June 30, 2016 – Coast Salish Territories

VANCOUVER, B.C. A Summer Fair in Vancouver will host women vendors and artisans from Vancouver’s downtown eastside providing safe income opportunities for women in the neighbourhood.

The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre with support from the City of Vancouver and in collaboration with other women’s organizations including Battered Women’s Support Services, WISH, and Atira are hosting a Summer Fair beginning Saturday July 2nd operating every Saturday until September 24th on the 200 block of Columbia Street.

Over 40 women from the dtes community are provided with a safe and festive environment where they can sell hand made arts and crafts or second hand goods. Women from the dtes community are also hired, provided training, and supported to assist with the operations of the Summer Fair. As well as over 40 vending tables, the Summer Fair is seeking to create a destination where tourists and Vancouverites can spend a Saturday afternoon in a fun festive environment of music, clowns, and candy floss!

The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) holds a significant role in Vancouver’s downtown eastside where high levels of violence, poverty, and addictions characterize the community and where women and children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and injustice. DEWC provides a safe and secure space as well as basic needs and supports for over 500 women and children each day – 7 days a week.

“Services at our drop-in centre and shelter have created a safe and positive environment for the provision of basic needs and assisted women in overcoming challenges to improve their situations. As we work toward positive change for women in the Downtown Eastside, we encounter many women who would like to seek income opportunities but whose individual circumstances prevent their engagement in mainstream employment programs. A Women’s Summer Fair will provide women from the community with a source of income within an environment that holds the same values as DEWC: where women are safe, respected, and comfortable, and where their skills and abilities are recognized and valued” – Masami Tomioka, Drop-In Program Manager, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.

The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre sees a secondary potential and benefit from the Summer Fair. DEWC turns away a significant amount of used goods from the general public as there is not the infrastructure to facilitate the storage and distribution. Knowing that often perfectly good and useable items are turned away and end up at the landfill, as the Summer Fair develops DEWC hopes to match people with quality goods they no longer want to women in the community who can sell at the Summer Fair.

“Although our primary purpose is to facilitate real and positive opportunities for women in the dtes community, the Summer Fair benefits everyone: it creates income opportunities for women in a safe environment; offers local women artisans a safe space to sell their art; facilitates the reuse of quality items reducing unnecessary disposal at landfills; and brings a fun and festive environment to the streets of Vancouver” – Sara Nunez, Summer Fair Coordinator, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.

The Summer Fair is supported by the City of Vancouver, working closely with the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre to increase opportunities for women of the dtes community in a safe environment. The Summer Fair is also being supported by the DTES Street Market Association who are providing tents, equipment, and volunteers, and a small company, Portable Electric, who have donated access to green electricity through a solar technology battery system – which will provide power to event equipment.


For more information contact:
Alice Kendall, Executive Director, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre 778-323-4594
Masami Tomioka, Program Manager, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre 778-990-2572