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As you may know, at the end of November, we had to halt our operations and store all of our tools, benches, materials and more. We put the call to our volunteers, members and supporters that we urgently needed to move. Our thanks to local media outlets, community newspapers, and everyone else who helped spread the word via social media.
We’re so thankful for the outpouring of support – from community groups, businesses, and generous individuals – who contributed their brawn, talents, transport, storage, and more. With your help, all of our inventory and stuff is safely stored with our friends at Dymon Storage, Beyond the Pale Brewing, Brezach Solutions, McGuire Agency, and Just Food. Thank you to everyone who responded to the call … we truly couldn’t have done it without you.
For the moment, our tools are in storage. We did managed to continue with some of our workshops in December thanks to KJP Select Hardwoods, and our Tinkering School thanks to Ottawa School of Art. However, the latest lockdown has also put these efforts on hold. Our webstore is offline, but we’re examining ways to return to offer online merchandise and surplus tools during our closure. Our series of Repair Cafés remain suspended until we can host them safely.
We’re very sorry for the inconvenience our closure has obviously caused for our members are our community. Thanks to everyone for your patience and support. Most importantly, the OTL will return. We’ve always been solvent and paid our bills, but the outpouring of support in December has highlighted the value that you, our friends and neighbours, put on access to the tools, advice and skills we provide to the community.
We’d already begun looking at different spaces before we had to move, but affordable light commercial warehouse space is a rarity in Ottawa. Our operations necessitate certain parameters: ground level, high ceilings, accessible by bus and transit, parking, and accessible to those with mobility issues.
So, the OTL continues to look for a new space to resume operations as soon as possible in the new year. Ideally, we’re seeking the following:
We’re working with a broker to scour the city and have toured a lot of spaces in Ottawa, but haven’t yet found a suitable home. Given the low city-wide availability, our best bet is to learn about spaces before they’re listed. Do you have a suitable space for the OTL in Ottawa, or know someone who might? Contact us.
We’re also appealing to local community groups, social enterprises or non-profits who may be interested in co-locating with us in a larger space. We’re most interested in collaborating with those involved in the sharing/circular economy, promoting environmental sustainability, or teaching skills in our community. If you and your organization are interested, please get in touch.
Foremost, if you want to be the first to know about the OTL’s next chapter, subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll do our best to keep you updated about our space hunt, programming, webstore, and what’s next for the OTL.
Not everyone has a spare warehouse to fill, but there are many other ways to show your support:
Our story is far from over. Stay tuned to our newsletter or follow us on social media for updates on our next chapter!
Bettina & the OTL Team