Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed August 24 2016

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | August 24, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    How Bunz is Transforming Toronto

    How Bunz is Transforming Toronto

    Illustration courtesy of Bunz

    It was a hot summer’s day in Toronto as I walked to my friend’s house with a bottle of wine and some locally made ciders. Within minutes of arriving, we’d opened our tall cans and got to talking about what we’d been up to, what was new and what I had missed. Granted, after not setting foot on home soil since November 2014 (nearly two years ago), it was inevitable that I’d missed some major fashion trends; four-seasoned globally warmed weather, the food truck rage and cool aps that were game-changers for how people did things in Toronto.

    My friend told me about hot apps like UberEats and Feast, where they drop off food for you because you’re too lazy to get takeout yourself; Food Toronto to keep you up to date on the location of your favorite food truck; Toronto Cycling so you can avoid getting hit by cab drivers like we all did before I left home to travel, but most importantly, a little gem called Bunz Trading Zone that my friend immediately informed me about with a shriek of excitement, knowing full well that I’d love it.

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    My friend announced, “Oh! You haven’t heard, have you?! Bunz has taken over Toronto and for the better!” As she knows, I’m all about anything that brings people together and minimizing my consumerism footprint, which inevitably left her telling me all about the wild trading world of Bunz.

    As stated on their website, the Toronto-born “Bunz Trading Zone is a community of people who have connected around the desire to trade their belongings with one another… We trade and make use of these things we have. Through connection and creativity our community does what it wants. “

    Bunz works on a no-money currency and relies solely on trades with the adage of “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, which left me pondering, “Why buy when you can Bunz?”

    After the tall cans and bottle of red were sucked dry, I joked about trading for the remainder of my time back instead of purchasing anything from a store. My friend laughed and said “Leave it to you to find ways to not spend money in the city.”

    And so begun my quest – utilizing Bunz to support the most expensive aspects of city life: Transit and craft beer. During the one month time frame I had remaining in Toronto, I traded for everything I needed and then some without ever spending a cent. I covered my transit costs, alcohol consumption, food, clothes and even random unnecessary goodies like Kombucha (the “Chinese immortal health elixir”) just because I could.

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    I traded a bag of rocks for unopened makeup; an old locket for a gigantic bag of organic produce; a T-shirt for three bottles of Kombucha; old picture frames and a chair for tall cans and a handful of subway tokens; a pearl for space bags; vegan soap for brand-name shorts; old clothes for various gift cards for purchases at liquor, clothing and grocery stores; an art print for a Mac keyboard cover and last but not least, a scarf and shorts for a hardly used Kindle, complete with a cover.

    If you ask me, this is one of the best things to ever come out of Toronto besides the Canadian artist, Drake. You interact with fellow neighbors that you never would have otherwise known; trade your old junk for new treasures and best of all, get to stick it to the big bad world of capitalism.

    So the next time you’re in Toronto, do yourself a favor and get ready to save your Bunz a lot of money for things you really need like that next airline flight! 

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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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