Behind The Scenes
Words by Comuna Travel founder, Ioana Todosia

We celebrated the launch of our website and experiential travel brand by throwing a party in Ottawa that played off of our travel ethos of embracing the unknown. We kept the location of the event a secret until the day before and welcomed guests into an underground Havana-inspired party. Guests were led through a pair of old cellar doors and into the basement of a heritage building in Ottawa's historic ByWard Market. 

We also felt moved to use our launch as an opportunity to fundraise for hurricane recovery efforts in Cuba and do our small part to help with rebuilding and relief efforts. Much of the northwestern coast of Cuba was devastated by September's intense hurricane season. The Category 5 Hurricane Irma destroyed thousands of homes, farms and businesses in some of Cuba's poorest provinces. Less than a week after the hurricane pummeled through Cuba, we were still welcomed into people's homes and shown the same hospitable and cheerful spirit that Cubans are known for. 

We're thrilled to have raised a total of $1700 from our launch to support rebuilding and relief efforts on the island. We have partnered with Cuba Skate, a grassroots nonprofit organization that works to develop cross-cultural exchange and diplomacy by supporting and growing the Cuban skateboarding community. In doing so, they strive to foster a constructive environment for Cuban youth that in turn has a positive impact on the greater community. Since October, they have been working on the ground in direct hurricane relief efforts in the most affected provinces. The funds raised from this event will go towards purchasing a mix of toiletries, household items, underwear, socks, and other clothing that will be delivered to families in need. The Cuba Skate team will also be working on a few different homes to help with renovations. Their experience in cement work from building skate spaces across Havana has proven to be crucial in the heavy renovation work that many houses are in need of. 

The Comuna brand is all about supporting and championing the locals, creatives and entrepreneurs who forge past all obstacles to create spaces and experiences that communicate the unique and intimate stories of their culture. With this in mind, our launch and fundraiser would not have been possible without these Ottawa-based creatives and businesses who are constantly hustling to create cultural capital right here in Ottawa.

Victor Rodriguez for the tropical, global and afro-latin inspired sound curation. 
Common Eatery for catering the bar. 
Top Shelf Distillers for the locally crafted spirits. 
Quay Creative Co. for the event videography and capturing the mood of the night. 
Tyler Laird for the event photography. 

THANK YOU to everyone who attended, donated and partied with us to celebrate and raise funds for an important cause.
— xx Ioana