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Cafes

Intergalactic Travel Authority

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on November 23, 2012

intergalactic travel authority torontoIntergalactic Travel Authority is not, unfortunately, an actual space travel command centre (we'll leave that to Richard Branson). The shop and cafe is, however, trying to emulate that "space departure lounge" feel, offering everything a galactic explorer might need prior to takeoff. That includes books on space, toys to keep you occupied, vibrating neck pillows for the long ride through galaxies, and, of course, "Venus Cappuccinos" as fuel.

intergalactic travel authority torontoIf the concept sounds just a little bit juvenile, then, rest assured, that's exactly right. The Intergalactic Travel Authority is a social enterprise supporting Story Planet, a charity that offers programs on creative writing and other communication tools for kids aged six to 18.

intergalactic travel authority torontoModeled after Dave Egger's 826 Valencia programs offered throughout the United States, the Story Planet concept now includes this storefront space, with proceeds going back to the program.

intergalactic travel authority torontoI chat with store manager Kaleigh Wisman in the command centre cafe, while kids pass through the "spaceship portal" (which does actually look like a spaceship portal) to the back workshop area. "Our offices basically used to be based out of Liz's living room," Kaleigh tells me, referring to Story Planet founder Liz Haines. "But the plan was always to move to a space with a storefront."

intergalactic travel authority torontoThis spot on Bloor near Dufferin was previously host to a Croatian credit union, of all things, but was thoroughly overhauled in preparation for the Intergalactic Travel Authority opening in July. Story Planet worked with Brothers Dressler to create a salvage space bar (with wood from another planet, no doubt), command centre seating, and a terminal through which human life forms must travel to reach Story Planet. The shelves of the store offer hydration vessels (water bottles), stuffed alien creatures, and "intergalactic" t-shirts (for one-headed beings only.)

intergalactic travel authority torontoAnd on a totally not-space-related-note (but related to creative writing), Kaleigh says she working on compiling a shelf dedicated to Toronto authors. The drink of choice at Intergalactic Travel Authority is the "Black Hole" drip, which customers have started to ask for by name.

intergalactic travel authority torontoOthers order the "Mars" (Americano), "Mercury" (espresso) or "Venus" (cappucino), with all coffee options made with Alternative Grounds beans. The baked goods are sourced from nearby Plum Bun Bakery, with plenty of vegan options always on hand.

intergalactic travel authority torontoDespite the shop's somewhat ambiguous exterior signage, Kaleigh says they've been pretty successful in getting people to stop by for a cup. "Most people just pop in and pop out," she says. "But there's seating if you want, and we have WiFi and all that." All human life forms welcome.

intergalactic travel authority torontoPhotos by Brian Chambers

Discussion

6 Comments

Paul / November 23, 2012 at 09:59 am
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This place is really great. It's fun to browse through the toys, and the coffee is good too.
tanya / November 23, 2012 at 01:34 pm
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Amazing! 826's are so fun and smart and it's going to be wonderful to have something like it here! Bravo team!
n / November 23, 2012 at 08:06 pm
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really nice folks and good coffee!
Tim / November 24, 2012 at 07:31 am
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I love this place! It has an exciting and happy environment and all the staff have been really friendly.
Tom / November 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm
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Excellent! I stumbled upon the ITA during a very recent trip to TO and Kaleigh made a fantastic latte (one of the best that I had during the trip). She also explained Story Planet and totally inspired me about creative spaces like it!
R / March 27, 2013 at 08:27 pm
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My go to place for coffee break. You never know what dimension you'll end up in, and the staff is invariably friendly and fun. Doesn't hurt that it's a hop, skip and spacewarp from work.

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