A closer look at The Dunbat Skate Shack in Toronto.
Zac Shillolo, founder and owner of The Dunbat Skate Shack gives me a tour of his bin and does a board press demo. He kindly asks me if I want to help but I decide to take pictures. His girlfriend Holly, who also is a photographer, gives Zac a lending hand instead. The board press is a two person job. He walks me through his process to create a custom shape. 100% Canadian Maple, custom work, hand cut and layered with Titebond Wood Glue. Usually hand painted by Zac or an artist friend.
“The Dunbat Skate Shack was originally an idea from one of my friends who told me to open up a Skate Shop,” says Zac. From there and he just went ahead and did it… he says “why not?!”
Why not are words to live by!
“Yeah like.. what’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work, like oh well.
It went from my friend telling me to do it, to me saying ok, then went to the community center and applied to get one of the bins. I got it.. I had the bin and was going to Oasis Skateboard Factory at the time.”
Zac is definitely a part of his neighbourhood shipping container shop community. He steps away to help another bin owner. She asks him to repaint one of her frames for her shop, “Okay cool I will, no worries.”
Zac continues, “I was studying at Oasis, and I got the bin… so I started ordering boards through Control and I got one of the former students to make the design. I ordered the boards, had my own board, and traded boards through Bunz so at this point I had a bin with boards and all of a sudden I was open. He laughs about trading a 1000 piece puzzle for a skateboard he has in the shop.
“Basically, I’ve always wanted to be in collaboration with my community and I already have some local artists in the shop… but I am working with more Oasis students, as well as people who are out of the school and want to have their own skate brand but don’t have anywhere to physically put their stuff.”
“There are lots of artists who do shows and they’ll have their work in an art show but after the art show they’ll have nowhere to put their work. My shop is for that.”
The location for the Skate Shack is awesome, just a few steps away from Dunbat Skatepark in Toronto. I don’t think Zac could have gotten a more ideal spot.
Zac, founder and owner of the Dunbat Skate Shack is 18 and grew up in Toronto. Dunbat has been his local spot since he was really young. He got on his first board when he was 3 years old and never looked back. He’s been skating and cruising since he then and started doing tricks over a year ago.
“I got a job working at Evolve Skate Camp. They told me I needed teach kids how to do an Ollie. I could Ollie but anything other than that I’d land on my ass,” Zac laughs as I ask him what got him into doing skate tricks. Zac mostly skates flat ground.
“I do the board press demo and I do lessons. I’ve recently been recruited to do board pressing demo with First Nations students at the Rama Reserve, they asked me to come and do a demo for them and give lessons on how to skateboard. At the Skate Shack I teach people things when they come by like showing them how to shape and cut stencils, I’ll teach them how to spray paint, I kinda just have random things going at all times.”
I ask Zac if he has any team riders, “I don’t, but I do want team riders.”
Zac is thinking about doing sponsorships, he says “It would be nice to have a team but mostly I want to get this Skate Shack into more skate parks around the city so more locals have access to skateboards near their park. I want to put one near Ashbridges, one near Ellesmere, and all around the city. It would be nice to have one at every major park in Toronto. It’s a must to have locals running it because locals know what locals want, that’s the way it is!”
As winter is approaching I ask Zac what happens in the winter, “So I’m going to focus on ice skating. Still a Skate Shack,” he laughs. “During the winter I’ll do skate sharpening, keep skateboards and do snow skates. I build snow skates, it’s so fun. They are absolutely ridiculous but so much fun.”
The future looks bright for The Dunbat Skate Shack!
The Dunbat Skate Shack can be found at: