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The new Google HQ in Toronto is better than your office

Posted by Chris Bateman / November 14, 2012

toronto google officeIt's official: $38 billion of annual revenue buys one seriously cool office. Stepping out of the elevator at 111 Richmond Street, Google's new Toronto office, it's immediately apparent that this isn't just a workplace: this is a major outpost for one of the world's most successful companies.

Take the reception area. Against the back wall is the lanky machine used to capture interior photos for Google's recent street view expansion. Close by, three giant flatscreen monitors hooked up to a joystick let you surf Google Earth without the usual lags, fan noise and scorched knees you might normally expect from an aged laptop while you wait. And then you step inside.

toronto google officeHere behind the Sheraton Centre, Google Canada's staff enjoy what has to be one the most appealing offices in the city. The staff canteen serves a gratis breakfast and lunch of seasonal food while snack stations on each level provide fuel between meals. A special computer system allows the kitchen staff to track what's popular and reduce food waste. Outside, staff can unwind - if they're ever wound - on a mini golf course of Toronto landmarks.

toronto google officeThe office continues in a similar vein through its five floors. Google staff get to meet and collaborate in a prospector tent, a faux-grass landscape, or jam in a fully-equipped music room. According to Aaron Brindle, talent isn't a prerequisite — the room is totally soundproof.

Vintage arcade games are scattered all over the new space. The company wants its staff to work while they play, though, so each game has a two-player minimum. If anyone strains a thumb, an on-site masseuse is available to work some magic (just make sure you have an appointment.)

toronto google officeThere are tips of the hat to Toronto and Canada throughout. Discarded city bikes form a partition on the "yellow" floor, morse code song lyrics line the walls in the teleconference booths, and each room is named for a local or national icon. Murals abound.

Oh, and the floors are made from recycled tires and discarded fish nets recovered from the bottom of the ocean. Now, back to your grey cube, you drone.

MORE PHOTOS:

toronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officetoronto google officePhotos: Chris Bateman/blogTO

Discussion

41 Comments

mike in parkdale / November 14, 2012 at 10:32 am
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I'd like to see where people actually work, you know, when they aren't busy playing minigolf - foosball - pinball - guitar hero - etc.

what does an average desk look like?
BH / November 14, 2012 at 10:34 am
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When do they find time to work???
MIKE IN PARKDALE IS PRESSED AF / November 14, 2012 at 10:57 am
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MIKE. SORRY THAT UR JOB AT KINKOS MAKES YOU SO PRESSED. - GOOGLE
Vic Dinovici / November 14, 2012 at 11:04 am
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it was just a matter of time until Google moved to TO.
A replying to a comment from BH / November 14, 2012 at 11:08 am
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It may seem counter-intuitive, but research has consistently shown that when workers are provided such perks they are actually *more* productive in the long run.
John replying to a comment from Vic Dinovici / November 14, 2012 at 11:08 am
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google have had offices in Toronto for over 5 years, this is their NEW office.
cobyrne / November 14, 2012 at 11:08 am
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Is that Arial on the massage sign? Fuck you Google.
Charlie Bravo / November 14, 2012 at 11:21 am
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I always laugh when people pull the "how do they get all that work done when there's so many distractions"

The fact is, when you like your job these "distractions" actually help you do your job better.
Tabatha / November 14, 2012 at 11:27 am
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Wow. I'm a little in love with it. I work for an awesome company, but that makes me want to go there and just be among the cool, creative people.
Mike / November 14, 2012 at 11:30 am
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Google has had an office in toronto for a while now... this NEW office looks pretty amazing though!

the average desk probably looks a lot like yours. table-esque with a computer on it...

you people are funny..
Jordan / November 14, 2012 at 11:30 am
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It is great to see Google continue to be on the cutting edge when it comes to developing ways to increase employee motivation and productivity! Today's generation of workers will look to their employer's for benefits, such as these, in return for long hours of work.

Window Film / November 14, 2012 at 11:31 am
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My company did some work at that office last week. Very impressive
Terry / November 14, 2012 at 11:39 am
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I went to a party at their old office at Dundas Square years ago. That office was pretty cool too. To answer what the desks looked like, it was pretty much a cube farm behind the doors like everywhere else.

But I would rather be at that cube farm than most of the ones that I have been at.
Jose / November 14, 2012 at 11:53 am
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Pretty cool. Wish it were more like NY Google or the original Silicon Valley.

I'm sure one day, these guys will take over the TD Tower on King and Bay lol.
belvedere / November 14, 2012 at 11:55 am
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huh? no iphones? how cool can that be?! sheeeeeit.
goggler / November 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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all looks a bit 'cheap'
Dizzy replying to a comment from BH / November 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm
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When you never leave the office to eat, work out, socialize, chill out, etc they squeeze a lot of hours out of you and get a lot of collaboration in. Does this one have daycare?
g-z-u-s replying to a comment from Vic Dinovici / November 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm
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Google has been in toronto for a few years, their old office was at Yonge and Dundas
joe mama replying to a comment from MIKE IN PARKDALE IS PRESSED AF / November 14, 2012 at 01:14 pm
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What does that even mean?...Being pressed? Also, I love how you denigrated working at Kinkos as if that's something people should be ashamed of. In reality someone has to do those jobs otherwise how would you get your latte in the morning?
joe mama replying to a comment from Charlie Bravo / November 14, 2012 at 01:18 pm
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I always laugh at when people talk about "liking" their job, as if reality is of no consequence and we don't need people to pick up our garbage. I've had jobs I've loved, and what some might even consider a "dream job", but every job is still just a job.
BH replying to a comment from Charlie Bravo / November 14, 2012 at 01:29 pm
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I think you need to read up on the definition of distraction because a "distraction" by its definition takes you away from other tasks.

A's response makes a bit more sense and Dizzy's more still. But for me, having that many activities in the office would certainly make me work in fits and starts unless deadlines are firm and the perks come as a reward. YMMV
Robert / November 14, 2012 at 02:03 pm
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Seems some people are just naturally bitter and live a life of jealousy and hate. They spend their days blaming the unions for their own failures to land a decent paying job and good benefits The same people can't help themselves but to attack the people working at a private company that offers their employees a good place to work. tsk tsk
Rob / November 14, 2012 at 02:49 pm
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I've worked in an office like this before, and all of this comes with a caveat - you ain't workin' 9-5. You can bet that if your company is providing you with all of these perks, they expect serious hours out of you
mike in parkdale / November 14, 2012 at 02:54 pm
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but really, I want to know what the actual workstations look like. Do they get nice chairs, nice ergonomics, comfortable layouts...

now back to kinkos ;)
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from Rob / November 14, 2012 at 03:01 pm
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rob - it's not just about the long hours - an office like this is a recruiting tool.
Rob replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / November 14, 2012 at 03:10 pm
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I'll take it a step further and say these things can even be like a bit of a trap - don't care how cool your boss is, if they see you playing video games all day, you're in for it which begs the question why they're there in the first place.
Stella replying to a comment from Vic Dinovici / November 14, 2012 at 05:09 pm
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They have actually been here for some time. Their old office was off Yonge/Dundas Square. This is just their new space
Josh / November 14, 2012 at 07:26 pm
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Paid for by all of the Google advertisers!!! Each one of those rooms should have a plaque Paid for by....
Michael Assad / November 14, 2012 at 07:48 pm
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So that's where all my Adwords money goes.
MrsPotato / November 14, 2012 at 08:16 pm
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NO amount of guitar hero, mini putt (or 'extra fun' amenities)impress me -- I still don't EVER want to work a 15 hour work day.

Like a poster above, I worked at a company that had all of these perks too, and discovered that's how they lure you in the door .... then you realize an average work day at said company is 12-15+ hours long.
mjb / November 15, 2012 at 08:29 am
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It would be interesting to see the actual work areas, conference rooms, etc. This isn't very interesting space from a design perspective. Ok - they have some toys to play with but that's about it. Not very sophisticated interior design.
iSkyscraper / November 15, 2012 at 09:03 am
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Nice refit of an older building. And I'm pleased that Google chose to be in the core and not out in the suburbs. Clearly they celebrate being in the city, its downtown icons and the connections than come from density. Deco Labels they are not.
Developer / November 15, 2012 at 12:01 pm
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yap the reason they put all this stuff like gym, caf, pinball is so you spend more time in the office. In fact I'm sure they'd prefer you to just live there
joe mama replying to a comment from Robert / November 15, 2012 at 01:42 pm
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What do unions have anything to do with this? It sounds to me like everyone here is an experience professional that understands that all google is offering is a facade. A thin veil to mask the fact that it's just a regular office job.
joe mama replying to a comment from Rob / November 15, 2012 at 01:45 pm
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Tru dat homie. Been there done that. One of the jobs I had was so sought after that the pay was up to 30% lower than any comparable job in another industry. I know this because I got an automatic title promotion and 30% increase for doing virtually the same job in another industry when I left.

The sad reality is that I had hundreds of people that would step over their own mother for my old job and we were willing to do it for much less, so the company was total control to exploit people as they saw fit. I don't think Google has low pay, but if there's one thing I've learned about "sought after" companies, it's that a lot of people devote their lives to them.
JOB replying to a comment from MIKE IN PARKDALE IS PRESSED AF / January 1, 2013 at 02:49 pm
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Yeah.........you should be embarrassed about your comment. A little bit of a knee-jerk reaction, and not very intelligent.

Good luck with hating everyone and everything, and a special Good luck with 2013:) You're going to need it.
June / March 18, 2013 at 04:00 pm
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That mural was created by UforChange.
Watch the process here, http://youtu.be/CsGkuECnVt0
Ashley Foster / March 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm
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Please, please, please Who designed and built that fantastic mini golf hole?
Any contact details would be greatly appreciated.
Grace / July 13, 2013 at 04:46 am
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I WANNA WORK THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
fahim / November 5, 2013 at 01:17 am
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i am from pakistan and i want to apply to google office , i want be a part of their team so kindly guide me how i can send them my cv
C. Roberts / July 15, 2014 at 06:53 pm
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Great, you have a new expensive building with lots of fun activities, too bad you don't fix Google so that we can read the small fonts when we print, so small can't read and no way to change to large printing font. Should read the remarks on internet who people are upset printing font so small they can't read and can't change. thousands of remarks how bad this feature is. I'm going to stop using Google Chrome and anything associated with it until you fix - never mind your new building, golf, tents etc.

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