Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coworking Spaces in our Neighbourhood

Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular as a new mode of working, particularly for entrepreneurs and startups to get their feet off the ground or work at home professionals who don’t actually want to work at home. They’re essentially a shared working environment where you can pay for the time and space you need based on your needs. Most have a very open concept in order to build more of a community feel that you might otherwise not get in an office.

There are a number of these spaces across Toronto and a few of the best happen to be right in our neighbourhood! If you’re interesting in checking out a coworking space, here’s where to look:

The MaRS Discovery District is heavily geared toward startups in the science and technology field. They offer expert advice, connections, funding and facilities to new businesses. You can enroll as a venture client, and based on what stage of development you’re at they’ll give you all the help and tools you need to move forward. They’ve got state of the art facilities you can work in, offering everything from offices and conference rooms to labs and event halls. Just this year, the MaRS Centre Phase 2 facility was completed which offers another 780,000 square feet of working space for their venture clients - not to mention the building itself is incredible!

Tangerine Downtown Cafe (Formerly ING Direct Cafe)

Where Pier One by the Eaton’s Centre used to reside now houses the Tangerine Downtown Cafe. The cafe opened in 2011, and transformed the old heritage building into a multi-purpose space for both the people of Toronto and Tangerine’s (formerly ING Direct) employees. On the top floor of the building is the bank’s call centre, which isn’t open to the public, whereas the second and first floor are completely open for people to come in, grab a coffee, work, have a meeting, or anything else they’d like to do really. The second floor is more dedicated to desk space and meeting rooms whereas the first floor is where you can hang out. They provide everything from wireless high-speed internet, printing, copying, faxing and scanning services to projectors and teleconference equipment. You can become a “member” of the community on either a monthly ($100) or daily ($20) basis - each of which have their own perks. The Tangerine Downtown Cafe prides itself on being really geared toward creative and collaborative minds!

The DMZ is one of the largest coworking spaces in Canada. Although it’s linked to Ryerson University, it’s open to anyone and everyone who wants to use it - not just students. The university’s main reason for opening the DMZ in 2010 was to keep people interested in digital media within Canada. They wanted to encourage their students, alumni and other Toronto entrepreneurs to collaborate under one roof. The success of the DMZ sparked the conception of more “zones” around the city focusing on topics like urban energy, fashion, design fabrication and transmedia. So how do you get in? You can apply online as a student or non-student of Ryerson, but first there is a list of criteria you need to meet before you’re let into the community.

If this kind of work environment strikes your fancy, then we highly recommend checking out a few of these spaces and see if you’re cut out for the coworking world.