The eSpirit Blog

Giving Gifts With A Meaning: Meet Beach United’s Christmas Market Makers-Part 5

As the weather is getting chillier and the days darker, we are beginning to think more about the warmth and brightness that comes with the Christmas season. Our Christmas Market is happening this Saturday, November 17 and we are so excited to feature eleven vendors who have been selected to attend for their deep commitment to fair trade, social justice and/or ecological initiatives. This is the final blog of our five-part series which highlights these special vendors and the stories their products tell.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading and look forward to seeing you on Saturday!


Christal Earle, co-founder, and CEO of Brave Soles is the founder of an international youth humanitarian organization and has been working and learning from a local community of garbage dump workers since 2005. I happened to be on two of those youth trips over 10 years ago! There are massive amounts of tires in the dumps and they are a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases and contained many toxins. Christal had a great idea in 2017 about how those same tires could be turned into soles of beautiful handmade shoes and create a way to help the local community in the process. That is how Brave Soles was born!

Brave Soles produces unique handmade leather shoes with upcycled tire soles. They also create upcycled leather handbags and accessories.

All their items are made in the Dominican Republic and through their business model; Brave Soles assists in providing small-scale suppliers the ability to launch their own businesses and to work with them as their first customers. They are deeply committed to fair wages and safe working conditions for all employees and suppliers.


Chocosol’s mission statement is: To craft revolutionary chocolate and maize foods that are good for mind, body, and soil.

ChocoSol is a learning community social enterprise that focuses on making the ‘food of the gods’ – more commonly known as cacao – into stone ground, artisanal dark chocolate. They were founded in 2004 in Oaxaca, Mexico but have been based in Toronto since 2006. Since their beginning, they have remained true to the culinary traditions and inter-cultural relationships that have rooted them in Toronto and Mexico. Their learning community social enterprise model engages in the passionate work of re-making a more ecological, just, and meaningful civil society. It is about combining learning and earning through disciplined research and creativity.

They strive to create an ecologically and socially just food system through chocolate, coffee, and maize. Cacao, the main ingredient in all of their chocolates, is organically and shade-grown, sourced directly from Indigenous communities and forest gardens in the Lacondon Jungle of Chiapas, Mexico and the Oaxacan mountains of Southern Mexico. In recent years they have expanded their trade relationship with cacao growers in the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. Their horizontal trade relationships with farmers go beyond the exchange of commodities and extend to the exchange of reciprocity, best practices, social enterprise models, forest garden re-generation and friendship.

Chocosol will be bringing a selection of delicious handcrafted chocolate, drinking chocolate, coffee and cacao products to the market! 


Since 2001, Talis has been offering a range of silk, upcycled accessories and silver jewelry. Their line of beautiful, vibrant silk accessories is handcrafted in Cambodia and includes scarves, purses, wallets, and knapsacks. Check out their fun variety of accessories made from colourful recycled rice, cement and fish fertilizer bags (how cool is that?). Talis also has a line of beautiful silver jewellery made by Karen Hill Tribe people. There is an emphasis on preserving the indigenous traditional silver techniques for the next generation.

Talis focuses on marketing avenues for these artisan communities, as well as contemporary and fashionable designs with traditional detail. They are a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation and are deeply involved with the entire production process; from visiting Thailand and Cambodia and working directly with the producers who handcraft all products and overseeing the working conditions; to selling them at shows.

Owner Sylvia Biro Price works with producers who are disadvantaged (such as with polio) and paying them a fair wage so they can create a better life for their families and communities. By working with these producers for many years, this creates sustainability and a lasting livelihood for communities. 

Check out our previous blogs here:

-Nicole Tanti, Community Engagement Coordinator

eBlast Nov

Advent Reflection – Online

Again this year, Jan Richardson is leading an online Advent retreat to provide space for reflection in the weeks prior to Christmas. Jan is an artist, writer and ordained minister in the United Methodist Church who travels widely as a retreat leader and conference speaker. .

Illuminated 2018: An online journey into the heart of Christmas will take place from December 1-28. It includes three emails a week featuring written reflections, questions and blessings by Jan, along with her artwork and the music of Garrison Doles. An online forum provides space where you can offer responses and engage with Jan and others during the retreat.

The individual cost for the retreat is $90 US, but a group rate of $60 US is available for groups of 8 or more registering together. If you are interested in participating or have questions, please contact before November 28.

More information about the retreat can be found at:


Christmas Market. Coming soon on Saturday Nov 17, 10 am to 2 pm. Preparations are well underway but we still need more jewellery for the BUC table. Please bring your donations to the office from 9 am – 1 pm Monday to Friday or contact Marney Winn    Thank you to everyone who has stepped forward to help so far. It’s a pretty amazing community effort.


Autumn Leaves clean-up day: the morning of Saturday, November 24, 2018… all are welcome! Contact Jennifer Chin


Tell me the stories of Jesus. Inter-active story-telling sessions for 4/5 yr old children at BUC.

Sunday Dec 2 2018    Christmas story   led by Don Gray

Feb 10 or 17, 2019   Jesus story . April 7 or 14, 2019   Easter story. June 2 or 9  Jesus story


Holiday Carol Event with Pegasus, December 5, 1.30 – 3 pm at Beach United Church. You are invited to come and sing with the staff and community members of Pegasus; a community project for adults with special needs. Contact: Nicole Tanti,