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Tales from the Peace Café
Tales from the Peace Café

Tales from the Peace Café

The official blog of the Peace Café movement.

Sunday, 19 September 2010 19:50

Gandhi Peace Festival 2010

Written by Rob Porter

Coming up on Saturday October 2, 2010 is the 18th annual Gandhi Peace Festival in Hamilton, Ontario. This year's theme is "The Power of Nonviolence", and the guest speaker is Dr. Yaser M. Haddara.

As always, the festival is free (including lunch!), includes a fair of social justice and peace organizations, and a peace walk through downtown Hamilton.

Also happening around the time are two festival-sponsored events:

"The Fictional Basis of the War on Terror Wednesday" (speaker: Dr. Graeme MacQueen) September 29, 2010 7:00­-9:00pm McMaster Health Sciences Centre, Room HSC‐1A6

and

"Saving Green Spaces"A Workshop Moderated by Dr. Graeme MacQueen (with other particpants to be announced) Wednesday, October 6, 2010: 7:00-­9:00pm McMaster Health Sciences Centre, Room HSC‐1A3

Send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you want to know more or to volunteer.

The Hamilton Peace Cafe recently hosted two successful events! Last Thursday, Erin Stanley facilitated a zine workshop as part of our ongoing How To series. Zines are basically home-made publications that are self-titled and about whatever you want them to be. The skill-share workshop was attended by an eclectic group of folks that created several zines, and everyone had a fun time.

The other recent event was the Letter Writing Night on Monday. This was the first of what will hopefully be many more nights dedicated to writing letters to prisoners. The letter writer's drew on lists of political prisoners in Canada and the United States, and we sent thirteen letters of much needed solidarity and support. Some of the organizers from Hamilton's own Books to Bars were on hand to provide insight and information to what they do, Canadian prisons and prisoners, and to write letters. There were also generous donations of stamps and stationary from participants that supplemented the materials provided by the HCTP.

Thanks to everyone that attended and helped out with these events at the Sky Dragon. We hope to continue this momentum and see even more interested participants at the upcoming Letter Writing Nights, How To workshops, and more! Stay tuned to the website, cheers.

Thursday, 17 June 2010 14:04

Hamilton Rural Routes Bus Tours

Written by Rob Porter
This summer, HSR passengers will be going the distance to meet their City’s hardworking farmers; many city folks will discover first-hand that it can be a short distance indeed, from "field-to-fork". The newly developed “Rural Routes” countryside bus tours offers monthly farm excursions and is a collaborative projected being presented by Hamilton Eat Local, Smart Commute, Hamilton Street Railway (HSR), and Tourism Hamilton. These tours will provide Hamilton's public transit users with access to some of the area’s most dynamic farms; promote imaginative ways of using the City’s public transit system as a viable means to commute; and get urbanites excited about 'agri-tourism' by showing off the lush and beautiful countryside that surrounds our 'steel' city.

Karen Burson of Hamilton's Eat Local is so excited about this event that she can barely sit still while she's describing it. "As someone who decided a long time ago that I would rather be a transit-user than a driver," she enthuses, "I have been frustrated about the fact that the only way to visit the farms that I love has been by car. It seemed to me that there are a lot of Hamilton residents who might be just as eager as I am to find a way to get out of the City once in a while".

Inspired by a student-led environmental bus tour project called "Seed to Scrap" which took place in Fall 2008, and by a gastronomic tour of the Niagara region that had been organized by Slow Food Canada, Burson believed that a tour that explores Hamilton's agriculturally rich outskirts was a compelling idea. Each month’s Rural Routes tour will offer a unique program developed by the host farm. Each will also offer an on-farm market stand so participants can purchase a variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables, meats, and more before boarding the bus for the return trip to the City. The tours will run on selected Saturday afternoons from 1:00pm to 3:30pm. The pick up point for each tour is the Bread & Roses Cafe at the Sky Dragon Centre (27 King William St.). This innovative cafe will be offering Rural Routes ticket holders a free cup of their organic, fair trade coffee which is roasted in-house (which is about as local as coffee can get)! Adult tickets are only $5 for each trip while children and seniors tickets cost only $2 each. Here is a look at the schedule:

• June 12: Rural Routes will take passengers to ManoRun Organic Farm located in Copetown. ManoRun is well-known for their relationship with the Ancaster Old Mill. Denise Trigatti, farmer at ManoRun, will lead passengers through a herb garden discovery, livestock milking demonstration, and a talk about the joys of growing and eating food that is both local and organic.

• July 10: Morden’s Organic Farm and Farm Store located in Dundas will be the next destination. Morden’s is a co-operative of local farmers who bring their meats, dairy and seasonal fruits and vegetables to this health-food hub. Sandy Morden, owner and operator of Morden’s, will provide a tour of the farm and a visit with the farm animals.

• August 21: Rural Routes travels to Puddicombe Estate Farm & Winery of Stoney Creek, where staff will teach visitors the correct way of caring for peaches including canning and freezing techniques. There will be fresh corn in season available for purchase as well, so don't miss out on this traditional family treat.

• September 11: Carluke Orchards in Ancaster welcomes you. One of Hamilton’s best-known apple orchards will offer Rural Routes passengers wagon rides and guided walking tours. They are also well known for their tasty farm-baked apple pies.

Tickets will be available at Bread and Roses Café at the SkyDragon Centre (27 King William St.). There may be tickets available on the day of the tour at the pickup point, but seats are limited! For more information about Rural Routes, please visit www.smartcommute.ca/hamilton or call Hamilton Eat Local at 905-549-0900.
Monday, 14 June 2010 19:20

Hamilton Peace Network Night

Written by Rob Porter

On the evening of Monday, June 14th a small group of local peace folks got together to share their current initiatives, challenges, and discuss opportunities for the future.

The following is the summary minutes:

In attendance: Brennan, Rob, Ray, Aly.

Ray: Reviewed the history of this and other networking events -- the luncheons every six months, and the creation of the evening equivalents, which began in May 2009. The May event was a very successful addressing the issue of the lack of inter-generational exchange -- the luncheons were mostly older generations. However, there's been a decline since then that has not recovered. This is something that needs addressing.

Brennan: Currently involved with pacifist campaigns in high school, as a form of resistance to military recruitment being done within the high school. For example, guidance councillors are recommending military service to students, the military is given exclusive access to classes. The school has put up barriers to alternative opinions being expressed -- for example, not allowing white poppies to be distributed. Brennan is also soon going to Ottawa for university, and is looking to help out with bringing the peace café concept there.

Discussion about the high school issue, creative resistance ideas shared.

Rob: Hamilton Centre for Teaching Peace is incorporating, and taking a leadership role in establishing a Southern Ontario Peace Café association/network. We have been researching fair trade & organic cafés in S. Ontario, planning to visit serveral anonymously then approach appropriate spaces with an invitation to become a Peace Café. Also will be seeking out Infoshops, such as the Brock OPIRG infoshop in St. Catherine's. Also working on new integrated Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace website, and fall conference.

Aly: Working on initial draft to approach teachers about the Youth Conference in November. The theme will line up with the weekend conference.

Ray: Culture of Peace Hamilton has dropped "network" name, working on new logo. Has hired two people to work in social geography project for the past few weeks, on to the fall. Has made headways into connecting with mayor, police chief, concillors, etc -- many interested in the project. New brochure has been created.

Discussion of next events -- might skip August event and have it in October. Will discuss thus further at peace café meetings, and depends on availability of volunteers to coordinate.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010 19:37

Canadian School of Peacebuilding this Summer

Written by Rob Porter
This second annual Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP), a program of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), will be held in Winnipeg, MB, from June 14 to July 2, 2010 (www.cmu.ca/csop). Three 5-day sessions, each with two or three courses running concurrently, will be offered for professional training for practitioners or for academic credit. The Canadian School of Peacebuilding has been created to serve practitioners, professionals, activists, students, non-governmental organizations and faith-based groups engaged in peacebuilding. Its goal is to serve peacebuilders around the world by bringing them together in a collaborative learning community, nurturing and equipping them for various forms of peace practice and exposing them to some of the most significant, emerging ideas and teachers in the field. If you or someone you know might be interested in this program -- check out their site at www.cmu.ca/csop.
Sunday, 24 January 2010 19:41

Peace Cafés in 2010

Written by Rob Porter

Would you like to start a peace café in your community soon?

Maybe you don't currently call it a "peace café", maybe it's a worker co-operative café or coffeehouse or community centre, maybe it's a public outreach centre or a general public education centre. There's many terminologies that can be used to describe the idea.

Today I'm in Waterloo at the Wilfred Laurier University's Global Citizenship Conference, to present on peace cafés and I've found yet another group working on something similar. The approaches to creating a space for community engagement and empowerment are as varied as the communities within a city, region, province, state, or as varied as cultures worldwide. There is no one way of doing it, no cookie cutter that will work everywhere like a franchise. (Not that any franchise can work anywhere...)

As I said there's many approaches, most of which follow the path of forming a group of interest, finding a space of interest, and working together with a common cause and common values. A peace café may be something which exists only at certain times at first (event-based approach) or may exist where food and drink aren't yet necessarily available (someone's office with a self-serve kitchenette), or may travel as a meeting concept (like conversation cafés). Maybe it's a concept you'd like to connect to similar kinds of businesses (like a bed & breakfast, an inn, etc.).

Do any of these things sound like something you're involved with? Or want to be? If we don't know about you yet, perhaps you should contact us -- info AT peacecafe.ca.

No scope is too small. Some might be too big, but never too small.

Tuesday, 02 June 2009 20:59

Hamilton Peace Cafe Team Goes to Walkerton

Written by Chelsea Cox
A few weeks ago, some of the Peace Café folks took a day-trip up to Walkerton, Ontario. With an early start on a Sunday morning, Julie, Rob, Danielle, and myself jumped into the car and made our way North. Before we were even out of Hamilton we had already spotted a deer and the sun was shining bright in the blue sky. The rest of the day unfolded with similar blessings as we pulled into Walkerton and had a delicious lunch and fair-trade coffees served up by our friend Josh in the Walkerton Peace Café, the White Rose Coffeehouse. A main reason for our trip was to attend the 9/11 Truth event, “The Public Mythology of 9/11 and the Global War on Terror”, and we had the pleasure of participating in some fascinating discussions with some of speakers of the event over lunch.

In the afternoon we perused the small shops and Old Mill in Paisley, explored the Saugeen First Nations reserve along the shore of Lake Huron, passed through a rural field of wind turbines, and ended up on the dock on the secluded shores of a lake where we were joined by a few snakes as we watched the minnows and relaxed in the sun. After a few hours of wonder we managed to make our way back along the trail, surrounded by purple wild flowers and old Cedars. Once back in Walkerton, we joined the excited crowd at the historic Victoria Jubilee Hall, thankfully managing to find seats in the packed hall as the presentations began.

After insightful presentations from Dr. Anthony Hall and Dr. Michael Truscello, the highlight of the evening for me was the presentation by Dr. Graeme MacQueen. Dr. MacQueen has been active in various peace initiatives in the Hamilton area, and he even played a big role in creating the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University, which the Hamilton Peace Café has a strong relationship with. Dr. MacQueen’s presentation challenged the widespread public perception of what happened on 9/11, and his strong evidence and concise delivery was riveting.

When the event finished, we realized that it was getting quite late and we still had a few more hours in the car. Though we were all pretty knackered when we finally rolled into Hamilton, it was a fun yet relaxing day, and we all seemed thankful for it. It was nice to see what the Walkerton Peace Café is up to, and spend some easy going time with the busy bees of the Hamilton Peace Café. In fact we liked our trip North so much that perhaps a Friends of the Peace Café Canoe Trip is in the works for sometime later this summer??? We will be sure to keep you posted!
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