Friday, 23 May 2014

Support June 4th Moving Madness fundraiser for the Community Bicycle Network Toronto's original community bike service

Community Bicycle Network: Moving Madness Fundraising Party

TORONTO, Ontario All bicycle enthusiasts are encouraged to come out to the Moving Madness Fundraising Party to support CBN during their search for a new home.

The Fundraising Party will take place on Wednesday June 4, 2014 from 7:00p.m. – 11p.m. The event will be hosted at Round Venue, 152 Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market. Members, supporters, and alumni will spend the evening raising funds to purchase or rent any new space that CBN might find. The Fundraising Party will have special speakers, door prizes a silent auction and more. “There will definitely be some cool silent auction prizes up for grabs!” says CBN’s Board Chair, Adrian Currie

This Fundraiser comes during a difficult time for CBN, as the non-profit organization will likely find itself homeless before the end of this year’s cycling season. The old church at Queen Street West and Euclid Avenue was recently sold to a developer, and with that the organization has had to start looking for a new home. Having a space to implement CBN’s programming is central to the organization’s mission, but its future remains uncertain.

Nonetheless, the Moving Madness Fundraiser will be an important event in the 21st anniversary season for CBN. It began with the Toronto International Bicycle Show in early March, and will continue with historical bike tours of Toronto (a joint venture with Heritage Toronto) and the 3rd annual Toronto Vintage Bicycle Show. “Not only will we be trying to raise funds for any potential move to a new location, but we will highlight the fact that we need to support the existing 'infrastructure' that we have in Toronto,” Currie says.

Since 1993, CBN has been working to make cycling a more accessible form of transportation in Toronto by providing cyclists with the necessary skills and tools to maintain their bicycles. Offering expert repairs, workshops, a DIY space and discounted parts, CBN empowers and educates cyclists, while reducing congestion and the number of bikes going to landfills through sustainable cycling practices.

For more information about the Moving Madness Fundraising Party or to support CBN in their search for a new location, please contact Adrian Currie by phone at 416-504-2918 or by email:

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A lot of disasters recently. All different but something in common

Turkish mining, the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh, the Lac-Megantic railroad disaster, and perhaps the mother of them all, the economic crash of 2008. People die, lose their savings, their jobs, pretty much everything. Never since the 1930's have Adam Smith's animal spirits seem more animalistic. There must be a better way, and there is: how about a social economy that puts people and the environment above self-aggrandizement?        

TorontotheBetter colleague Zarathustra remembers Jim Flaherty and his legacies...

Remembering Jim Flaherty

He had a gentle humour and large, warm heart. He was quick-witted. He loved his family. He played a key role in the cabinet of Mike Harris. During his tenure, hospital funding was reduced, wards in mental hospitals were closed, welfare was slashed 22%, eighty percent of the cost of running Toronto’s public transportation system became the responsibility of the municipality, grade thirteen was eliminated, contributing to an explosion in university class sizes.

University tuition increased to staggering levels. Funding for graduate programmes in the humanities was cut in favour of programmes in the applied sciences and technology.

Affordable housing, woefully in need, would not be funded. The waiting list is now twenty-one years long. Pan-handlers would be stigmatised as public nuisances who could be ticketed by the police.

Our man with the gentle humour and large warm heart; our quick-witted man who adored his family, moved on to join the Harper team in Ottawa. His budgets would once again deliver massive savings at the expense of the 99%. Government departments would be shrunken. Employment Insurance would return savings by finding reasons to deny the claims of applicants. Sylvie Therrien could not in good conscience be a party to such immorality; she was hounded out of her job.

During our man’s tenure as a key player in the Harper regime, the number of temporary foreign workers in Canada has exploded to 350,000, exerting pressure on local workers to accept work at depressed wages with no benefits. This man with the big, warm heart who adored his family, balanced budgets on the backs of the 99%. To ensure the agenda he served would be starved of critical perspective and impervious to challenge, his last budget detailed a $115 million cut to the funding of C.B.C. Over the next two years, 657 employees will join the ranks of the unemployed.

May our man rest in peace.

May the apathetic 99% wake up from their deep sleep.



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Friday, 16 May 2014

Benefit Corporations take on "Greed is Good" capitalism

At the Tranzac Club on May 13 long time TorontotheBetter directory partner Sucheta Rajagopal of the Responsible Investment Association (formerly Social Investment Organization) introduced 3 would-be or actual "B-corps" i.e. Benefit Corporations, a U.S. originated certification process designed to provide a formal designation for corporations committed to goals more elevated, environmentally and socially than Milton Friedman's minimalist "maximize shareholder profits" mantra. Joyce Sou, a B-corp specialist at Mars Institute, identified a crucial shift in ambition from the historical "negative screens" of social investment to positive screens - equivalent to a shift from medicine's "do no harm" to an as yet not adopted "do good". Other B-corp panelists included Ran Goel of TorontotheBetter participant Fresh City Farms, a pioneering farm in the city, Alice Klein of Now Magazine, Toronto's lingeringly, in these AF [Anno Fordo] days, progressive popular media outlet, and Seema Pabari of wholesome lunch provider Tiffinday Catering. Much of the discussion focussed, naturally, on the challenging and sometimes problematic B-corp certification process, but it seems reasonable to ask, at a time when the world economy still suffers from the crash caused by traditional capitalist "animal spirits" excesses in 2008, what impact B-Corps are having on the collapse proneness of the market economy.  TorontotheBetter's Taodhg Burns pointed out that substantial growth of social enterprises and B-corps in recent years did not prevent the 2008 crash. In response, panelists pointed out that these are still early days for B-corps and that they are growing in numbers.Their clear implication was that time and further B-Corp growth may turn the economic tide. As an early proponent of what we call social economy businesses TorontotheBetter hopes so, but we believe there is more that needs to be done to change the economy than a certification process, however well-intentioned. Stay tuned to this space for some suggestions. As a start we have launched an Alliance for Toronto's Social economy (ATSE).

Monday, 5 May 2014

Barn Shrine moving to Owen Sound...

BaBarn Shrine, 2012 Design by Nature winner, a collaboration between Lubo Brezina of Lubo Design and Scott Eunson as a reaction to the loss of farm land due to suburban sprawl north of Toronto will soon be moving to Owen Sound.

Follow the Barn Shrine Facebook page for updates...

Thursday, 1 May 2014

As Toronto's leadership fails, TorontotheBetter launches a Pan-Am Social Economy Campaign

With the world, and particularly the Americas, visiting Toronto in large numbers over the next year, leading up to Toronto's Pan-am Games TorontotheBetter will be reminding visitors (and Torontonians too) that they have choices about how they spend their money. To update the World Social Forum slogan, Another world is not just possible; it is actual. There is a social economy available for those for whom the mainstream market economy, with its fixation on increasingly short-term and risky financial gain, offers less than they want when they invest in our city. It is Toronto's social economy that TorontotheBetter has been building since 2004, in its online directory and associated educational and communications events. We invite all to become Toronto social economy builders by following this blog and signing up for our Alliance for Toronto's Social Economy (ATSE). For more details right now, email with ATSE in the subject line. In upcoming months public meetings will be held in collaboration with our many TorontotheBetter partners. Stay tuned to this space; you can be a part of a better Toronto.

If it takes a village to make a child, it takes citizens to build a city. Join us as we strengthen Toronto's social economy at a time when our city's leadership is absent without leave. We can do better. And we will.