Updated on January 16, 2017
Have a small business operation in Toronto? Starting your freelancing or consulting business? Want your own space, start small, a place to meet with co-founders or clients, but not sure if you need or want the commitment to a full lease? I’m a big fan of coworking spaces! And I’m so glad there are so many excellent choices in Toronto.
My History with Office Spaces
I used to have an inspiration board of tech startup offices, with their open space and ping-pong tables, bean bags, full-stocked pantry. When I used to run a web consulting agency, our open space was really just dining tables with, ahem, iMacs. I had looked at office sharing options in Manila and could only find Regus, which was pretty pricey for our bootstrapped outfit. So we scoured the streets of Makati and got ourselves a 38-square-meter office and called it our own. For a time, we shared with a couple of photographer friends too, helped with the rent and it was nice to have that sense of a small community.
Telecommuting and Working at Coffee Shops
Sorry, I don’t mean working as a barista. I mean instead of just sitting down to enjoy a cup of joe, you treat that coffee as your cost of doing business on your laptop. If you’re a knowledge worker, a web developer, a consultant, a blogger, you’ve had your share of working sessions at the corner coffee shop. I hung out at Starbucks all the time while reviewing for my board exams too! Apparently the ambient sound of the coffee shop is great for productivity, and now you can always recreate the environment by listening to Coffitivity.
Working at coffee shops is okay when you’re getting started to working outside and you’re just bored of your home office or you’re wanting to meet up with a friend or a client. After a few times, you experience its drawbacks.
- Having to rush to make sure you get that table near the power outlet.
- Having to keep buying cups of coffee all day, even when you’re already jittery
- Then needing to go to the washroom, because of all that coffee you drank. You’d have to pack up your laptop and bring it with you or lock it to your table with a laptop lock cable. And of course, leave a notebook or cup or a sweater to save your space.
- Customers coming in and looking at you, of course, what else is there to do while waiting for their order
- Learning about the latest drama in the lives of whoever happens to sit at the next table
- If the free wifi is on the fritz – what now?
I’m so glad coworking was invented. Chesa and the CoLab team are awesome if you ever need a hot desk in Manila. Meanwhile, we’re in Toronto so I happily had a look around!
With 2 locations at King West (King and Bathurst) and Camden Street (Queen and Spadina), I felt comfortable during my visits to both locations. Project Spaces, founded by Neil Martin and Jeff Howard, is an excellent option for freelancers and startups. The lowest monthly fee is CAD 45 for mail service and 1 day drop-in during office hours at 9am-5pm. The next service plans at CAD 200 and CAD 395 monthly will get you 24/7 access. I’ve been with them a few months now. There are Tuesday learning sessions on relevant topics such as startup law, happy hour sessions every month, and member perks such as discounts on gym membership and software. More info about Project Spaces
Community for Social Innovation
Social entrepreneurs have a place to call home at CSI. With 4 locations in Toronto, you’ll find them on Spadina, the Annex and Regent Park. If you’re just getting started, you can apply for the Community Membership at CAD 30/month where you can use the common lounge, maybe even everyday, if you needed. The hot desk plans start at CAD 125/month with 20 hours and 24/7 access. They have some nice private rooms too for small companies. The Spadina location has great event space too for small-group workshops. More info about CSI Toronto
Get yourself a fancy Yonge Street address, right at Eaton Centre. I wasn’t able to visit this space personally but I liked that the entry point is about CAD 30 for mail service and accessibility. More info about Agile Offices.
Of course we can’t talk about office spaces without mentioning Regus. I’ve tried having a Regus membership here while in the Philippines, having the occasional hot desk needs. Having access to their office equipment like an A3 scanner and copier and meeting space came in handy a couple of times. The staff are helpful and the facilities are top-notch. I’d be open to using their services in the future.
Working moms can bring their child and their laptop to this coworking space / shared home office. Great for the transition from maternity leave! I wish I’d discovered this sooner!
Now I know there are quite a few other coworking spaces in Toronto, these just so happened to make my shortlist. Have you used coworking spaces in Toronto? Which ones have you tried and would recommend?