Good vibes, great turnout for debut Repair Cafe

A report from ZWS coordinator Wendy O’Connor, who organized our first Repair Cafe with Bernie Klassen

“If you could harness all the positive energy and good vibrations in the room at the Repair Cafe, I’m sure it would have powered my sewing machine.  Once again, the people of Sooke fill me with joy.  A call was put out by Zero Waste Sooke on social media that brought out volunteers of all ages, each one eager to help in some way, from the fixers to the water boy (who did much more than that).

A heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers that helped make this event so special. Check out the photo gallery here

You could hear Elgin’s drill, or the thud of a chair leg returning to it’s snug socket, the clacking of knitting needles as Paula and Sarah waited for customers to bring them their darning or woolen mending.  Garrath working his magic over kids as they raptly watched him pull apart their parents mixer and then get it to work again.  Garrath’s dad Chris worked cheerfully beside him on other electrical or small engine repairs.  Jeremy from Cast Iron Farm was busy getting radios and clocks working again, while outside the Russell family provided a group effort in getting bicycles into better running shape than how they came in.  At a station beside them Forest worked with kids at helping them use tools to assemble mini bat houses for them to take home.

Nick and Triston from the EMCS Robotics team fielded questions on the 3D printer they had set up and running, Marion gave a great little workshop on how to save tons of money while taking care of your probiotic health in the making of homemade kombucha.  Bernie came up with an awesome design of a raised fist holding a screwdriver — “DIY or Die” is the theme — and was silkscreening  t-shirts that people brought along. 

Sookies brought the sunshine in through the door with them along with their broken items. The day was a huge success, 28 people filled out registration forms, but we estimate that about 40 people brought multiple items for repair.  At least 21 items were repaired and kept out of the landfill. The list included several chairs, a chainsaw, sweat pants, hairdryer, picture frame, purse, electric drill, alarm clocks, pressure cooker, two lamps and a steady series of bikes. Inevitably, some items couldn’t be repaired, but others were diagnosed for further work. 


There are over 1300 Repairs Cafes throughout the world today, and more being added each month. This is a gathering movement of people wanting manufacturers to build better products that last longer, and are repairable, and of people recapturing the skills of their parents and grandparents.

I would love to see more senior citizens sharing their skills with us at the next Repair Cafe Sooke!  Coming to you again in October.”

Zero Waste Sooke is a working group of Transition Sooke, both are always on the lookout for more volunteers or team members. If you’re interested in helping Sooke become a more sustainable community, please get in touch via and/or