What we believe

At Common Pursuits, we want to think about and practice the ordinary things in life, together. But as we do that, we know we are both fallible and imperfect. So while we believe what's shared below, we admit that we do not practice it all perfectly. In a world that thrives on stark contrasts, the grey areas could use more attention. People pursuing good things can be limited by circumstance, by finance, and a whole host of other factors. What we present here is not intended to be the ultimate solution to life, just a few signposts to guide us all along the way.

Whole, but not reducible

People have bodies, minds, and souls. Our approach to life is integrated, and we refuse to reduce people to labels. Because everything is interrelated, we don't believe the ends justify the means, and we want to see how all the pieces of our lives fit together. People are complex beings, and we have no illusions that one-size-fits-all solutions can be prescribed for every situation.

Local, but not anti-global

As embodied creatures, all people live in a particular time and place. And as finite beings, we believe we can do the most good closest to home, with the people we see, work, and eat with, every day. There is something special about meeting face-to-face and looking someone in the eye. But we also see the benefits and richness of our global culture. Being local is about recognizing a relationship between proximity and responsibility.

Quiet, but not passive

We recognize the goodness of limits. This means engaging with those closest to us before jumping on social media to criticize and to judge strangers. The values worth fighting for are better served by taking the time to listen and discussion rather than shouting others down. We believe life hacks are a symptom of our failure to live on a human scale and cannot accept that efficiency equals value. Being quiet is about exercising discernment, embracing limits, and staying humble.

Simple, but not minimalist

Just as we are intentional about what we do not engage, we are serious about enjoying the ordinary things common to all of us. It's easier than ever to build personal empires online, no matter how spare the aesthetic. But by refusing to chase pictures of ease and perfection, we can start to notice the needs of others and not only our own, cultivating appreciation, not entitlement. That said, we believe there is a time for everything. Gifts, feasts, and good abundance are delights to be enjoyed.

Relational, but not interchangeable

People are fundamentally social creatures, and everything we do aims to nurture our ties with the people around us. This is why we are a community, one where we lean and rely on one another. Relationships are not always convenient, but they are what make life worth living. Being local, quiet, and simple helps us to love people best. We care about people more than products and friends more than success. Every person brings something unique to each community, adding another line to our shared story.

These are our common pursuits: ordinary things we all share. If these ideas resonate with you or sound like values you want to learn to love, Common Pursuits may just be the place for you.


What we do

Common Pursuits is a community dedicated to the question: How do we live well together? Our goal is to serve our local communities and foster collegiality and relationships with the people around us. We volunteer our time to these efforts in the spirit of cooperation and mutual-aid.

To achieve this, we practice two main activities:

  1. We engage with the local community, interacting with businesses and other organizations, getting to know them and connecting them with others in the community.
  2. We think and write about life lived together.
    • We publish long and short-form writing and invite contributors to pitch reflections related to one of our four themes: Ideas & Culture, Home & Food, Tech & Science, and Community & People
    • We also want to hear about ordinary people doing good in Toronto & Montreal. If you think we should profile a local business or organization, let us know.
    • Send pitches to commonpursuits.info@gmail.com or see our writing guidelines.
    • Once measures against the spread of COVID-19 ease, Common Pursuits is committed to hosting local events (More info coming soon).

Our Story

Common Pursuits was started by three friends in the midst of coronavirus isolation in 2020. Along with much of the world, Matt, Lester and Caitlin faced empty neighbourhoods as lockdown and social distancing measures pushed many ordinary activities online. People, local businesses, faith communities, and common spaces they had taken for granted, were suddenly cut off. But as daily life shrunk to a few square city blocks, they also saw their nearest neighbours pulling together. Despite being confined, people connected across balconies and backyards, offering help and making friends.

Common Pursuits was born out of the realization that communities need tending. In order to foster and sustain vibrant communities, neighbours must make deliberate choices, continually, for the good of all.

But how?

Common Pursuits exists to answer this question. How can we strengthen our communities in ways that promote flourishing in our homes, our relationships, and in our common spaces? We want to explore what it is to live well, together. Join us!