BTZ PLZ

It’s been one month since we introduced BTZ on Bunz and we are excited to share the results with you on how it’s going! 🙌 🎉

For those of you who may have missed it — BTZ are a digital currency that you can earn and use on Bunz.com or the Bunz App. We are working towards bringing BTZ on-chain and transitioning it into a crypto currency.

🤔 So, how were the first 30 days in market…and what have we learned?

~20,000,000 BTZ have been earned by people on the Bunz App. These have been earned by inviting friends, wallet activations and creating a popular posts. We are working on more ways for Bunz users to earn BTZ in the coming months — like a bounty for completing trades and much more. The more BTZ in circulation the better, but 20 million in users hands is an amazing start. We love hearing your suggestions on how to utilize BTZ to better our community, so feel free to reach out with your ideas!

15,000 Wallets opened. When you open a wallet on Bunz you immediately receive 1,000 BTZ. We have seen over 15,000 wallets claimed since launching — that’s an amazing start! If you haven’t activated your wallet — get started here and claim your BTZ.

Shortly, we will also be introducing balance privacy settings , as seen below. This ensures your BTZ balance isn’t exposed to people looking over your shoulder when you go to pay for something in shops that accept BTZ. You will be able to turn balance privacy off and on in settings, this will be available in the next release in the coming week or two.

90,000 transactions using BTZ! In the last 30 days people have transacted with BTZ over 90,000 times. Transaction velocity is important to Bunz as it means the coin is usable — something we are very focused on. We are working on more ways for you to pay in our shop locations, so stay tuned as we are going to make it even easier to pay with BTZ in the coming months. Remember, you can send BTZ two ways — through a chat or by scanning another persons QR code.

4,000,000 BTZ have been transferred peer-to-peer on Bunz! This is super important as it means that BTZ aren’t just being used at shops — they are being used as a medium of exchange between Bunz in the community! If you dont have tall cans or subway tokens, BTZ are a great way to trade.

2,000,000 BTZ have been earned for referring friends. 👫 Bunz was built on the principal of ‘everyone was invited by someone’ when it was first established on Facebook — and now, BTZ are being used to reward you and your friends with 500 BTZ each when you invite them to the Bunz App. We are working on new ways to invite friends that will be rolled out with other exciting and new social functions we have been working on integrating into the Bunz app.

30 Merchants are available today on the app. 🛍 We have another 120 that are coming online in Toronto and are working with a number of shops in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal and select US cities. Here is a great fact for shop owners, did you know that 92% of stores have received new traffic because they accept BTZ? We are so proud to have brought new business to our amazing partner shops and are working to make it even easier to pay with BTZ in the future. We hear you non-Torontonian Bunz, you want Shop Local in your city! Email us suggestions of places in your community that you’d like to redeem or share this post with your friends who own a business. Our mission is to make BTZ the most usable cryptocurrency in the world — spread the word and we will do the hard work to ensure you can spend BTZ at the places you love. 🌎

Also, shop local will be coming to web… another way to connect with great stores in your city and shop from them using BTZ you earned on Bunz!

1,000,000 BTZ spent at Merchants. 🛒 From coffee at Strange Love to Fish and Chips at Hooky’s — people have been earning and spending BTZ at local stores they love! We are in regular communication with our shops and are working towards making the transaction experience even easier for all. The team at Bunz is working on a merchant companion app to make the transaction experience for our shops even easier — Check it out 👇

The baseline usage of Bunz went up across the board. Monthly Active Users went up, Daily sign ups are up 300%, post creation is up 20%. These numbers matter becasue it means the community is growing and the ways in which we interact with eachother locally is increasing. Bunz HQ is focused on connecting people locally and buidling the worlds most usable cryptocurrency to support those connections. Without all you amazing Bunz in the community none of this would be possible — so thank you for making change with us!

Whats next for Bunz and BTZ? We have so many things that we are excited to share with the community! We are building a research program that will be launching next month, have product enhancements coming to the Bunz App and have been working on our forked etherum blockchain (named Queen + Spadina) to move towards taking BTZ on-chain.

Also, some of the Bunz team is in NYC at Consensus in the Canadian pavilion, organized by our friends at the Blockchain Research Institute, come say hi if you are in in NYC!

Thank you for taking this journey with us so far — we love you Bunz! Lots ahead for Bunz and BTZ in 2018, so stay tuned! And remember… Good things come to those who trade.

BUNZ

Spend your BTZ on your mama!

We get it, for Mothers Day, the woman who gave you life deserves a private island…but all you can afford is a high five. That’s where BTZ come in! BTZ are Bunz’s own digital currency, accepted by local shops all over Toronto. And they don’t cost a thing to earn. As resident ‘mom’ here at Bunz, I decided to share my favorite places to spend your BTZ and score your mom something nice. (Also, if anyone knows a private island willing to accept BTZ…let me know. I am ISO one.)

Anice Jewellery

Photo by Nat Caine

This beautiful shop on Ossington works vintage elements into many of their one-of-a-kind pieces, giving old treasures a new life. Treat your mom to one of Anise’s in house workshops and create both a beautiful some custom jewellery and make some memories while you’re at it!

Get $25 off with 2,500 BTZ or $10 off with 1,000 BTZ.


May Flowers

The ultimate winning combo: fresh flowers and fresh coffee. Just in time for Mothers Day, May Flowers is one of the newer spots to accept BTZ! Stop by and grab a coffee with your mom and check out their gorgeous floral arrangements.

Get a medium coffee with 225 BTZ or $10 off with 1,000 BTZ


Hayley Elsaesser

For those “I’m not a regular mom…I’m a cool mom!” moms, give you Hayley Elsaesser! This Toronto designer has dressed some of the coolest celebs, from Katy Perry to Miley Cyrus. Her brand pairs clean silhouettes for all body types with bright colours and patterns. Just walking into her neon dream flag ship store at Queen and Bathurst will leave you feeling cheerful!

Get a $50 off with 5,000 BTZ or $100 off with 10,000 BTZ


Rebel and Beauty

Owned and run by three of Toronto’s most reputable brow and makeup artists, Rebel and Beauty is known for their customized brow shaping and design. Their edgy yet inviting studio is perfect for first time brow groomers! Treat your mom to one of their custom brow treatments or even a makeup lesson.

Get a brow shaping with 2,800 BTZ or a shaping and brow tint with 4,300 BTZ


Henderson Brewery

Photo by Nat Caine

Henderson Brewing company is an award winning, independent, neighbourhood brewery in downtown Toronto. There’s really something to suit all tastes here. Bonus: there’s an old fashioned pop corn machine!

Get a Best or Food Truck with 600 BTZ or UPA with 625 BTZ.


Lazy Daisys

This family owned cafe makes you feel like you’ve left Toronto and transported to a cozy farm house. Boasting fresh, locally sourced fruits and vegetables and home made pastries, Lazy Daisys is the perfect spot to treat your mom to brunch.

Get an Americano 355 with BTZ or a Rise&Shine breakfast sandwich for 950 BTZ


Bastone and Co

Bastone and Co is a collective of local artisans who sell their home made goods in shared space and has a mini art gallery in the back. Born out a post on Bunz where owner Trish Bastone was looking for a artists to share a retail space with, Bastone and Co is now home to everything from furniture to one of a kind pieces of clothing.

Get a $5 off with 500 BTZ or $20 off with 2,000 BTZ


Let us know how you treat your mom this Sunday and tag us on socials with the hashtag #BTZplz.

The Road Ahead with BTZ

Since launching BTZ we’ve had a lot of feedback and questions.

To recap, BTZ are an easy-to-use digital currency, designed and built from the ground up by Bunz. You can send, receive and trade them with anyone on Bunz, and redeem them for coffee, beer, and more of our favourite products and services at coffee shops, breweries and retailers around Toronto.

Soon, BTZ will be a decentralized cryptocurrency that will allow for distributed ownership of the way we get things we need, standing in opposition to the way centralized internet giants transfer value away from the communities they serve. Today, BTZ exist as a component in the Bunz application infrastructure, and cannot be used outside of the Bunz app.

Admittedly, the approach we’ve chosen to building a cryptocurrency is a departure from the more common ‘infrastructure-first’ methodology. Let us explain why.

The problem with going infrastructure-first is that you end up with usability issues. See this articlethis one, or this teardown; all commenting on the substandard state of the user experience in cryptocurrency.

This poor usability is the primary reason we’ve chosen to focus on the user experience for BTZ first, while working towards a cryptocurrency capable of widespread adoption.

The rest of this post details how we think differently about the way to build a cryptocurrency at Bunz.

The thing about blockchains is they don’t like to change. This makes them incredibly valuable for a number of reasons, but it also means you need to know exactly how they’re going to work before you build them. This is similar to the way we used to think about building products before the lean approachand building minimum viable products became popular. The wisdom comes from admitting you probably don’t have all the answers to how people will use your product, but moving forward respecting the unknowns, in a way you’ll be able to learn and iterate.

Checking boxes. We considered launching BTZ as an ERC20 token but determined it wouldn’t be the right move for Bunz right now as doing so would introduce unnecessary risk and complexity. We also ran experiments integrating BTZ into both private and public blockchains. We are now confident that we can bring BTZ on-chain in a way that doesn’t detract from the user experience on Bunz. We plan to continue experimenting with the technology and work collaboratively with the crypto community until we get it right for our community.

The future is unclear. Everything the world knows about crypto is still a little grey — a byproduct of working with new technology. There are legal, regulatory, and social implications changing all the time, so we are proceeding in a cautious and optimistic way. Our goal is for Bunz to be owned by everyone, rather than the few people who built it — and that is our path as a community and company.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). It was recently reported that 46% of last years ICOs have already failed. ICOs started as a way to fund interesting projects in the blockchain and crypto space, but have become synonymous with scams and empty promises. This is likely a result of building (or promising to build) infrastructure before knowing how people will use it. We chose not to pursue an ICO to launch BTZ, and have instead invested our current funding into the project.

We love Bunz. The community comes first. We want to create the best experience possible without compromise, and then figure out exactly how that experience can best benefit from a cryptocurrency and becoming decentralized. Bunz is still a bartering marketplace and BTZ are here to help make trading easier by reducing the demand for gift cards and providing a commonly accepted currency to fallback on when a true trade isn’t in the mix. The work we are doing will always be underpinned by our commitment to the community and that includes the app and the Bunz groups on Facebook.

There have been a number of questions focused on terminology and the infrastructure we are building since launching BTZ on Monday. This is encouraging because it means people care about what we’re doing, and we appreciate hearing from the community. We hope this post provides some clarity for what BTZ are today, and what they are becoming. Moving forward we ask that the community be patient as a lot of this has never been done before, and we’re determined to take the time needed to build something amazing for everyone.

We are happy to share that since the launch of BTZ five days ago, there have been over 7 million BTZ deposited into wallets on the Bunz app. This is a great start and we have a long road ahead. We appreciate all of the support and hope to surprise you in the coming months as we improve BTZ and make everyone’s Bunz life a little better.

Sascha Darius Mojtahedi + The Bunz Team 🖖

BTZ by Bunz: The easy intro to cryptocurrency you’ve been waiting for

WTF are BTZ?

BTZ are a brand new, easy-to-use digital currency, designed and built from the ground up by Bunz. In fact, you can already redeem your BTZ for coffee and beer at many of our favourite coffee shops and breweries around Toronto. Just download or update your Bunz app, claim your 1000 BTZ, and find the nearest business accepting BTZ under the new section titled ’Shop Local’.

Where are my BTZ?

To start, you’ll find 1000 BTZ (enough for about three coffees) in your wallet, located in the Bunz app. To earn more BTZ, just post an item or invite some friends to Bunz. If you don’t already have a Bunz account you’ll still receive 1000 BTZ when you sign up and create an account.

What’s happening to Bunz?

Below, we’ve answered some questions you may have. If there’s anything we’ve missed please reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll add it to the list.

Isn’t Bunz a place where people trade?

Yes. Bunz is — and will always be — a place where people trade items and services. As Bunz evolves we want to make sure we remain true to our core values of 1) building stronger communities and 2) making city living easier. BTZ will help us achieve both and opens up a world of opportunities for Bunz in the future.

How will BTZ affect my trades?

We think that BTZ will allow people to trade more often by providing a commonly accepted currency to fall back on when a true trade just isn’t in the mix, similar to how we use gift cards, tokens and tall cans today — all of which are commonly accepted alternative currencies on Bunz — but none of which are without flaws. With BTZ:

  • You can send and receive BTZ with anyone on the Bunz app
  • BTZ allow for flexibility when trading
  • BTZ are secure
  • BTZ are made by Bunz and using them strengthens the Bunz community
  • You can redeem your BTZ for products and services from popular local shops!

What else can I do with BTZ?

As mentioned above, you can use BTZ when making offers on Bunz for items where you may have offered tokens or gift cards in the past. You can also redeem your BTZ at a handful of our favourite cafes, breweries and retailers in Toronto. This is really exciting for us and we’re working hard to onboard more businesses so that we can redeem our BTZ for everything from jeans to eggs.

What’s next?

Watching Bunz evolve is something we value dearly, and as technology changes the way we build communities and organize ourselves — online and off — Bunz’s move into the cryptocurrency space should be seen as an exciting adventure into a future that is not yet completely known, but one we’ll help create and mold into a more friendly and sustainable world.

Sincerely,

The Bunz Team

Read the follow-up to this post here.

The Wes Anderson Collection

Earlier last year, BUNZ and I teamed up to bring you something slightly different from my previous lookbooks. More ambitions than ever, we brought on board a ragtag team from the BUNZ office , as well as my partner, Phil, who (not so enthusiastically) agreed to pose in front of a camera.

The Wes Anderson Collection is an homage to the director’s visually fantastic films and features amazing finds from BUNZ, set in the backdrop of Mr. Anderson’s House in Prince Edward County. We hope you enjoy this glimpse of what our life may have been if we lived in a world of youthful innocence and melancholy.

Photos by Eythan D’Amico // Illustrations by Jenny Ryookyung Kim

“Anyway, I’m sorry. I know I haven’t been my best this past decade.”
“I’m going to find it and I’m going to destroy it. I don’t know how yet. Possibly with dynamite.”
What’s wrong with you?” Let me think about that. I’ll tell you the next time I see you”
“I think we’re just gonna to have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that, Richie.”
“I’ll have a butterscotch sundae, I guess.”
“We’re in love. We just want to be together. What’s wrong with that?”
“What kind of bird are you?”
“Poems don’t always have to rhyme, you know. They just have to be creative.”

This lookbook was featured by FASHION with an interview with Jenny here:
https://fashionmagazine.com/fashion/wes-anderson-bunz-trading-zone/

Find stuff you love, start trading today 🖤

I’m not crying, you’re crying: five truly heartwarming BUNZ moments

Illustration by Mimi Lin

By Briony Smith

Sure, Bunz is a great place to get rid of that brie baker or find a chic vintage couch, but Bunz has also blossomed into a squee-inducing community of caring citizens who band together to help each other on the regs. Here are some of our favourite faith-in-humanity moments from Bunz history.

1) ISO: Logo to go

Monica de Savoye’s father-in-law Gord survived open heart surgery, and she wanted to get him the perfect get-well gift in recognition of his badass fortitude: a t-shirt with the “Ford Tough” logo tweaked into “Gord Tough.” Fellow bun Lorelei Blagdon worked her Photoshop magic, allowing Monica produce the Gord Tough tee and then bless everyone with this amazing pic.

2) ISO: The mug that can’t be beat

Jamie Joong-Watts’ dad loved soup. Like, loved soup. Nicknamed The Soup Man by his coworkers, he supped broth breakfast and dinner, the delicious liquids borne aloft in his all-time favourite steel Tim Horton’s mug. Alas, it cracked — and the model was discontinued most places, leading his daughter on a near-decade-long quest for a new one. Minutes after she posted in Bunz, one bun had sourced a new one on eBay and several other buns had offered up theirs, yielding two new mugs for Jamie’s pops. A year later, Jamie added this to the post: “It is with a heavy heart that I come here to tell you that one week ago my dad died suddenly. I want to tell you how much this Christmas present meant to him. When I read him this Bunz post, and gave him the two brand new travel mugs, he welled up and began to weep. I never saw my dad cry. It meant so much to me, that I actually never found the right time to reply to this post. As I pace around my parents’ house, grief in my bones, the night before the funeral, I want to tell you all that my brother-in-law will be telling the story of the Bunz travel mug at the service tomorrow. He’ll be reading the story and ISO I wrote up here and all your wonderful responses that lead to his arsenal of commute-soup-thermoses. Thank you for being a part of one of the most meaningful memories I have with my dad. In Chinese culture, it’s more natural to tell someone you love them through actions and wishes for good fortune to come. This gesture meant that much to him. I think I was able to relay how much he means to me. How much I love him, not just as a dad but as a person. I’m going to miss him so much.”

3) ISO: Birthday surprise

Madison Wood’s boyfriend has a food boo, too: pizza. “He can talk for days about the sauce to dough ratios and consistencies and placements of toppings,” Madison wrote. For his birthday, she wanted to give him the ultimate ‘za experience: making his own pie in a legit pizza place: “Teach him how to throw the dough and use the massive spatula to get his pizza out of the oven!” Pizza Libretto stepped in to make his gooey cheese dreams come true. Another classic Bunz coup was Jenna Nicole’s surprise pug birthday party for her boyfriend, who got to cuddle three beautiful canines, including local celepuppy Mr. Cornelius.

4) ISO: Sharon, Lois and Bram

Kids musicians Sharon, Lois and Bram are a treasured part of many of our childhoods, but for one bun’s brother, the trio were cherished lifelong friends. Kelly’s developmentally delayed 35-year-old bro adored The Elephant Show, so she was determined to hunt every episode down to burn onto DVDs, ensuring the perfect present for many Christmases and birthdays to come. A bun was able to connect her with Sharon herself — allowing Kelly to eventually get her hands on a full set of episodes, burned right from the master tapes. The epic year-long journey culminated in one of the biggest smiles in the history of Bunz smiles.

5) ISO: grandkids

Bunz has inspired many zany ISO posts, from hairless cat cuddles to human teeth. Margaret Nipshaven took to Bunz Helping Zone to find something that had been missing in her life: grandchildren. “I know it sounds strange, but I don’t have any relatives in Canada & nothing would make me more happy than a Bunz to ‘adopt’ me!” she posted. “I’m close to 60, relatively healthy (I have Asthma but it’s not a big issue), positive, jovial, good around pets & have a ‘love and be loved’ attitude. Anyone? Lots of love, wisdom to give in my ‘older’ years! Tia!” Nipshaven was flooded with offers from buns all over the city excited to add an honorary grandma to their life, whether it was someone to craft with and dispense wisdom or attend their dog wedding (!), or to just have a more accepting, LGBTQ-friendly elder in their life. It’s true: you can find everything on Bunz.

Follow Briony on Twitter and Instagram at @brionycwsmith

Feminism is for Everyone

“Perfectionism in feminism simply does not exist…”

Illustration by Laura Kay Keeling

I am no expert when it comes to talking about feminism. The mere thought of having to write this article sent me on a knowledge bender. I spent days refreshing myself on what the feminist movement aims to achieve in order to weed out any prior interpretations that led me to be misinformed, and I wish there was a better way to describe it but I truly did get “lost in the
sauce.” After hours of researching, analyzing and differentiating the many types of feminism that exist I was left feeling confused, frustrated, ignorant and honestly just exhausted. This “divisive” topic and ever growing movement is extremely daunting and complex to me because frankly I’m afraid of admitting my ignorance, of saying the wrong thing or using terminology incorrectly and overall being what some might refer to as a “bad feminist.” But then I remembered although this is a movement driven by and for the empowerment of women, at the end of the day it is a movement that fights for equality across the board.

The reality is no one’s feminism is perfect and it’s simply because of the fact that we all have our own biases and internalizations, but these aren’t things that we need to hold onto forever. Feminism is extremely intricate and can have it’s own set of flaws too. There are feminists who focus solely on gaining equality for certain groups and this is where the conversation about intersectional feminism comes into play. I’m not exactly sure how many
times this phrase will surface the internet but let me say it again a bit louder for all of you in the back: WE DO NOT LIVE SINGLE-ISSUE LIVES THEREFORE OUR MOVEMENTS SHOULD NOT BE SINGLE-ISSUED. Intersectional feminism is not only about gender but about class, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion, age and immigration status. The woman
who coined the term herself, Kimberlé Crenshaw, describes the intersectional experience as something greater than the sum of racism and sexism.

There are many out there that have critiqued the resurgence of the intersectionality theory claiming that it seeks to divide and weaken the feminist movement from within. These criticisms come from a place of discomfort with having privileges challenged and prevent authentic
dialogue about inclusivity. To quote Audre Lorde, prominent feminist, womanist and civil rights activist, “Community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretence that these differences do not exist.” And that’s just it. We understand that everyone is different and unique and that is why it’s so crucial to embrace intersectionality and to listen to the stories of women from all walks of life, because it’s impossible to walk a mile in everyone’s shoes. Intersectional feminism is a topic that can make many people uncomfortable but it sparks a conversation that opens up space for diverse voices to be heard.

The more I read about the topic at hand, the more I kept thinking about the idea of solidarity. Not just in terms of nationality, or ethnicity, or gender, or with whom we share the most experiences with but in terms of those with whom we share the mere fact of being human. And I think that’s the bottom line we keep forgetting about. When we’re fighting for the rights of
others, attempting to be allies, we should not only be concerned about the groups in which we’re involved in because if you do not stand for all women than you do not really stand for “women” at all. It’s important to be inclusive in all aspects of your feminism as to not ignore the overlapping oppressions that many women face. But talk is cheap and adopting an intersectional
framework is not an easy process.

Feminism isn’t here to make you feel comfortable. It’s not meant to be “easy, peasy lemon squeezy,” but more “difficult, difficult, lemon, difficult.” You should feel challenged. You should feel a sense of disruption because that is the birth place of progress. We grow when we hurt, or when we struggle, or when we do our best to stretch ourselves in order to understand
something new. And that difficulty and discomfort is where change is bred. And most importantly, don’t forget to leave your idea of perfectionism at the door because perfectionism in feminism simply does not exist. You are not the first person to make mistakes and you will surely not be the last, but it’s imperative to do the work and make those mistakes along the way because our relationships, communities and societies built upon justice rely on it.

Janet Mock put it perfectly in her Women’s Day March speech saying, “Our approach to freedom need not be identical, but it must be intersectional and inclusive.” This is not a “one size fits all” type of issue but rather it is an issue that must take into account the multiple forms of vulnerability women around the world face. So go ahead! Stand with your queer, black, poor, disabled, trans and muslim sisters! Empathize with those who are not like you and allow them to teach you about the ways in which you are privileged in order to ignite a fire within you so as to use that privilege not only to advocate but elevate those who need it regardless of if it affects you personally.

Because the idea of equality is that until we are all equal, no one is.

Ruth Remudaro is a writer living in Toronto. For more, you can find her on twitter and instagram.

Illustration by Laura Kay Keeling.

Love in the Time of Bunz

The time has come again — It’s Valentine’s Day! For me, it’s an excuse to buy enough chocolate for two (except it’s just for me) and to listen to Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’ on a loop while I drunkenly cry in my bathtub. But why dwell on the bad when you can read about other people’s love lives instead? This year I decided to interview six sets of Torontonians who found love through Bunz to show that relationships that start on the Internet don’t need to stay there. From adopting pets to finding romantic partners, these interviews show that the online world can be much more than a vortex of bad news and mediocre Tinder hookups — check it out!


Alex and Laura

Alex (right) and Laura (left), photos by Christina Tanel

What are your signs and what do you do for work?

Laura: I’m a Pisces and a visual merchandiser at Forever21.

Alex: I’m a Sagittarius and a barista at Starbucks.

Laura: It’s the best because we work across the street from each other and Alex is the world’s best barista… I’m not biased.

Tell me your story! How did you meet?

Alex: So we actually met like five years ago!

Laura: Alex was my barista, I went to Ryerson and I had a little crush — I only knew her from the waist up.

Alex: We always kind of noticed each other and then last year I think we started noticing each other’s posts on Bunz and have both admitted to creeping each other on Facebook — Laura was dating someone at the time.

Alex: And then I made a post in a Bunz Zone after a shitty night. Laura commented saying how when she used to come into my Starbucks she would be very depressed and I would always make her day and I was like “awww”. I totally knew who she was and then we just started really interacting with each other’s posts. And then she asked me out in this really dorky way and I said, “yes please.”

Laura: We’ve seen each other every day since then.

Photo by Christina Tanel

Were you expecting to find each other through Bunz?

Alex: No and it’s funny because I posted in Bunz Dating Zone twice and dated someone but it didn’t work out.

Laura: It was funny too because a month before I started talking to Alex I was talking to my mom on the phone and I was like “I’m so sick of online dating, I wanna meet someone in person and have a cute cashier or something,” but it’s kind of both! And we both really love Bunz and Toronto.

*NOTE: Alex loves Bunz so much that she reached out to us a while ago to have a “Bunz Mitvah” birthday party.*

Photo by Christina Tanel

What’s your fondest memory of each other?

Alex: We just finished having really good sex and she went outside and was like “I really need a cigarette”. So we went outside and it was one of the first nights it was actually snowing. Then she grabs me by the hand and says “We should go inside before I say something that’ll scare you off.” We went inside and I knew she was going to say it and she was dancing around it, and eventually she said it and I said it back.

Laura: And then we kissed and the church bells rang because it was 7 o’clock! I said “Did you hear wedding bells?” and then she gagged.

Do you have Valentine’s Day plans?

Alex: I work until nine!

Laura: I’m going to clean my apartment until nine.

Alex: We’re going to get takeout and we made each other cards!


H and M

Photo provided by H — “from our ‘gaycation’ in Canada!”

Tell me a little bit about yourselves!

M: I am a student of Gender Studies in the Netherlands. I am writing my thesis right now and afterwards, I plan to find an internship related to social justice either in Berlin or Montréal. Intersectional feminism is a huge part of my life — in my academia as well as my activism. I also believe strongly in community living (sharing food, dinners, sharing spaces intentionally) — with the possible dream of starting a community in Berlin or on the Spanish countryside — and have a very strong connection to my friends that I met in a squat in Maastricht but who now live all over Europe. Other than that, I am a huge cinema fan (especially Italian, French and Danish films), and I love reading (mostly poetry and non-fiction), hitchhiking, biking, and I think I rarely go an hour without music in my life.

H: I’m a 30 something queer polyamorous cis femme white settler, born and raised in Canada. In terms of some of the hats I wear, I’m mother to a child in kindergarten, wife to her dad (married and living together almost 10 years), and I am a student, researcher, and educator in public health. My studies and work align with my passion for equity, and intersectional feminism. I am a voracious reader of non-fiction, lover of the outdoors (nature inspires my meditations), a relentless audiophile (I love finding the right music for the situation), and into finding ways to move my body that feel good like yoga, hiking, biking, and ecstatic dance.

How did you come to be in each other’s lives?

M: I was having a particularly rough weekend when I posted in Bunz to find friends. I had been very lonely in Toronto for the first 1.5 months and found it hard to find community and friendships. I had gone on several failed dates which made me feel even worse. I had [been on] Skype with a friend on a Saturday night and she told me I should look for friends instead, and to post on a forum or Facebook group rather than go on dating sites. And so I did, and H responded and we started chatting and decided to meet up for an event that was organized as part of the Queer Orientation Week at UofT. It’s very ironic that me trying to find a friend resulted in falling deeply in love, but I am so incredibly grateful and happy that it happened the way it did.

H: M posted on Queer Bunz expressing her interest with meeting fellow queers. I messaged her because I liked the way she expressed herself and wanted more queer femme friends too, and figured that I could, at the very least, possibly suggest some groups and events to check out for her to meet new people. I was forthright about my situation, i.e. being married and polyamorous but definitely NOT a dreaded “unicorn hunter” and when we met up at a queer student event, I thought she wouldn’t have any interest in anything more than friendship. We really hit it off, and when she happened to mention that she was solo polyamorous and had even dated women older than me, well I took a risk of flirting a little bit and asking her on a “real” date, and it paid off!

Were you expecting to meet a partner through Bunz?

M: Not at all. I was really, really not looking for dating, let alone falling in love/starting a relationship with someone from Canada while I live in the Netherlands. Even when we met for the first time, I had no idea that this relationship would become something so impactful and important in my life.

H: Nope but I was open to the possibility. I’m so grateful for Bunz. We would not have met otherwise! She is younger than my dating age range on the dating app we’re on and given both the stigma about any form of non-monogamy and the age difference, I reeeeally doubt I would’ve “made a move” even if we had spotted each other out somewhere. Thanks Bunz!

Since meeting, how have your lives changed?

M: I’ve been able to receive her love in a way that I am rarely capable of romantically. She has changed my life sexually. And she has challenged me so much in getting rid of some nasty patterns that I had learned in previous relationships through encouraging open and honest communication.

H: Oh wow. Well, when she was still in Toronto, we spent a lot of time either in person or being in touch by text, etc. This wasn’t something that either of us had with other partners past or present! So that was a shift and it has made me be more mindful in being present and negotiating my time and commitments. Our relationship has definitely helped me to become a better communicator in general. M inspires me to be more in touch with my feelings, to trust and be vulnerable. Again, this has rippled out into my other relationships in really good ways. We have amazing chemistry and, thanks in large part to the trust we built through a mutual strong commitment to enthusiastic, ongoing consent, we’ve shared/co-created some REALLY incredible sexual experiences. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these experiences feel pretty life changing, honestly.

What are some ways you make each other feel loved and valued despite the issue of distance?

M: There’s a small surprise on its way to Canada! Other than that — we have amazing Skype sex (TMI?) which makes me feel very close to her, haha. Overall, we try to Skype — especially when we have to discuss more intense or emotional issues — rather than chat/write.

H: Messaging and Skyping whenever possible. Sharing things that made us think of the other person. Being a listening ear or a cheerleader. Even our Skype sex is surprisingly amazing and definitely makes us both feel connected. I still can’t believe our chemistry! And Skype just in general, especially for important stuff (other than sex).


Craig and Pam

Photo by Christina Tanel

Tell me about yourselves!

Pam: I protect buildings, I protect old buildings. I’m pretty much a pencil pusher [most of the time], but it all goes towards a better cause protecting old heritage buildings and cemeteries, and doing a lot of research, and outreach to the community and helping them to be more aware about the city’s history.

Craig: I work in IT at a services provider down the street, so kind of doing all the computer things for all our clients. We’re basically an IT department for like twenty different companies. I’m also a partial stand up comedian, I’ve been doing it for two years but I’ve really only actually done it like twelve times so I need to get off my ass and do more of it — and I’m a DJ!

So how did you guys meet? What’s the story?

Craig: Well my side of the story… So I was doing all sorts of dating after a break up of a long term relationship, and was doing a lot of dating over the year on Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, avoiding Plenty of Fish. I was actually still dating someone else for about a month when Pam made a post on BDZ, I forget what her post was about — it was an ISO post (in search of), and she mentioned some musical tastes and mentioned both Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode, and I had this amazing mashup of Precious and I forget the other song, but I sent that to her and we started talking about music and stuff. But I was dating this other person so this wasn’t me expressing interest in [her]. But then a week later I broke up with [the woman I was dating] and went back to her post and was asked if it was too late — we went out like six days later.

Pam: On my side, I had just come out of a long term relationship and then had dated a few people. I tried Match.com which was ridiculous because I thought if you pay for it then you get better people and get rid of all the trash — no, no, it’s worse. So then after having some really awful experiences from match, I was like I’ll try this on Bunz and do the ISO post and put myself out there. Then I got the message from [Craig], and I wasn’t sure what he meant by it cause he messaged and never really followed up. So I wasn’t sure if he was interested in me and then I got the message after asking if it was too late and I said that it wasn’t.

Photo by Christina Tanel

Were you expecting to meet a partner on Bunz?

Pam: No, I was looking to just slut it up for a year or two and I was having a lot of fun and then I met this guy and he ruined my whole plan.

Craig: That sort of swings both ways, I was in the middle of doing the same thing. I was dating around and over that year and a bit, I was dating some people I went out with for like a week and one or two people that I went out with for like two months and I was fine with that.

What’s your fondest memory of each other?

Craig: First time we fucked — you can put that in there as long as we have a chance to answer seriously. But I actually think it was the first week we lived together. We hadn’t put the bed together so we were just sleeping on a mattress on the floor and it was really nice to have our own place.

Pam: When we went for our friend’s birthday I think it was at the Gladstone or the Drake? They have karaoke and a live band and he was thinking of doing karaoke — so I paid for him to go up and he sang smashing pumpkins and that was the first time I heard him sing. He just seemed so happy and in his element. That was the same night we said “I love you” to each other for the first time.

Photo by Christina Tanel

Do you have any Valentine’s Day plans?

Craig: It kind of just fell together, we weren’t really planning because I don’t care about Valentine’s Day too much, but I found these Travel Zoo coupons for a saké tour. We both love saké so I bought them and then realized it isn’t offered on the weekends, only 3:30–5:30 on weekdays, so we’re taking Valentines Day off!

Pam: We’re also checking out the light exhibit in the Distillery District!

Word association! What’s your favourite thing about each other? First thing you think of?

Craig: Warmth.

Pam: Sense of humour.

Craig: That’s three words.


Vivian, Maria, and Shiloh

Photo by Jillian Hamaguchi, provided by Vivian and Maria

Tell me about yourselves and about Shiloh!

Vivian: I work at a book store that focuses on mental health in the city, and my wife, Maria, is actually in school for community mental health so it’s pretty cool. He’s named after the Neil Diamond song, he came with a set of instructions that was like thirteen pages long. He’s a lovely grey tabby, really really big — he used to be chunky but he’s like super suave now. We got him when he had just turned ten so if he continued that way he would’ve gotten diabetes and we couldn’t afford that. He’s the love of our lives and he’s a big scaredy cat.

How did you and Maria meet Shiloh?

Vivian: Someone put out an APB on Bunz Helping Zone and they were like “Oh, I’m moving in with this person that’s severely allergic to cats and I love my elderly cat to death but if I put him in a shelter no one’s going to adopt him — can somebody take this cat?” and there was a picture of him — we always joke that if cats had Tinder this would be his tinder picture and we were just like “YES!” We figured out a day and she showed up and was like “he’s special needs, whoops!” and we’ve had him for two years now. We got him on Canada Day, so now it’s Shiloh’s Adoption Day!

Were you expecting to meet your cat-son on Bunz?

Vivian: I wasn’t! I wasn’t expecting to like cats at all, I just know that my wife really wanted a cat at the time when we were engaged, and I was like “I kinda think this would be a good idea, he looks lovely and he needs a home.” So we got him in and he kinda gels with us because he’s so calm, but the moment something moves he runs away. He’s a really big pacifist and I don’t know how he became a pacifist but if you’re chasing him around he just ends up sitting.

What’s your favourite thing about him?

Vivian: How he’s so forgiving. Maria really likes to pick him up but he hates being picked up and he doesn’t do anything except struggle and goes “whyyyyyyyyy” but then two minutes after he runs away he comes back and just wants to love you!

Christmas card courtesy of Vivian and Maria

If Shiloh could be a celebrity or character from a movie, TV show, or book, who would he be?

Vivian: Jacob Two-Two. He was the youngest child in a really big family full of strong personalities and he would always have to say something twice to be heard, that’s why he was called “Two-Two.” Throughout the series he starts to grow into himself and becomes a more charismatic and courageous person, like Shiloh did. He’s also Courage the Cowardly Dog — he’s so scared of everything but he braves it out, and you can always tell he’s trying his best. Like when we take him to the vet, I have to rent a car and drive him up and you can always tell he’s so scared and just like, “just get it over with.”


Trisha and Adrian

Photo by Christina Tanel

Tell me about yourselves!

Trisha: I work for a software company.

Adrian: I do my own entrepreneurial stuff — I build furniture and teach kids.

How did you meet?

Adrian: She knows all of this!

Trisha: We don’t know exactly which group we met in… it was either Helping Zone or Dating Zone. I just started noticing him commenting on stuff, I noticed because his last name is the same as some of my family (by marriage) so I figured he must be West Indian so that’s kind of why I noticed it, we also had mutual friends!

Were you expecting to meet a romantic partner on Bunz?

Adrian: Definitely not. Online relationships are a little weird to me. People are more spectres than they are flesh and blood, so it’s interesting getting to know people outside a physical form, but combining the two can be a little weird.

Trisha: Yeah, it was the same for me. I wasn’t really looking to meet anybody in that way.

Photo by Christina Tanel

What’s your fondest memory of each other?

Adrian: Well ok, so while I think our first date was me coming to see her sing (I cleared my schedule a month before to be there to see her perform), she thinks it was when we went out the week after and it was a really, really awesome night. We went to this pizza joint, Descendants, and then we went to this jazz club where she sang at an open mic, and then we went to see a Stevie Wonder cover show.

Trisha: We had a great time, I mean he talked so much, so it worked out.

Photo by Christina Tanel

Do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day?

Trisha: He hasn’t asked me to do anything.

Adrian: I don’t really subscribe to that stuff.

Trisha: That’s why I actually really liked him — he was very vocal about being against capitalism and racism and what have you.

What’s your favourite thing about each other?

Adrian: She makes me laugh.

Trisha: He makes me think.


Kate and Trinket

Photo provided by Kate

Tell me about yourself and Trinket!

Kate: I’m pretty boring, to be honest! I work at LUSH and I have a 5 year old kiddo, so that takes up a lot of my time. Fun for me is snuggling with Trinket. She just turned 2 in January! She’s such a lil puppy and loves to play and chew EVERYTHING. But when she’s not bouncing off the wall, she’s sleeping!

Tell me about how you found each other!

Kate: So, I had joined Bunz Petz Zone when I started getting puppy fever. I wanted to look at all the pups that other Buns had. In December of 2016, I came across a post with a picture of her saying that the second family that was slated to adopt her had fallen through. She was 10 months old and her ridiculous ears made me smitten. I immediately messaged the person who posted, and got in touch with the rescue. Trinket (named Chaparita at the time) was found on the street in Mexico when she was 4 weeks old. She had been with the rescue since then. I put in my application for her and that was that! She was supposed to come home that January, but she had a virus which prevented her from traveling. She finally arrived on April 19th, 2017.

How has Trinket changed your life?

Kate: Trinket is hands down the greatest pup I’ve ever had. She has so much personality and she is SO SMART. Having her has allowed me to teach my 5 year old about treating animals with respect and given me an amazing friend. I suffer from PTSD and while she isn’t a certified support animal, she has gotten me through some rough times. She and I have a very unique relationship and she has amazing intuition when it comes to my emotional well being. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

What does a day in the life of trinket and Kate look like?

Kate: Trinket and I LOVE to be lazy. As I write this, we’re cuddled up on the couch. We could sit like this for hours. At bed time, she sleeps behind my head! I have an extra pillow for her, it’s her special place.

Trinket in her natural habitat (photo provided by Kate)

What is your favourite thing about Trinket?

Kate: ALL OF THE THINGS. She is the perfect dog for me. She’s a lazy potato, she cuddles, knows when I’m sad or upset or anxious, and is SO TOLERANT OF ME SQUISHING HER (she’s SOOOOOO SQUISHABLE!). Also, her ears are perfect. Like, they’re not even real, they’re just so ridiculous and perfect.


Special thanks to Christina Tanel for taking amazing photos of some of our interviewees! Did I change your mind about the Internet? Still think it’s a shit pile? Let me know!

Illustration by Mimi Lin.

Why I celebrate Christmas

“Silent night, holy night, all is calm all is bright.”

If you’re like me, you can sing this with your eyes closed. You probably started singing it in a gymnasium, to an audience packed as tight as sardines. I grew up Catholic; I knew the story of the baby Jesus, and the exact time to put on my holiday best and pile into the car if we wanted seats at Christmas mass. But one Christmas, my first as a Baptist, it became something more.

I was living in Florida (NOT somewhere you expect to find Christmas), and dating an American boy with Southern Baptist roots. I envisioned the usual stockings, holiday gatherings and “under the mistletoe” moments. Hallmark has done a good job of inferring that chopping down your own tree is a “Christmas Must Do”, so we found a farm and made a date of it. We drove for a bit singing along when a song I didn’t know, Mary Did You Know, came on. My boyfriend teared up and I chuckled.

“Have you ever thought about it? About her?” he said his voice a bit angry.

I hadn’t.

“She is younger than you, engaged and pregnant. But it’s so much more than that.”

We walked to the tree and we didn’t talk about it, but I thought about it. I thought about Mary, wandering in the night, dreary and cold, with the physical and emotional pressure weighing on her. What had it been like? When we found the tree I imagined the wise men and following a star, not knowing the destination, but trusting. That night changed forever how I listen to and sing Christmas songs focusing on the deeper story.


Another tradition I have always enjoyed is the holiday feast. I have fond memories all the way back to my childhood, including one of my father throwing a flaming fondue pot out in the snow as the table suddenly caught fire. The same year I learned to actually listen to Christmas songs, I attended my first Southern Baptist Christmas feast. If there is one thing southerners do it is eat. Good lord! Every meat you’ve ever imagined and sides you’ve never heard of all sit before you. But the first Christmas in the south I added a new tradition to my Christmas celebration. Sitting beside my boyfriend with a plate piled with food his father stood at the head of the table.

“Who would like to do the honours”

I was nervous his father would pick me. I didn’t really know how a Baptist prayed.

His grandfather stood and cleared his throat.

“I bring you GOOD NEWS of great joy that will be for ALL people.”

I may not have known the prayer, but I knew the bible verse.

He continued, “Think” he said. “Think of every word.” Afterwards the family went around and discussed how Christmas was both the most sacred, and the first Christmas gift. How with all the variation in the world it was something we all shared, or could share if we were open to it. In all the years as a Christian, I hadn’t focused on that particular line. It’s now underlined in my bible. Most of my family and friends aren’t religious so it’s not as public, but now before I celebrate and join in on Christmas meals I reflect on more than the food.


I think my favourite part of the holiday season and a tradition I always look forward to is giving. Not just giving gifts but giving my time. Living in the busy city I am often rushing here, there and everywhere and I can get a bit jaded. But for a few years now I have treasured one Christmas night that reminded me how simple a gift of time can be. I made volunteering a part of that Christmas. Attending a holiday dinner where a choir sang, children danced and plates were full. But, this holiday dinner was different. The food was the same but those around the table were people I didn’t normally gather with — they were people I often rushed past. At the end I stepped into the chill that is a Canadian Christmas. In my hand were the last of the candy canes. “Want em?” I asked, holding them out to a nervous man who looked everywhere but back at me. “Sure. Might distract me from the cold under the bridge.” I must have chuckled as he looked back. “You stop feeling your toes in weather like this. Need somethin’ to distract ya.” That night I was made aware that this was the man’s only holiday meal. Christmas I realized can incredibly lonely for those without a home and loved ones. So now every year in December I seek out ways to get involved. A dinner to serve at, singing carols along the streets of Parkdale or maybe even picking up an extra holiday cup of coffee and passing it to someone who might not have a reason to feel so holly and jolly at Christmas. Giving back has become just as special as the gifts under the tree.


I’m not perfect. I still get wrapped up in the holiday hustle. But as I grow so do my traditions. I think about the songs, I think about the words of the Christmas story and I try to see a little bit more of the sparkle and magic of Christmas in even the most unexpected places and faces.

Do They Know It’s Chrismukkah?

Seth Cohen may have named Chrismukkah during The O.C.’s first season back in 2003, but the half-Jewish high-school hipster’s made-up super-holiday — “eight days of presents, followed by one day of many presents!” — was already a tradition in my family.

Now I did marry a lapsed Catholic and we made ourselves a tiny half-Jew — albeit one who prefers “Despacito” to Death Cab — but my mashup celebration long predates his existence. Though fully Jewish myself, I grew up as one of the few in my west coast beach town so it would’ve been cruel and unusual punishment if all our classmates got Christmas except my sister and I.

In fact, the town was so small that my acting teacher father was enlisted to play Santa down at our local community center. He explained away his red suit and white beard by claiming he was employed by St. Nick. I didn’t even have to write letters to Santa — my Jewish dad just picked up the rotary-dial phone and called in my wish list to the North Pole. (In hindsight, his lack of concern over the long-distance charges should’ve been a dead giveaway. Also, the dial tone.)

But unlike my friends and classmates, we had Hanukkah, too. We lit the menorah, said the prayers, spun the dreidel and ate all the latkes, gefilte fish, matzoh ball soup, challah and chocolate gelt. We didn’t actually do eight days of presents, but our best present was always reserved for the first night’s feast while the many presents were opened Christmas morning after a night by the trimmed tree reading The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and singing carols

It was a perfect Chrismukkah compromise.

And it was an especially important one because, well, Hanukkah on its own is kinda meh. If not for its proximity to Christmas, we wouldn’t pay it much mind and, until recently, we didn’t. In the wake of the Holocaust, American Jewry saw in this minor holiday an opportunity to strengthen their religion and culture by reducing “Christmas envy” — so in the 1950s they started emphasizing its celebration and, most importantly for kids, added presents.

The reason it was minor is that it’s not even in the bible. The rebellion it commemorates is recounted in the Books of the Maccabees, part of the non-canonical scriptures known as the Apocrypha which Jews banished back in the day but remain largely accepted by Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

As the story goes, Judah Maccabee led a religious insurgency in Greek-run Syria between 167–164 B.C. — albeit one that began as a Jewish civil warbetween fundamentalists and assimilationists. Hebrew holy warriors eventually reclaimed Jerusalem, only to discover one day’s worth of holy oil left in the temple after it had been trashed by its occupiers. But that oil burned for eight days, the amount of time it took to press and purify more. That’s it, that’s the whole miracle. Not exactly up there with Passover’s exodus from bondage thanks to a burning bush, ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea with the Ten Commandments arriving as denouement.

Christmas also only has the one miracle, but the virgin birth of the son of God is pretty big — I mean, they did name a whole religion after this long-haired SJW born to homeless refugees — and bringing in the jolly, gift-giving, sleigh-riding secular Santa Claus really takes it over the top.

But Chrismukkah is the Reese Peanut Butter Cup of holidays. We use it to show our bi-cultural kid the best of both celebrations of ritual, tradition and family while hanging driedel and Star of David ornaments on the tree. Sure, Chrismukkah is a “pretend” holiday virgin-birthed from pop-culture. But what matters to us is our kid gets to light the candles, play dreidel, eat Jewish food and take pride in the minority half of his heritage while also waking up Christmas morning to many presents.