Ken Bontius recently did an amazing thing: He quit his job as an engineer, and poured his savings into opening Panacea, a bright and airy vegan store in Toronto. Motivated by a desire to offer animal-free, eco-friendly, and socially-conscious products, Bontius draws on years of grassroots activism and a passion for research, the picky kind required to keep shelves stocked with items that meet the store’s rigorous criteria. While some are flocking to the vegan marshmallow treats or sampling from the truffle case (featuring gorgeous fair trade and organic chocolates), others browse for household staples, such as pasta and laundry soap, and a dizzying array of other items. Stepping away from the shelves, people quickly discover local artists’ work, sharp clothing and accessories, and animal rights info, all offered in a truly welcoming setting. Join us for a conversation with one of Toronto’s most inspiring proprietors.
Then, we have the honour of connecting with Sherri Delaney, founder of the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary. Moved by the plight of animals in labs and the Canadian exotic animal trade, Delaney created a safe place for exploited and unwanted nonhuman primates and other animals. In this poignant interview, she describes some of the personalities at Story Book Farm and the efforts to enrich the lives of these varied and emotionally-complex individuals. We learn about the significance of a purple purse, how a paper bag can make meals more exciting, and the grief of a Japanese macaque, among other stories. We also hear a day in the life of a busy sanctuary, and the underlying issues that make this remarkable sanctuary so necessary.
Listen right now: