Guelph Becomes Canada’s 20th Fair Trade Designated Town!

May 12, 2015 | Guelph, Ontario. The City of Guelph has been officially designated Canada’s 20th Fair Trade Town. The announcement was made at a flag raising ceremony outside City Hall on Tuesday May 12, 2015.

There were many people out to celebrate this event, with music, juggling, coffee, cake, chocolate and bananas. As well, Guelph was honoured to have visiting Mexican farmers share remarks about the impact of fair trade on their communities.

The campaign for Fair Trade Town designation began in 2011, when a small group of passionate people decided to get the ball rolling.  By 2014 there were many events to inform the citizens of Guelph of this initiative. Free Fairtrade certified coffee was served at many events and venues, as well as presentations, and movies. A directory was developed showing where fair trade products were available in the City. This status also acknowledges the City’s commitment in supporting fair trade by using Fairtrade certified products.

This work has been supported overwhelmingly by the community. Frank Valeriote, (MP), Liz Sandals (MPP), Grandmothers for Africa, many churches, as well as The University of Guelph, which is already a Fair Trade Designated Campus.

June Hofland, city councillor, who helped the steering committee navigate the process to gain City Hall’s support of the resolution had this to say: “The Fair Trade Town program was met with overwhelming support from the community and I would like to thank our community, our volunteers and the City of Guelph for their contribution in making Guelph a Fair Trade Town. It was an honour and a privilege to work with such an enthusiastic, compassionate group of people”. Fair Trade Guelph also had the support and interest of Bill Stewart, the procurement manager at City Hall.

“This project has taken a lot of energy from a lot of people and we are grateful for the support our community has given us”, says Sarah Martin, a member of Fair Trade Guelph. “We learned a lot through this process. It was fun and energizing to know that our efforts might make a difference in the lives of others. This became very clear when Chief Adam Tampuri, the Chair of Fairtrade Africa, spoke in Guelph in late 2014. He was very excited and passionate about the changes brought to his community through the fair trade movement.”

“Guelph’s commitment to fair trade and its campaign to become a Fair Trade Designated Town has been nothing short of inspiring. It’s been a privilege to work with their very committed team and it’s an honour to congratulate them now. I’m confident that for Guelph, this is just the start, and I look forward to working together in the months and years ahead” Sean McHugh, Executive Director, Canadian Fair Trade Network.

“There is no better time to celebrate Canada’s 20th Fair Trade Town than during Fairtrade Month! This engagement has a real positive impact in changing the lives of farmers, families and their communities in the Global South. We are proud of the people involved who have made this designation a reality.” - Hugues Tshibemba, a/Executive Director, Fairtrade Canada.