The Top 5 Spaces for Working Remotely in Toronto
For the nomadic contingent of digital workers in Toronto - small business owners, entrepreneurs, and freelancers who don't have an office space to call their own - working remotely is an everyday reality.
For many, myself included, having a physical office to commute to is part of our weekday lives. Whether it's a small floor of a townhouse (like my office), or a floor in one of Toronto's many towering skyscrapers it means a stable place to work from every day - for better (WiFi! coworkers! a coffeemaker!) or worse (the commute! coworkers!).
But while working in pyjamas at home can be fun, everyone needs to get out into the community sometimes and get a fresh perspective. So where can one go when they want to hold a meeting, work on a project with some background noise, or even find a more permanent space to call their own?
There are countless spots to hook up a laptop and grab a coffee in the city (we already compiled a list of the best cafes for free WiFi in the city), but this list goes beyond those - to the other interesting spaces nomadic working types gather.
CENTRE FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION (pictured above)
CSI was founded in 2004 by Tonya Surman, who wanted to create an incubator for the social mission sector. The coworking space at 215 Spadina has been home to over 100 groups and entrepreneurs in its short history, and the team is currently trying to raise the $1.5 million needed to buy additional space at 720 Bathurst Street. Members can rent one of many different workspace packages that come with access to typical office amenities like high-speed Internet, fax machines and boardrooms, along with the brain power of others in the space. The building is green and airy (living walls anyone?), the people are friendly, and the location is prime - and becoming a member is much less expensive than a typical downtown office rent.
215 Spadina. Ave.
CLOUD FREE AGENT ESPRESSO BAR
Cloud Free Agent Espresso Bar doesn't just want to be a coffee shop. It wants to be a place for free agents in the city - entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners - to gather and work together. Sure, there's the upstairs coffee bar. But there's also a downstairs collaboration space which can be rented by the half hour ($20) or hour ($45) and comes wired for Internet and videoconferencing, as well as a free pot of coffee and 20% off food. Owner Peter Coish hopes the spot will one day be a virtual meeting spot, a hub for like-minded people in Toronto who prefer an untethered business style.
968 Queen St. W
Entrepreneurs or freelancers in Toronto are probably used to working in solitude. If you like having the human aspect of an office but don't want the sky-high prices of a space then new coworking space Camaraderie could be your answer. The space was co-founded by entrepreneur Rachel Young, and caters to the creative class. Camaraderie offers amenities like hot coffee, WiFi, boardrooms and desks for a membership fee of $300 a month, and the open concept floor plan is conducive to collaborating on projects or just engaging in some water-cooler talk. Camaraderie opened its doors just last week, and is holding an open house until February 26th.
102 Adelaide St. E, 2nd Floor
THE TORONTO REFERENCE LIBRARY
Although most of the Toronto Public Libraries are great free spaces to work, the Toronto Reference Library takes the cake for those looking for a workspace away from home. The space is over 416,000 square feet, has four meeting rooms available for rent, and is open until 8:30pm every weekday. There's a coffee stand to get your caffeine fix, an entire floor of newspapers from around the world to get your news, and free WiFi and ample plugs so you can stay connected all the time. And it's only steps away from the Bloor/Yonge TTC station so you don't have to venture far from home.
789 Yonge St.
THE MARS CENTRE
There's nothing more inspiring than being around other passionate people who are working to achieve great things. That's the constant attitude around MaRS; the goal of the centre is to stimulate and promote innovation. Whether you're starting a business and need resources or advice, or you're looking for event space, or you're looking to join the over 50 tenants in the building MaRS can help come up with a solution. Or, you can just hang out on the bottom floor at one of the tables and enjoy the free guest WiFi - you're sure to bump into other ambitious entrepreneurs who will kick-start your ideas.
101 College St.