to help them.

The next Repair Café is our first anniversary! We hope you can join us at Skills for Change on May 10. For more details, please visit the Upcoming Events page.

Repair Café at March Break

Thanks to all the volunteers and visitors who joined the Repair Café on March 8! This time, we have our youngest visitor, Simon, telling us what he has learned on fixing his backgammon board! Watch the video above.

 
Two of our volunteer fixers, Renae and Phil, who are specialized in 3D printing, teamed up to fix a motorized pencil sharpener. Here’s how Phil described it:
“This was a broken gear from a lady’s motorized pencil sharpener. It’s an unusual gear that would be difficult to find a replacement – so we measured out the dimensions, number of teeth, angles of the teeth, etc. It was NEARLY a success! I accidentally reversed one part of the gear, and the fit could be improved. But hopefully with one more print it will do the trick.”
If you would like to get help fixing a broken household item or learn how to do it yourself, don’t miss the next Repair Café on Saturday, April 12 at Toronto Tool Library. Everyone is welcome to participate for free! For more info, please visit the Upcoming Events page.

Repair Café at Toronto Reference Library

We had the 8th monthly Repair Café held at the Toronto Reference Library on February 8th. This was the first time the Repair Café reached out to the neighbourhood in the downtown core.

If you had happened to pass by the Café, you would have been drawn into the energy that filled the room, with fixers and visitors talking to each other while they repaired various broken items together.

With the terrific support from our dedicated team of volunteers, we had a delightful success with a great turnout of visitors. Once again we are grateful to our partners: Toronto Public Library, Frank’s Pizza House, Balzac’s Coffee Roasters and Circles and Squares Bakery.

If you need help fixing a broken item, don’t miss our next Repair Café on March 8 at Skills for Change. We will have fixers available for computers, small appliances, lamps, small furniture, clothes, jewellery and books, among other household items. You will also have a chance to see a 3D printer at work creating parts for repair replacement. For details, please visit the Upcoming Events page.

Repair is Better than Recycling – Join the Repair Café Feb 8!

Have a broken computer or electronics item at home? Bring it to the Repair Café at the Toronto Reference Library this coming Saturday. Not only can you save money from buying a new one, but you can also learn how to fix it yourself.

Repair is better than recycling. A significant amount of raw materials, fresh water and energy is required to manufacture the electronics that many of us use for a short period of time, and a lot of carbon dioxide is emitted during the production process. Also, the many types of metals used are hard to recover from the recycling the electronics. Therefore the best way to minimize the impact of our electronics on the environment is to get the most out of them before discarding them.

Recycling isn’t the answer; it’s the last resort. Repair is the step to take to prevent any needless waste. Come to the Repair Café this Saturday (February 8) at the Toronto Reference Library at Yonge and Bloor and meet our team of 20 fixers who can help you with fixing your broken electronics, small appliances, lamps, small furniture, clothes and jewellery. You can also see demonstrations on how a 3D printer can produce parts for repairs. By the way, the newest addition to our team of fixers is someone who is specialized in binding books!

If you would like to learn more about why recycling electronics is a waste of energy and what is in your cell phone and you can’t wait till this Saturday, here’s a great site to visit in the meantime: ifixit.org.

 

Get Unique Learning Experience at the Repair Café!

Last Saturday, The Repair Café returned as the first one in 2014. Many thanks to the volunteers and the visitors, it was once again a successful event! The fixers were happily busy with helping visitors fix the items they brought and the visitors enjoyed learning how to do the repairs themselves. If you would like to be part of this experience, have a cup of coffee while meeting some friendly people, don’t miss the next Repair Café on February 8 at the Toronto Reference Library. It is all free! For more info, please refer to the Upcoming Events page.