Monday, 27 February 2017

Updates and Valentine's Day Message

Whatsup bloggers? Over the past little while, I've been finding partner organizations to all our companies listed in the directory. So far, I have found numerous linking businesses to Big Carrot, Mountain Co-Op, Blue Moon, Sequel Restaurant and many, many more. Since Valentine's Day just passed, I thought I'd share with you this illustration to remind you that when staring into the sky, love should be boundless and that time can stand still when you've met your soulmate. Thanks for reading, stay tuned.


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Markets, Being, Time and slow movement resistance


Slow food Toronto members  try to keep digestions (and lives) healthy

There's a reason everybody's short of time these days. Markets increasingly run on E-time while humans cannot. Not only does such frenetic and uncontrolled speed contribute to the kind of economic disaster the world experienced in 2008 but the toll on workers trying to maintain electronic production speeds is showing itself in an epidemic of stress related occupational injuries. There is no solution but adoption of the principle of slowness proposed by Slow Food Toronto []  and related movements. If we are to survive we must slow down. We were not built for the pace of today's post-industrial economy as it chases even greater returns in the same unit of time. Charlie Chaplin's  famous movie Modern Times, if updated, would a worker trying, and inevitably failing once again to keep cognitive pace with a computer chip, rather than, as in the original, a factory conveyor belt.   

And here's an example of how to do it.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Upcoming movie and book fair events on March 4 and 11 kick off TorontotheBetter's Year of the Commons

*Saturday March4, 2017 @2pm. Join TorontotheBetter at the Really Really Free Market at Campbell Park (225 Campbell Ave. north of Bloor and Lansdowne) for our book commons featuring a wide selection of free high quality books by progressive authors.

* Saturday March 11,2017 @ 2,3Opm. PWYC Movie screening: "Women of the Forest" (at OISE - 252 Bloor St. West Room 5-240). Proceeds after costs to Nepalese NGO Himawanti

.Nepal is one of the highest (and poorest) countries in the world. Canadian student movie maker Anna Desmarais found there women who maintain one of
Nepal's natural treasures, her forests, and documented their work to preserve the commons for their country, and us..
The movie will be followed by a discussion with the director

-TorontotheBetter is  a non-profit dedicated to building Toronto's (and the world's) social economy. Our original social economy directory
has been online  at since 2004. The "free" market economy let us  down again in 2008. Let's try the social economy for a change.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Organic food in bulk and affordable? It's doable

This Polish store "Nagie z Natury" (means how it sounds except the connecting z) shows
Know of others?
Time for all incomes to have the chance for quality goods. 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

From "Sharing Economy" to Social Economy - a conversation with author Tom Slee

TorontotheBetter recently met in the Kitchener, Ontario market with Matthew Piggott of TorontotheBetter's Kitchener-Waterloo fraternal co-operative enterprise Community Carshare and Tom Slee, author of "What's Yours is Mine:Against the Sharing Economy" (see Friday Jan.27, 2017 book review on this blog) to discuss the opportunities and the dangers of what is now commonly, and misleadingly, called the "sharing economy", that is: materially light and communications heavy enterprises featuring multiple participants.
Photo shows Tom Slee (left) and Matthew Piggott (right) in the Kitchener Market.
Predatory, regulation- and accountability- avoiding commercial enterprises like Uber were recognized by all  parties to the conversation as growing threats to community solidarity and there was broad agreement that greater awareness of the social/ethical options available in today's new technologically enabled economic spaces is necessary and possible  through linkages such as the one undertakenhere. That Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada's own technology hub and location of the famously pacifist Mennonite social economy was the site of the conversation represents future hope for a more progressive alignment of the new technology enterprise wave that is transforming economies worldwide. Public presentations on the subject of social economy are planned in the near future to bring these issues directly to a broader local  audience. We seek  partners from communities in Ontario and beyond in this initiative.         

*Tom Slee's book is published in Canada by Toronto publisher BTL [Between the Lines]. For purchase information email with Slee in the subject line.
*For carsharing in several major cities in southern Ontario see


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Cruyff Court Banner

Here's a fun image I put together to support the Cruyff project. If you have anymore inquires about Cruyff Court Toronto or want to enlist your kids to play soccer, please contact me at or



Monday, 6 February 2017

Toronto protests immigration bans: On Unions, Co-ops, Islamo- and other phobias

Historically the target of much political phobia from some quarters, unions are in fact forces for equality because they ensure there can be at least some justice in the relationship between capital and labour. And co-ops are also forces for good by ensuring  that there can be some balance in the relations between workers/producers and their companies  (in a worker coop) or between buyers and their suppliers (in a consumer co-op). Non-profit TorontotheBetter is a programme of a diverse worker co-op Libra  Knowledge and Information Services. Since we started up in 2004 we have probably numbered among our members atheists, moslems, Jewish, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. Why probably? At Libra/TorontotheBetter we don’t ask and usually don't know.

In our unionized co-op it is one person one vote; our interest is in our values and what we/you do, not what gods we/you celebrate… or don’t.  Take a look at socially progressive states like Canada and Singapore (a pioneer of multiculturalism) and we see a record of prosperity through inclusion. Diversity and inclusion work, phobias don’t. Chewing gum regulations and the like look like a small price to pay for the benefits of justice-based inclusiveness. No more ethnic phobias! Let's hope after recent protests like the one below

at the U.S. consulate in Toronto that the current president of the U.S.A. and his like are soon consigned to the garbage-bin of history where should lie racisms of all stripes.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Last Few Months Progress

Hey there readers,

For the past few months, I have been working with Toronto the Better updating our local listings and communicating with our affiliates. I received a lot of good feedback on how to improve our mission statements and imagery of the website to make it more appealing to our viewers. We now have each listings' Facebook and Twitter accounts, changed locations, new hours of operation and all additional services. With our enhanced website, we will further boost the economy of local book stores, cafes and online stores to better serve the community. Please feel free to comment on this post and tell me what you'd like to see differently in months to come.

Thank you,


TorontotheBetter [ ]
Toronto's original Social Economy Business E-directory

Friday, 3 February 2017

For a Better Toronto: on Sat. Feb.4 12.30pm - Protest Islamophobia and social exclusion at the US Consulate in Toronto

A better Toronto requires a better World for all! TorontotheBetter invites you to join this action at 360 University Venue (West side south of Dundas St.).
Thanks to Noone Is Illegal for the following information.
TorontotheBetter []
Toronto's original Social Economy Business E-directory
Dear friends,
A lot has happened since we last reached out. Over the past two weeks, we have seen a groundswell of resistance to the fear mongering and hatred ushered in by the U.S. president Donald Trump. In one day alone, tens of thousands of people marched in cities across Canada in support the Women’s March on Washington.
​Last weekend, when Trump signed executive orders full of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies, even the Canadian Prime Minister felt the need to tweet about it. Justin Trudeau’s social media stunt suggested the problem was down there and the solution up here, in the benevolent and peaceful Canada. But we know better.
On Sunday, January 29th, six Muslim men were gunned down in their place of worship. This was not the result of Islamophobia spreading north from the US, but rather emblematic of the true story of Canada, laid bare on blood-stained prayer mats in Quebec City.
The reality is this: While Justin Trudeau hides behind hollow platitudes and tweets of support for refugees, Canada has refused to make real policy changes to welcome anyone.
We are not fooled. Over the days, weeks and months to come, we must fight on all levels. This is our platform, and our pledge:
  • We will change federal immigration policy and ensure the regularization for undocumented residents.
  • We will end indefinite detentions and continue to fight deportations.
  • We will force provinces to step up, starting by refusing to house immigrants indefinitely in their prisons and eventually becoming Sanctuary Provinces.
  • And locally, we will build real sanctuary cities, ones that no policy change or political whim can break. Politicians have been patting themselves on the back about how welcoming their cities are, but only we can can turn a sanctuary city from a policy to a way of life.
Take a first step by signing this petition, calling your MP, and finding an event near you this weekend. Movements are built by organizations, and we urge you to become a member and donate.
The terror and war that Trudeau says Canada will provide refuge from is the same terror and war that Canada continues to participate in and profit from. Islamophobia was growing in Canada long before Trump’s rise to power and remains embedded in our society and our immigration system, which welcomes few and excludes many.
Like every Prime Minister before him, Trudeau has no interest in Indigenous self-determination and continues to allow widespread environmental destruction by supporting pipelines, tar sands, and Canadian mining corporations abroad. Like the US, Canada has a law and order agenda, specifically targeting Black, Indigenous, Queer, Trans, and racialized people. Indeed, by default, Canada is collaborating with the U.S. by not explicitly denouncing the racism, Islamophobia, and corporate greed of the new Trump government.
So here we are. Thousands of us will take to the streets this weekend as part of a National Day of Action to remember those who were slain and to say no to Islamophobia and white supremacy on both sides of the border. In these days of anger and mourning, we must come together and assert our collective power.
Many have asked, “what can we do in Canada?” We must demand that the Canadian government immediately condemn the executive orders signed by Trump to restrict or ban immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. We must pressure the Canadian government to change the policies that currently are keeping refugees out, and keeping immigrants in precarious situations. And finally, we must fortify sanctuary city policies and expand our efforts to create sanctuary provinces. Anything less is unacceptable.
Change will only come when we come together in struggle. Don’t let the platitudes fool you. Let’s fight to win.


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No One Is Illegal-Toronto is an all volunteer grassroots migrant justice organization that fights for decent livelihood, good food, education, healthcare, childcare, shelter, accessible services, freedom of movement, justice and dignity for all people, particularly undocumented and migrant worker communities in Toronto. We also act in solidarity with Indigenous movements for self-determination and organize against wars, economic and  environmental attacks that push people out of their homes in the first place.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Little Libraries - big potential

The almost inevitable entertainment personalities are signing on to the "little library" idea;  one of the latest "UN-housed" is in Toronto's Liberty Village (for the record by no means one of Toronto's most deprived areas). It looks like the library idea, at least its quaint "little" version has achieved its latest five minutes of twenty-first century fame... 

In all of this, there are some deeply important messages. Ideas matter and making them freely and conveniently available to all counts just as
much. Little libraries are free, self-sustaining and, importantly, unlike their more  well known "public" versions, informal, without cultural or social entry
requirements. There is no dress, behavior or documentation code; these are little, FREE libraries
in the full sense of that word. They spring up spontaneously in parks, laundry rooms and on benches, wherever there are people, in fact. As
long as they are seen and understood as routes to action they contribute to being a full person and citizen.  

AS FOR THE BIGGER LITTLE IDEA: If it matters for books it matters just as much for many other of life's necessities. With the developed world awash in so much stuff can there be any excuse for exclusion or deprivation? Embedded in the little library idea is the commons idea: there is more than enough for everybody and if  we manage responsibly it will be here for all of us forever. 

Stay tuned here for more on economic commons ideas and action. And please update us about little libraries and the like in your neighbourhoods.