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Collection of Wai Chu Cheng and Lon Appleby, co-founders of Repair Cafe Toronto

Do you have a small household appliance that's stopped working but feel guilty just tossing it in the garbage?   If you're like me that item will end up in the basement or garage to avoid having to deal with it when it's quite possible a minor repair could have it up and running again.  Sadly, with 'planned obsolescence' built in to so many of the items we purchase today it has become cheaper (and easier) to just throw things away and buy new than to have them fixed.  But how many people have these skills anymore? 

Here's where Repair Cafe comes in.  The concept is to "bring together people who can fix things and those that need things fixed".   The first Repair Cafe emerged in Amsterdam in 2009, the brainchild of Martine Postma who saw the pressing need to find a way to reduce the amount of stuff that ends up in landfill sites. Repair Cafe is a free service run by volunteers.  Its' objective is to help visitors learn how to repair things themselves.  As a side benefit it also provides opportunities for people to make connections within their communities, indeed "the project's social benefits are as appealing as its ecological mission". 


There are now Repair Cafes across Europe, North and South America. Toronto's first Repair Cafe debuted in May 2013.  Repair Cafe Toronto continues to hold monthly events at various venues around the city.


(quotes from The New York Times, May 20, 2012)​


1/3: compartments of assorted "nuts and bolts"


2/3: a river of coffee, assorted "nuts and bolts"


3/3: repaired appliances return to the community



Repair Café Toronto featured the art of Anne Winter on the cover of their 2014 calendar. Repair Café Toronto, which had its debut in May of 2013, is part of a world-wide movement which aims to build a more sustainable society and counter the throwaway mindset.


Text and images © 2015 Anne Winter. All rights reserved.

No content from this site may be reproduced without express permission from Anne Winter​

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