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B.C.'s first non-profit store selling used art supplies opens in Victoria

Supply Victoria executive director Ashley Howe is pictured inside the shop. (CTV News) Supply Victoria executive director Ashley Howe is pictured inside the shop. (CTV News)

The province’s first non-profit "Creative Reuse Centre" launched this past weekend in downtown Victoria with over 1,000 people attending during the opening weekend.

The centre is called Supply Victoria and it's a non-profit that redistributes used art, office, and school supplies through its low-cost supply store. It also offers programs and creative reuse classes to youth and adults.

Executive director Ashley Howe says Supply Victoria is like a thrift store for art supplies with everything from paint, brushes and paper, to bottle caps, pompoms, books and more.

"This is an affordable and more sustainable option and alternative to traditional art supplies," she said. "There are amazing resources for artists, students and teachers here."


Howe says the concept is unique to Victoria, with only a handful here in Canada and more than 130 creative reuse centres in the United States.

"Everything is either gleaned from local business waste or donated by the community," said Howe, whose mission is not only to offer affordable art supplies but also to protect the environment through reusing what otherwise might go into the garbage.

Supply Victoria plans to divert over 4,000 pounds of materials from the landfill in its first year of operation in its new space, putting the supplies into the hands of people who need them the most.

"So there’s a large portion of materials needlessly going into the landfill every year," said Howe. "So we’re just acting as a redistribution center to give those materials another life."

Supply Victoria has already been able to divert 2,000 pounds of waste from the Capital Regional District’s Hartland Landfill over the past four years.

It has done this through education and sustainable art activities with over 750 students, young and old, since its inception in 2018 through community events, workshops and partnerships with neighbourhood associations and community centres.

With a permanent location now open, Supply Victoria plans to expand its ability to capture more materials before they are discarded.

Howe says the centre will also help the City of Victoria meet its Zero Waste Plan target of reducing landfill waste by 50 per cent by 2040.

It’s a win-win for people and the environment, she says.


Creative minds will be able to find almost anything they need at a very affordable price, at least half of what you would pay in a retail store, says Howe.

Supply Victoria has 1,200-square-feet of space, including two rooms for supplies and a large open space for hands-on art education with reclaimed materials for youth and adults. It also offers space to rent to Victoria’s arts, culture, and non-profit sectors.

Soon, Supply Victoria will offer Creative Reuse Kits, described as curated take-home crafting activity packages, and launch an online store featuring reuse retail inventory with local pick-up or bike courier delivery.

You can also volunteer at the centre and gain skill-building opportunities, connecting with other creatives, Howe says.

Supply Victoria is located at 750 Fairfield Rd. and is open Thursday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Donations are accepted on Tuesday evenings between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Interested donors can check out the centre's website for current materials being accepted and criteria before dropping off donation. Top Stories


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