Sooke Repair Cafe #2: Photo Gallery

Snapshots by which to remember a fun and rewarding Sooke Repair Cafe #2. Our gong was sounded more than 25 times during the day to mark successful repairs, each time generating a round of cheers and the sound of cash being deposited into our donation jar. Warm thanks to all our fixers and all the Sookies who dropped in with either an item for repair or simply to enjoy the warm, communal atmosphere. We’ll be back again next spring and, in the meantime, be sure to hold onto any malfunctioning whatevers so that our team can do their thing next time. A memorable way to celebrate  International Repair Cafe Week as well as Waste Reduction Week in Canada and, thanks to Mayor Maja Tait’s declaration, in Sooke as well.

#BYOB Sooke

First raised as a wildmind idea at a Transition Sooke meeting some years ago, the BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) plastic-reduction/public awareness initiative is finally good to go.  Prominently posted reminder signs in parking lots and on storefronts have done the trick elsewhere in the world, so why not Sooke too?  After much planning, we’re happy to report that customized versions of our Zach Ogilvie’s eye-catching design will be going up at Home Hardware, Pharmasave, Village Food Markets and Western Foods in the days ahead. Sincere thanks to all these responsible retailers for signing on for what’s intended to be, among other things, a cure for the frustration we all feel when arriving at a check-out counter and only then remembering the pile of canvas bags stuffed in our back seats and car trunks.  Credits: Thank you Zach at Ogilvie Creative for the concept and design; Tony Green at Sooke Signs; and the team that approached and sought buy-ins from our town’s major local retailers ~ namely Jo Philips, Glyse Clarkston and her kids, Mark Ziegler (who broke ground with retailers on behalf of TS), several students from the Youth for Change team at Edward Milne Community School, and also pats on the back to ZWS regulars Wendy, Bernie and me too. Now everyone, please remember to #BYOB and let’s make reducing plastic use in the Sooke region an everyday habit.

Repair Café #2 – Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Community Hall

Broken zipper? Faulty clock radio? A toaster that won’t pop? Zero Waste Sooke’s Repair Café is your answer to the throwaway culture.   

Because it was so much fun the first time, we’re again rallying local volunteer fixers for a second Sooke Repair Café, Sat. Oct. 21 from 9 am to 1 p.m. downstairs at the Sooke Community Hall. The premise remains the same: If you have something that isn’t working right, bring it to the Café and someone will try and help you get it back to working condition. The service is free, but you’re also invited to bang our gong to mark a successful repair, then drop a tip into the donation jar.

Volunteers are confirmed for bicycle repairs, wood and furniture, textiles and fabrics, and small appliances. Workshops on tool maintenance and the art of converting old t-shirts into funky fun shopping bags will also be offered along with an encore demonstration of 3D printing and its mind-boggling potential. Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be available.

The Repair Café coincides with the final days of Waste Reduction Week in Canada, organized annually by recycling groups across Canada (including the Recycling Council of British Columbia). This year’s week has daily themes. Through a happy coincidence, the date we picked back in the spring turns out to be the national “swap, share and repair” day.  🙂

Anything that is broken is fair game — lamps, hair dryers, clothes, electronic appliances, furniture, bikes, toys and crockery included. No guarantees, but more than likely these items can be repaired by our fixers. And if not, well, it was broken anyway and it didn’t cost you anything. In deciding what to bring, please be sure you can carry it in yourself, i.e. no large appliances, please!

Note: We’re still building our list of go-to fixers for this and future events. Want to be involved? Drop us a line at And if you’d like to contribute in another way, we’re happy to receive donations of repair material (finishing nails, adhesives, screws, etc.) that we’ll be sure to recycle back into good use. (Large piles of unmarked bills also gladly accepted, of course, if you happen to be the philanthropist of whom we and all volunteer groups in Sooke routinely dream.) 

Repair Cafés have become increasingly popular around the world since the first was held in Amsterdam in 2009. Several now take place regularly on Vancouver Island and this will be the second café in Sooke following the all-we’d-hoped-for-and-more debut in May. Zero Waste Sooke, a working group of Transition Sooke, operates these events under license with Repair Café International.

O’Connor notes that the cafés also promote skill training as experts share their know-how with those keen to learn. “It’s an ongoing learning process for everyone involved,” she says. “If you have nothing to repair, you’re still welcome to drop in, check things out and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Better still, you might be handy enough that you can help out with someone else’s repair job!”

Repairing rather than junking items saves money and resources while minimizing CO2 emissions that result from the manufacturing process. But above all “we just want to show how much fun repairing things can be and how easy it often is,” says ZWS coordinator Wendy O’Connor, who’s again organizing the day with colleague Bernie Klassen and the ZWS team.

Thanks to the District of Sooke for funding support through its 2017 Community Grants program for the two Repair Cafés and our Earth Day street clean-up.