Repair is a Process

Aug 15 cafe wide shot

bike fixers

On the morning of Saturday August 22, Repair Cafe visited Central Neighbourhood House on Ontario Street. We were received by the welcoming staff who helped us set up in their colorful gymnasium. The space was transformed into a repair cafe with the different stations marked with signage. A bike repair station was set up outside the entrance. As it got closer to the noon start time, volunteer fixers steadily rolled in with their toolkits and prepared their own worktables while the event volunteers at the registration table kept the lineup of visitors moving smoothly to their assigned fixers.

Throughout the four hours, visitors continued bringing in all kinds of items, including laptops, lamps, clothes, jewellery, books, bikes, among others. Every volunteer was busy with helping the visitors. Many visitors were happy as their items got fixed, including those in the photos below. More “Fixed!” photos are being posted on our Facebook page.

Giles with visitor

Paul with visitor on umbrella

visitor with fan fixed_small

little girl _bike

We have been asking our fixers to share with us the tools they use. At this Café, Pauline and Aaron were interviewed. Pauline is specialized in fixing jewellery items and Aaron is skilled at repairing appliance items. You can meet them and learn about their favourite tool by visiting our Videos page.

As in every Café, our dedicated fixers work hard to help the visitors with every single item. Both our visitors and fixers often tell us that one of the things they enjoy is not just getting something fixed, but the repair process itself. The process brings alive values that are important in building a sustainable and caring community  – learning, collaboration, mending. Repair is a learning process in which the owner of the item learns about the item’s components, how they work, and how to troubleshoot. Repair is a collaboration process in which the fixer and visitor work together to share and create knowledge about repairing. Repair is also a mending process in which our volunteers and visitors spread the spirit of kindness and generosity in the community. Michelle, one of our visitors said it well in her survey form, “Repair – great, learning – awesome, connectivity to community – priceless.” We are glad that our Repair Café community embraces these values.

We would like to thank all the volunteers who helped make this another successful event! Our fixers, event volunteers, bakers! A special thanks to Eduardo who made and provided the bounty of cinnamon rolls. And a big thank-you to Central Neighbourhood House. We are grateful for the wonderful sponsorship of Daniel et Daniel for the pastries as well as McCray Optical Supply Inc. for the donations of eyeglass hardware.

group shot with CNH

Photographs by Lon Appleby and Heather Ramsay

If you are interested in sponsoring or volunteering with the Repair Café, we would love to hear from you. We can be reached at

In response to the increasing demand for Repair Café, we will be offering two events in September,  one on the 12th and the other on the 26th. We look forward to visiting two new Toronto Public Library branches this fall. For details, please visit the Upcoming Events page. We hope to see you at Repair Cafe!