Where to get your old stuff fixed up for free
"One person's junk is another's treasure" is what rang through my head as I walked up to the Whippersnapper Gallery in Kensington Market on Friday evening. The gallery is currently home to the Fix 'em up Free Market - an art project which is exactly what it sounds like. People are encouraged to come by, drop off their broken or unwanted items, fix things, or take something away with them: all for free.
"We're all avid dumpster divers and curb collectors," explains Kailey Bryan, "and we noticed around the city how much amazing stuff was getting pitched."
The Tongue & Groove Art Collective is behind the market, which is part of the Whippersnapper's summer exhibits.
"The volume has been crazy," says Maggie Flynn, "and unless it's a grey, rainy day this place is generally packed from open to close."
"Or later than close!" Kailey adds.
Each night, the team leaves some of the more weather-resistant items outside. By morning, everything is gone and a new pile of stuff has been dropped off.
According to Maggie, almost everyone who comes through loves what they see - and many have commented on how exciting and valuable the project is.
"We get a lot of people from the Co-op housing and the women's shelter," says Kailey, "and they're positive in spirits but have made it very clear to us that there is a genuine need for a space like this."
Currently, the Fix 'em up Free Market will wrap up on June 12 - but the team is currently brainstorming ways to continue the project after that.
In the mean time, Tongue & Groove invites anyone to come by, drop some stuff off, pick some stuff up, get something fixed, or stay awhile and help them fix items up. They have a number of tools on-site, including hammers, a drill, paint, and a sewing machine.
"We're really lucky - we have other people coming in and sharing their skills," says Maggie, "and we love that. We could use more than one electrical engineer neighbour!"
The Fix 'em up Free Market is open Wednesday - Sunday from 12 - 7 p.m. until June 12.
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