The Olive House in Toronto: Beit Zatoun UofT

March 12, 2012

This post is about the space that I have chosen to analyze as an everyday part of Toronto life. Instead of choosing an area (Chinatown, Koreatown, Little India/Italy/Portugal, Greek town, etc) I have chosen a non-profit business called Beit Zatoun House. This place is on 612 Markham Street (Annex area aka Bloor and Bathurst, one block east) and its a semi community centre but more of a space that encourages and preserves culture. Beit Zatoun is Arabic for “The Olive House” and it specifically revolves around the Palestinian Diaspora. Why the olive you ask? Well, one of Palestine’s main exports is olive oil. Palestine has olive trees that are over five thousand years old. So old, that there is a mention of the olive tree in the Quran. And to this day, the West Bank is producing “authentically Palestinian” Olive oil which is sold all over the world at about $19.99 for a litre in glass bottle. The proceeds go to charities such as the red crescent (Palestine’s Ambulance and Hospital services.) You can buy this oil at places such as 1000 villages and of course Beit Zatoun.

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Gleaner Community News Your Life, Our Life; Our Live

November 13, 2012

In the heart of the Annex lives a place with a lot of the same.

The Beit Zatoun House (612 Markham Street), is a space where the social justice and human rights community gather for performance and art. It holds multiple events per month, ranging from workshops to concerts, talks and book launches.

Robert Massoud, its founder, describes the space as, “…the intersection of art, culture, politics and society, in a very grassroots kind of way.”

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NOW Magazine Winner
Beit Zatoun: Best Place To Get New Ideas

November 2013

The charming House of Olives, with its high ceilings and Depression-glass chandelier, has borne witness to every major debate and deliberation in the progressive movement. The venue, originally established to push peace and justice in the Middle East, hosts enough panels, discussions, lectures and films to easily crowd a personal activist agenda. No question, the refreshment table’s bread squares for dipping into fair trade olive oil (sold on site) add a special grace to leftie debate.