Repair Cafe A Success

By Gord Ball – Special to SUNonline/Orillia

Dozens of residents brought their broken or torn possessions to St. James Anglican Church last Saturday, where fixers were on hand to make repairs and return their trash into treasure at the 6th annual Orillia Repair Café. Supported by local volunteers and Sustainable Orillia, St. James’ Anglican Church, and Lake Country Time Trade.

Annalise Stenekes

Organizer Annalise Stenekes said she was delighted with the turn-out on a wet, dreary day.

Light refreshments were provided as well as child-friendly activities. 

Sewing machines were made to run again, pants were hemmed, computer problems were resolved and loose furniture legs were secured. Broken toys, small electronics and lamps were all given a new lease on life, contributing to more than 230 kg of potential waste diverted from the landfill. An estimated $1000 was saved.

By noon, event co-organizer and sewer Michele Murray said she had already made a dozen sewing repairs, mending cushion covers, patching jeans, and reconnecting ripped seams.

People cheered when music rang out from an antique Gramovox vertical record player after fixer Cliff Perry gave it new life.

Electrical appliance repairs were especially popular as a line-up of people waited for a turn to meet with fixer Nick Leicht who was busy repairing electronic devices and resolving computer issues.


A dysfunctional ceramic lamp – one of a cherished pair – was restored to the delight of its owner Wilma Van Schelven who said she’d been given an estimate of $165 for the same repair.

Matt Thomson and David Brister shared gardening tips, and gave out a wide variety of seeds and tomato seedlings.

“The Repair Cafe is helping to create a sustainable community,” said Marilyn Clark. “We have become a throw-away and single-use society and it is destroying our planet. I am retired and have a more limited income. The opportunity to bring items to the Repair Cafe helps me save money and do something tangible to help the environment”.

The Repair Cafe concept started in Amsterdam in 2009 when Martine Postma became frustrated with society’s throw-away culture and decided to take action. Repair Cafe events are now run across the world saving money, reducing landfill waste, cutting CO2 emissions, promoting learning and fostering community connections.

For more information about the Repair Cafe contact Annalise Stenekes or Michele Murray at 

(Images Supplied) Main: Repair Cafe volunteer team


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