Maybe it’s his east coast roots, but Todd Cunningham is hands-down one of the most stand-up dudes in all of Toronto. He’s not only infectiously sincere, likable, and downright cool when he’s busy at work as the Marketing Manager for Oliberté, he’s just as delightful and genuine in his off-hours if you’re lucky enough to run into him on Queen West. Did we mention he can also grow a kickass beard? If you need another reason to love Toronto, Cunningham just might be it… but we actually prefer his explanation as to why he loves the city he now calls home…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I am the Marketing Manager for Oliberté, a fair-trade certified lifestyle brand (awesome shoes and bags) supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. I’m originally from St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, the smallest and most charming town in the world with an infamous Boxing Day Dance at the local curling arena. I live in Toronto these days after extensive travels around the world (with pit-stops in Montreal, Banff, and Bangkok), but I still look forward to rocking out to Def Leppard CDs on the makeshift dance-floor back home during the holidays.
What are three things you can’t live without?
– For the first time in as long as I remember, I own a bed. The nomadic life doesn’t leave much room for large things, but now that I’ve built a bit of a nest, my bed has become the center of my universe.
– My parents, who are my inspiration for my adventures. They’ve always been a compass in my borderline-chaotic stumbling through life.
– My heart… literally.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
I remember reading a story about a man who had traveled from his home to a new city trying to escape his woes. At the walls of the new city, there was an old man who asked the traveler, “What is it you seek inside these city walls?” The man confessed that he had come to escape the tired faces of his un-relatable friends, the nagging of his family, and the dusty haunts that boringly drove him to escape. The old man replied, “The place you come from sounds similar to the place inside these walls.” So the man carried on, away from the city into the horizon, in search of the opposite of what he had left behind. Days later, a second traveler came across the old man who asked him the same question, “What is it that you seek inside these city walls?” The traveler replied, “I left behind good friends and family, beautiful places, and strong ties. I hope to find new adventures, unexplored corners, and inspiration.” The old man smiled and said, “The place you come from sounds similar to the place inside these walls.”
Secret hidden talent?
I have a ribbon at home from equestrian riding when I was like… 9, I think. Does that still count?
Most repeated song on your playlist?
Son Lux – “Easy”. When it comes on, I like to pretend that whatever I’m doing is really important.
What products are always in your grooming bag?
Band-aids and sunglasses.
You’ve got a fantastic beard. What other style trends are you obsessed with right now?
I’m really into becoming more aware of the conditions under which the things I buy are being made (especially with regards to clothing, in the wake of last year’s Bangladesh factory disaster). You can’t really just buy into the idea that products from a company are being given back to the communities that make them – you have to create infrastructure, unionize workers, create safe working conditions, and build communities before you just start handing out free shoes and t-shirts.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with your busy life?
Check out oliberte.com to see what it is that I do, and find me on Instagram if you want to creep my beautifully weird world.
Do you love Oliberté’s uber-cool shoes and bags? Comment below or tweet us @ViewtheVibe!