SWRC Update: The first Repair Cafe in Saskatoon

SWRC Update: The first Repair Cafe in Saskatoon

On Saturday Oct 20th, the SWRC put on Saskatoon’s first Repair Café. These day-long repair events are a global movement and we have been considering holding one for a while. We were inspired by both the Regina Public Library hosting two Repair Café events as well as several in Prince Albert. 

A Repair Café brings together local residents and volunteer repair experts for one day. The goal is to promote repair in general and to teach people how to repair their own items.

At the Saskatoon event, more than 40 people brought in 66 items and we repaired 51 of them. Items to repair included a coffee maker, a stool, a wooden toy, clothing and shoes. Several people dropped in just to learn more about the space and the event, even though they didn’t have anything to repair.

Key to the success of the repair café were our great partners. Our host, the Saskatoon Makerspace, was an ideal location. They already own most of the equipment needed to do the repairs: a sewing machine, soldering equipment for fixing electronics, woodworking tools for fixing furniture, even welding equipment.

The Library of Things in Saskatoon also came on board to help with small tools and event coordination. Saskatoon’s Habitat for Humanity Restore supplied us with lots of hardware and helped to promote the event. London Drugs was our local sponsor and provided repair supplies, coffee for the café aspect and a gift card for a draw.

Though there was no charge for repairing items, patrons were generous with donations. In all, people donated over $200. Some of this was used to buy food for volunteers; the remainder was donated to the Makerspace to cover the use of their shop supplies and space.

Overall, we were really happy with the event. Plans are underway to hold another one in spring. Though the SWRC may step back from being the active organizer, we look forward to promoting and supporting all Saskatchewan communities in holding their own Repair Cafés.