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Art and the Price of Fish: Zita Cobb in Conversation with Steve Paikin

Photo of Zita Cobb

September 24, 2020
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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We exist in relationship to the whole: the whole planet, the whole of humanity, the whole of existence. It is our job to find ways to belong to the whole while upholding the specificity of people & place.” – Zita Cobb

Why would anyone build a luxury hotel in one of the most remote corners of the country? Visionary entrepreneur, environmentalist, and philanthropist, Zita Cobb discusses the vital importance and feasibility of building a localized, global economy. The founder of the award-winning Fogo Island Inn and the  Shorefast Foundation takes us through a model that is both unwaveringly specific and infinitely spreadable, holding relevance for communities worldwide.

Zita Cobb is Founder and CEO of Shorefast and Innkeeper of the Fogo Island Inn. A registered Canadian charity, Shorefast uses business-minded means to help secure economic and cultural resilience for Fogo Island, Newfoundland: one of Canada’s oldest settlements. Following a successful career in high-tech, Zita returned to her home of Fogo Island to help grow another leg on the economy to complement the Island’s fishery. Shorefast’s notable achievements to date comprise a holistic set of charitable initiatives, including the world-class artist-in-residence program Fogo Island Arts (, and three innovative social businesses whose operating surpluses are returned to Shorefast for reinvestment in further community development work. Specifically, Shorefast is behind the award-winning, 29-suite Fogo Island Inn (, the Woodshop on Fogo Island (, and Fogo Island Fish. Shorefast has pioneered the innovative practice economic nutrition labelling for its social businesses, transparently demonstrating “where the money goes.” Shorefast’s model is both unwaveringly specific and infinitely spreadable, holding relevance for communities worldwide.

In 2016, Zita was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of Shorefast’s work in collaboration with the community of Fogo Island to help secure a more resilient future for this singular rural place.

Steven Hillel Paikin OC, is a Canadian journalist, author, and documentary producer. Paikin has primarily worked for TVOntario (TVO), Ontario’s public broadcaster, and is anchor of TVO’s flagship current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin.

In partnership with the Faculty of Arts and Science.