On Saturday May 25, 2013, Repair Café Toronto had its first opening at Skills for Change in the St. Clair West neighbourhood of Toronto. Our team of 12 volunteer fixers set up early with their tools and equipment ready to go, including an amazing 3D printer which was used to create parts for replacement on the spot. The fixers were so passionate about fixing things that they were all looking forward to receiving whatever broken items came through the door, come what may!
Pretty well from the moment the Café opened at 10 a.m., people from the neighbourhood started coming in, carrying, dragging, rolling in their broken items – about every 5 to 10 minutes a new visitor arrived.
The most common items were laptops and hard drives. Then it was lamps, a vacuum cleaner, electric heater, radio, toaster, pasta maker, microwave oven, CD player, shopping cart, shirt, necklace, umbrella, bike pump, handbag, everything and anything, it was great.
The fixers were kept busy for the entire four hours. They examined the items carefully, made the diagnosis, then showed the visitors how to fix them. Sometimes, two fixers teamed up and exchanged ideas and theories on how to fix a broken item. Watching them think it through was fascinating.
One woman who had brought in her computer and left with it fixed said afterwards that she was glad she brought her notebook. Other visitors we spoke to had the same reaction. They were not only thankful for the dedication and patience of the fixers in helping to bring life back to their broken items, but they learned something.
Some of the visitors stayed on after their own repairs to watch others at work or hang out while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. Everyone was smiling. Many asked about the date for the next Repair Café and a few of them offered to volunteer for future events.
It was a great launch. The success came from the strong support of our wonderful volunteer fixers as well as community organizations, including Skills for Change, who provided the venue, and Noir Coffee and Tea, who donated coffee and tea for the event. We would also like to thank our partners Toronto Tool Library and Toronto Clothing Repairathon for their assistance. As well, we have to thank the Repair Café Foundation for helping us start our own Repair Café in Toronto.
We hope to see you at our next event at Skills for Change on Saturday, July 6, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Whatever you need fixing, bring it on!
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We are going to post a video on our launch event soon. Stay tuned!