Sunday, 26 April 2015

When were sugar plantations ever happy places?! Take a good look at the sugar packages offered next time you go to your local coffee shop or hotel

Studying my sugar package at a Starbucks branch in downtown Toronto recently I saw something that made me  think twice about drinking the coffee I had just bought and was about to "sweeten". There on the package was a brown figure in a festive outfit apparently happily dancing. And there at the top of the packet was the word PLANTATION. Did somebody at \Lantic Sugar, the Canadian company whose name also appears on the package forget something about the history of sugar? The alternative, that they never knew about it, is unbelievable.

Hello, Lantic - Sugar was a slave-based industry in both of the major producing countries, Haiti and Brazil. And these slaves worked to harvest sugar grown on plantations. Was this really forgotten or ignored by the marketers at Lantic? Are we so  far away from the slave trade times that they think we can or should forget and believe that the lives of slaves were joyous and full of music? Maybe the brown sugar package for brown sugar featuring brown slaves was too much of a marketing opportunity to ignore, Hard to  believe all this was unconscious, but just as bad even if it was. Plnatations were never happy. The sugar trade was an ugly blot. The opposite of sweet.

The Plantation packages must go. And as a coffee drinker we suggest you ignore them, or throw them away or better still go to a chain like Second Cup which uses their own brand sugar packages,until Starbucks, Tim Hortons and other Plantation supporters get on the right side of history.

** MOST IMPORTANT** Please send us your Plantation sugar package sightings. We will forward them to Lantic witth this message.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

News from Community Bicycle Network - modern Toronto bicycle pioneer and longtime TorontotheBetter partner

CBN would like to inform you of, effective immediately, the closing of our 761 Queen St. W. location. With the impending renovation of our former space, CBN has decided to focus on our events and rides in the short term to better fulfill our mission to promote cycling in the community.
We will still be putting on and sponsoring a variety of rides and events including the Toronto Vintage Bicycle Show, Bike tours with Heritage Toronto and others.
We would like to thank all of our members, patrons and the community for their support throughout our almost 20 years at this location and we look forward to many more years serving the community. “It’s definitely the end of an era,” says CBN Daily Duty Manager, Jerry Lee Miller.
For the time being CBN will be maintaining an office at 761 Queen St. W.

All inquiries should be emailed to

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Informa Theatre Community-based Facilitator Training May 8-9, 2015

Informa Theatre is offering their Spring 2015 Community-based Theatre Facilitator Training from 10 AM to 4 PM on May 8th and 9th:

"This is a two-day intensive training in which participants will learn how to apply theatre techniques, such as ‘popular theatre’, ‘applied theatre’ and ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ to community-based settings. This training is especially designed for people who want to apply an interactive and arts-based approach to a wide range of community contexts, such as: community education, community development, participatory research, environmental action and violence/racism prevention work.

During this interactive 2-day training participants will learn by doing. Come ready to play, discuss, and be a part of a creation process.

Fee: $175 for two days. We recommend doing both days of the workshop, though we will have a discounted option for those wishing to do Day 1 (space permitting). If you wish to participate in Day 2 only, we require that you have some previous popular theatre experience. Those registering for the full 2-day training will have priority for available spaces."

For more details, see their Train The Trainer page.

Friday, 3 April 2015