Canada's first 'Library of Things' opens in Toronto

The Sharing Depot storefront
© The Sharing Depot (via Facebook)

The Sharing Depot is a place where you can borrow everything from camping gear, tools, and board games, to children's toys, playpens, and sporting goods.

When my husband and I purchased our first house, we quickly realized how few tools we owned. Need to hang a painting? We had to go buy a hammer and some nails. Dirty kitchen floor? Time to buy a broom, a vacuum cleaner, a mop and pail. It made me realize how many little things I took for granted, first while living with my parents, and then while renting furnished apartments.

During that period of adjustment to home ownership, I kept saying to my husband, “If only there were a place to borrow these things.” A lawnmower, snowblower, whipper snipper, lawn seeder, hedge trimmer – it seemed ridiculous that most people on the block owned expensive specialty items, and yet only used them for a fraction of the time.

So you can imagine my delight when I learned about a new ‘Library of Things’ that opened this year in Toronto. Called The Sharing Depot, it’s the first of its kind in Canada. While I live too far away to take advantage of it, I am pleased that many others in the city will be able to use it, and hopefully the concept will catch on in nearby cities. The idea makes so much sense.

tools at The Sharing Depot© The Sharing Depot (via Facebook)

The Sharing Depot embraces the notion that, when resources are shared, everyone becomes a bit richer, not least of all the Earth. The Depot’s mission is to challenge a culture that would have people identify with the process of ownership and define themselves by the objects they own. Why? Because, as Sharing Depot co-founder Lawrence Alvarez writes, “The Earth cannot afford for all of us to own it all.” We cannot continue to purchase tools and other occasionally-used household products at the rate we do; it’s completely unsustainable.

The Depot has the added benefit of saving a lot of money. It allows people who may not be able to afford all those costly extras to maintain a beautiful home and do repairs at will, instead of being restricted by finances.

The Sharing Depot builds on the idea of the tool library, which has caught on in many places around the world, including Toronto, but takes it further. There you can borrow anything from tools, camping gear, and garden furniture, to children’s toys, kitchen supplies, board games, and party supplies (even cotton candy machines and disco balls!).

The Sharing Depot camping gear© The Sharing Depot (via Facebook)

“People should stop buying things they don’t always need,” said co-founder Ryan Dyment, adding the long-term strategy is to partner with manufacturers and make sure products are designed to be durable, reused and shared. “The idea of a circular economy is for more people to lease things rather than own them. That’s the future that I think is practical.” (via Metro News)

Memberships range in price from $25 to $100 CAD for one year, and the type of membership you choose allows longer borrowing periods and access to swapping events.

If you love this idea but don’t live in Toronto, check out these great instructions for creating a Library of Things in your own community.

Tags: Communities | Economics | Less Is More | Toronto

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