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What Borrowed Tools Can Do: Projects Made by the TTL Community

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

There’s no question that Toronto has some pretty exceptionally talented makers. We are extremely fortunate to get to see that talent on full display when makers borrow our tools and hashtag the projects they create with #TTLmade. Here’s a few that really knocked our socks off! Please feel free to share the projects you create, repair or renovate with borrowed tools (or in our Makerspace) by tagging your posts #TTLmade! For those of you who have your own ideas for projects but know where to get started, we can help you in two ways:   On Wednesdays, we run a free open Community Night at our 1803 Danoforth Makerspace so anyone can come in to use the tools with the help of our expert volunteers: 3D printers, laser cutter, full wood shop and any of the tools in our Tool Library inventory. This runs from 7pm-10pm every Wednesday, no appointment necessary – just show up!   We just launched Pay-As-You-Go-Fridays in our Wood Shop! We had so many requests for this we decided that very Friday in July we’ll open the woodshop for pay-as-you-go access. You can use the tools yourself if you’ve taken our certification course, or enlist the help of our onsite staff if you haven’t. If this goes well, we’ll make it a permanent service. LEARN MORE   1) A Pizza Oven Yup, Grant made this dreamy pizza oven using tools he borrowed from the tool library!   2) A Canoe Dana borrowed our scroll saw, belt sander, chisels and literally all of our clamps to build this beautiful canoe in his kitchen. You can read about this story on our blog.   3) A Balance Bike Michael, one of our Makerspace members, built this awesome balance bike for his daughter! The process: straightforward cutting of pieces with various saws at the Tool Library, including a lot of bandsawing. Glueing and clamping, followed by more bandsaw trimming, and shaping on the belt sander. Final hand-sanding, seat upholstery and final assembly were done at home.   4) The Bench Bar This is one of the loveliest upcycling projects we’ve seen in a while. Recently, our volunteer Jarrod built this whole thing using upcycled wood from an old fence with borrowed tools from the Tool Library! The middle opens up to a cooler for drinks!   5) A Wind Tunnel  Gordon & his team used our 3D Printers and Laser Cutter to make this crazy Wind Tunnel! They got the highest mark in their class for this one, obviously!   6) A Dulcimer  Our Makerspace member Sam working on his Dulcimer at our 1803 Danforth Ave Makerspace.   7) Steps Mihnea & family shared this photos of the back steps they...

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Pay-As-You-Go Fridays in the Wood Shop

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

  You’ve been asking for pay-as-you go time in the our wood shop – and here it is!   Your summer projects are ramping up, and we’re making space for you to get into the wood shop and get them going! Every Friday in July we’re opening the woodshop for pay-as-you-go access. You can use the tools yourself if you’ve taken our certification course, or enlist the help of our onsite staff if you haven’t. We’ll be open from 6 – 9 pm, with access starting at $15 an hour, or $35 for all three hours. See you by the saws!   Looking for our Wood Shop Certification Course?   To use the tools in our wood shop independently, you need to take our Wood Shop Certification Course which runs every Saturday from 10am-1pm at our 1803 Danforth location. During this course you will learn to the safe operation of the following tools: Table Saw Thickness Planer Jointer Router Table Band Saw Sliding Compound Mitre Saw Belt Sander Here are upcoming dates for the Wood Shop Certification: Monday, July 16, 6:00-9:00pm Monday, July 23, 6:00-9:00pm Saturday, July 28, 10:00am-1:00pm Monday, July 30, 6:00-9:00pm VIEW ALL WORKSHOPS...

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Big News – our East York Location is Moving!

Posted by on Jun 14, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

Big news everyone – we’re moving our East York location in November! * We’ve outgrown the space. We started in the basement, moved to occupy the main floor, and now we’re ready for the next level. We’re excited! * Why now? Longstanding zoning issues have come to a head and we had to decide whether to pursue rezoning or search for a more suitable space. The current location has always been a compromise, so we’ve decided not to rezone and find another space instead. The East York space is not suitable for our diverse maker community, and the Tool Library and Sharing Depot is ready to grow. Our other two locations – Parkdale and Hillcrest – will continue normal operations. This is a huge opportunity! An opportunity to grow, expand, innovate and reach the next level for our organization. The new space will be better, safer, and more accesible. The East York location has 3,000 members and we have made 33,000 loans – we’re a large community and we don’t intend to stop growing. * Where are we moving to? Though we don’t know the address yet, we aim to remain in the East side where we’ve built and been supported by a strong community. We’re working with partners, agents, and our existing team to find something perfect. * How does this affect TTL/SD memberships? Ideally, not very much! We’ll be closed for a few days while we relocate our inventory, and during this time we will accommodate all members at other locations. * What can I do to help? We’ll be sending out a survey in the coming weeks to ask what you want in an upgraded Tool Library/Sharing Depot/Makerspace. What kinds of tools should it have? How big? Should it have the capacity to be launched into space? Be able to create an artificial vacuum in which to test the durability of your Mars furniture? Your valuable input will be used to decide the makeup of our next iteration. What about metalworking, better dust collection, spray booth, a finishing area, and better storage? * In closing: You’re a part of this community, and we won’t let you down! Our work is so important for it gives access, teaches skills, and promotes sharing, all with the goal of challenging ownership, our relationship to the Earth’s resources, and combating the devastating changes to the climate that come with over-consumption, and business-as-usual. This move of our East York location is a chance to further serve this mission. If you have any questions or concerns, or want to get involved, please email us at   Warmly, Lawrence Alvarez, Co-founder/Board Member The Institute for a Resource-Based Economy...

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How Collaborative Consumption Benefits the Environment

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

There are numerous reasons people become members of the Toronto Tool Library & Sharing Depot. Sometimes it’s about the money people save when they are looking for specific items such as expensive tools for a renovation, a set of chairs and an outdoor canopy for an event or all the camping gear necessary for an outdoor escape with the family. Sometimes it’s about the community aspect of the space: the knowledge that by joining a library of things, neighbours are collectively supporting a place where everyone can access what they need regardless of their income. And sometimes, it’s about the space people save in their homes when they no longer need to store all these items they only need to use occasionally. On #WorldEnvironmentDay, it’s worth doing a deep dive into one of the most important benefits of all: the lighter environmental footprint that comes with borrowing stuff rather than purchasing it new in store. Here are 3 key ways borrowing from a library of things is more sustainable:   Borrowing Uses Less Resources Our current global socioeconomic system operates on one key principle: infinite consumption of goods and services. In this model, it’s ideal for each and every person to own things individually, even if it means each house on your block has a drill stored in the basement that’s only being used occasionally. Unfortunately for GDP and the pockets of rich people everywhere, this model is completely out of sync with the way our planet works. You cannot have infinite growth and consumption of resources on a finite planet. This might be why researchers are beginning to learn that: “between 60-80 percent of the impacts on the planet come from household consumption. If we change our consumption habits, this would have a drastic effect on our environmental footprint as well.” (source) Sharing items within a community is a great way to counteract this. If you imagine the amount of energy and materials that go into making and distributing a single tool (the oil, rare metals and water used in production, the fuel used to ship it all over the world, the packaging it comes in, etc.) you can imagine how much more sustainable it is to share a few drills amongst a group of people. The mass, private ownership of tools – as an example – makes little social sense when we consider that most domestic power tools are used for just 10% of the time they are designed to last and spend the rest of their lives depreciating in basements and storage units. Refuse to buy new and borrow instead.   Creating a Culture of Repair & Reuse Hot on the heals of refusing to buy new comes repair and reuse. There’s a...

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Please Welcome Hillary Predko, our New Executive Director!

Posted by on May 21, 2018 in Slider Home Posts, Tool Blog |

You might remember a few months back our co-founder and former Executive Director Ryan Dyment embarked on an adventure to New Zealand, supporting his partner in her new role as a Greenpeace campaigner. As we said farewell to Ryan, our co-founder Lawrence Alvarez began managing operations and leadership of the organization while we began the search to find just the right person to fill this crucial role. The Toronto Tool Library and Sharing Depot is now pleased to welcome our new Executive Director to the team, Hillary Predko! You’ll begin seeing Hillary around our spaces beginning in June – please join us in welcoming her to our community!     To become a maker is to make the world for others, not only the material world but the world of ideas that rules over the material world, the dreams we dream and inhabit together. – Rebecca Solnit   Hello, I’m Hillary Predko and I am a maker and community organizer who has been working on DIY and independent culture initiatives in Toronto for the past 10 years. I am incredibly excited to be joining IRBE, and organization that tackles the way people relate to one another and the world of material objects; I believe that sharing and learning together is the way forward and culture is a malleable membrane where society is built and rebuilt. I look forward to building to future with the IRBE and Tool Library communities.   I am wrapping up a stint at Autodesk’s Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco where I have been researching the implications of China’s recent legislation affecting global recycling markets, and I have written about global systems of production, consumption and disposal of objects. I co-founded an arts organization, Little Dada, that produces events, workshops and meetups exploring the social implications of emerging technologies and maker culture. My career has been eclectic and sometimes eccentric – which has prepared me for the complex challenges that arise with small organizations. I’m excited to work with IRBE, creating the sharing economy with an amazing team. You can catch up with me this summer on Wednesday evenings at the Tool Library Makerspace, or reach out at     The Toronto Tool Library is exactly as it sounds: like a book library, but for tools! We have an extensive inventory of tools to help you with gardening, lawn care, home renovation and maintenance, bicycle repair and so much more. With the launch of The Sharing Depot, we’ve now added camping gear, board games, party supplies, children’s toys and sports equipment to our inventory. We now have over 10,000+ items available to loan through our library across three locations in the city of Toronto. BECOME A...

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Will Universal Basic Income Be the Poverty-Reduction Strategy We Need?

Posted by on May 14, 2018 in Tool Blog |

Those looking to explore the latest research about the potential for a Universal Basic Income in Canada, check out the 17th annual North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress, May 24-27 at McMaster University. REGISTER NOW   Conversations about Universal Basic Income (UBI) are increasingly on the rise in Canada. Prince Edward Island has passed its first motion to participate in a pilot project with the federal government while the Ontario Liberals have successfully completed the enrolment phase of their own three-year pilot project. Thus, it is becoming increasingly necessary to discuss what benefits or drawbacks a UBI could bring, particularly as it is being constructed from within the very neoliberal structures which have shaped our current economic strategies.   Employment & Welfare Today’s employment landscape is one marred by seriously defunct socio-economic systems and an overburdened and failing welfare strategy. Since the 1970s, national economic policies have focused more on GDP growth than on full employment, with noticeable repercussions: increased disparity, lack of job security, fewer benefits and slashes to social safety nets. These factors combined with the rapid advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in the workplace have led to what Guy Standing refers to as the “Precariat” class: those who live in a constant state of precariousness and insecurity. “The Precarity Penalty”, released in 2015 by PEPSO (a joint effort between McMaster University and the United Way) found that an astounding 44% of working Canadian adults fall into this category. The research also revealed that this group was found to live in households whose overall income was less than 38% than those in “stable” employment, represented high rates of mental and physical stress, community and family tension, and difficulty securing childcare and job training. Trying to respond to all of these market and systemic failures is an overstressed and poorly managed welfare system – one that, as a result, is invasive, rigid and all too often misses the mark. There is ample criticism that UBI is not the solution to this dire climate. Groups like The Fraser Institute point to the high costs associated with its implementation, and claim it will actually discourage people to work. The economics indeed play a dangerous balancing act. If the basic income is set too low, no real impact can be made. Some argue that Ontario’s projected $1320/month (as reported by Hugh Segal’s “Finding Better Way”) falls into this category. If set too high, the project’s sustainability is threatened – not to mention that recipients can “coast” on the base provision and lose motivation to work. Or so the argument goes. To engage in a debate regarding numbers that have yet to be finalized seems moot in comparison to the less discussed issue at hand: can UBI be constructed...

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