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Peace Cafe opens

Adrian Lysenko
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Robert Stewart is on a mission to help spread peace in the city.

The Yellowknife accountant has opened the Peace Cafe, hoping to offer people the resources to build peace in the community.

NNSL photo/graphic

Bobby Stewart, son of Peace Cafe owner Robert Stewart, stands in front of the store on opening day Monday. The cafe was established with hopes to offer people resources to build peace in the community. - Adrian Lysenko/NNSL photo

"It's a place in the community (to) have cup of coffee, meet people of like mind, have access to a resource library of books and videos," said Stewart. "This will be a place where people come together."

The idea for the cafe started when he went to the bookstore looking for a book on the "dummies guide to peace."

"It didn't exist," said Stewart. "There wasn't even a section on peace."

Located in an office building - now dubbed the Peace Building - across the street from Overlander Sports the cafe opened its doors for business on Monday. Most people wish for peace in their lives but don't know how to achieve it, according to Stewart, who runs the building.

"If (the cafe) is done well it's going to help people find peace within themselves," said Stewart. "It's going to educate, empower and help them to have the skills they need."

Stewart is no stranger to the subject. Some of his achievements include being the recipient of the YMCA Peace Award in 2000 and in the same year he also founded the Canadian Peace Awards and the Canadian Peace Hall of Fame.

This is also not the first Peace Cafe Stewart has helped establish. In 2007 a Peace Cafe was started in Hamilton and in 2008 another one was formed in Walkerton, Ont.

"When people come together with the theme something magical happens," said Stewart.

"It's going to lift Yellowknife."

On the second floor of the building Stewart's son Bobby is going manage what they call the Yellowknife Centre for Holistic Development, inviting entrepreneurs to rent space in the building.

He said there's a need for the cafe and the centre because Yellowknife has a lot of stress.

"There's racial conflict, substance abuse or family violence," said Bobby.

He said these problems are not uncommon but since Yellowknife is a small place they are more visible.

Before opening the doors to the cafe Stewart said he had positive feedback from residents on the idea.

"These people see the need for it in Yellowknife," said Stewart.

"A lot of people are not happy with their jobs, a lot of people are burnt out, divorcing out and some of them dying out. Stress is becoming the number one killer. People might die from a heart attack but it's stress that brought it on."

In the coming months Stewart hopes the cafe will have a positive effect on the community.

"The seeds are planted and the next nine months is the gestation period," said Stewart. The doors are open and the coffee pot is going to be on."


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