Festival promotes fair-trade shopping

Finally, the phrase shopaholics all over Toronto have been waiting to hear:

Shopping saves lives.

This weekend, stock up on Christmas gifts while reducing poverty at the Ten Thousand Villages Mennonite Christmas Festival. Starting today, (Dec. 1), and running to Dec. 3, artisans from more than 30 developing countries will be exhibiting fair-trade handcrafted gifts and decor wares at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

The event also offers visitors the chance to enjoy carolling by members of the Pax Christi Chorale while sampling Mennonite baked goods.

Founded in 1946 by a Mennonite social worker, the Ten Thousand Villages organization sports the tagline “Commerce with a Conscience”. A member of the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), the organization is part of a global network of Fair Trade Organizations (FTO).

FTO’s are designed to benefit artisans by promoting products from organizations based in low-income countries.

Lori Sager, Ontario sales manager for Ten Thousand Villages, said all items for sale come from sustainable sources.

“They’re all fair-trade goods and the variety is incredible,” she said. “We have everything from Pakistani hand-knotted carpets to Colombian coffee, and even some beautiful vases from Peru.”

Admission to the festival, located at 235 Queens Quay W. is free of charge. Times are as follows.

Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM