Our latest full Repair Café held at the Toronto Reference Library on January 20 drew a record high number of 171 visitors. A variety of broken items including lamps, vacuum cleaners, computers, books, jewellery and clothing items were brought in. Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, an estimated 141 items were fixed!
We have some more good news to share. Already in this year alone, three new organizations have reached out to us for advice and support in organizing their repair cafés. They are York Region, Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U), and Fort Worth in Texas. Fort Worth first contacted us last year and have decided to move forward with their first repair café this year. York Region and OCAD U just had their launch event.
York Region offered their first café at Newmarket Public Library on January 27. We shared with them our experience and helped them to promote their event. Their organizer, Myron McLelland, came to our café at the Toronto Reference Library on Jan 20 and had the chance to not only observe our event but also chat with some of our volunteers and visitors. It was great to hear their café went well — they had double the number of visitors they anticipated. They are now planning their next event for April.
OCAD U launched their first repair café on February 14 and they also had a strong turnout of fixers and visitors. The idea of starting a repair café there came from our jewellery fixer, Ken Vickerson, who is a professor at OCAD U. Ken approached their Sustainability office with the suggestion and we gladly shared our experience with them. Their organizer, Victoria Ho, also visited us at the Toronto Reference Library café for observation. A few of our fixers, Pauline, Viola and Kathleen, attended OCAD U’s event as volunteer fixers.
During the event, our clothing fixer and OCAD U professor, Bev Dywan, led a waste reduction initiative by handing out tenugi personal hand towels. Bev and her team made the personal towels with donated fabric on site and they are being used to replace disposable paper towels.
The OCAD’s café attracted great participation of faculty, students and alumni from the university, as well as from high school students and visitors from outside the college. Now they are planning to have the next one in less than a month!
It was wonderful to see other groups organize their repair cafés. We look forward to helping more groups to start their own cafés this year.
For our next Repair Café, we will be returning to Central Neighbourhood House on February 24. For details, please visit the Upcoming Events page. Hope to see you there!
Photographs 1 & 2 by Julie Trinh
Photographs 3 to 6 by OCAD U