Welcome to the days where everyone is seemingly freelance. A walk into your neighbourhood coffee shop likely lends sight to many headset-clad, laptop-staring, empty-cupped individuals who are deep into their work.
I’m one of these aforementioned freelancers. Before I became a member at Soho House, a members-only club which I use as a work/eat/meet space, I was running from coffee shop to coffee shop buying teas (and food I didn’t want nor need to eat), all to “pay for” using the Internet — and all the while trying to quickly get through my work before the plug-less cafes forced me to call it a day.
According to a recent Financial Post article, 45 per cent of Canadians are expected to be self-employed by 2020. And, according to new data, Toronto’s growing startup and gig economy sees self-employment now accounting for 16.6 per cent of the city’s working population.
It’s no wonder that with the rise of freelancers comes the rise of the shared workspace. Sure there’s Breather, the Airbnb of workspaces where you can pay per hour at a spot around the GTA of your choice. There’s also the notable Soho House and The Spoke Club (though you need to go through an approval process and the costly memberships are yearly, as opposed to daily or monthly).
If you’re looking for something new, reasonably priced that requires minimal commitment, we’d like to introduce and take you inside two of the hottest niche spots that launched this season, set to take Toronto by storm.
Location: 69 Bathurst St. (King & Bathurst)
Size: 6,500 sq. ft.
When it opened: Nov. 6
Who it’s for: Discerning entrepreneurs, creative types, writers, and the wellness community.
What it is: An inclusive community hub where work fuses play.
What it offers: A coffee lab by Barocco Coffee Company, which will keep members appropriately caffeinated at discounted prices, as well as lead integrated workshops on latte art, barista training, coffee roasting and more. ELXR Juice Lab, kombucha on tap, and a sandwich and pastry bar from Oretta and Aida’s Pine Valley Bakery, along with a fully licensed bar.
Why we like it: Love Child has a highly curated event programming calendar at an accessible price point. The venue’s also available for select private bookings and brand activations.
Cost: Membership will be available monthly ($75), 6 days a month ($45), or daily ($16)
Who’s behind it: The endeavour is the second launch under the LOVE GROUP INC. banner, created by Dan Gunam and Sacha El Wakeel, the founders of celebrated lifestyle movement and eatery, Calii Love.
Design: The duo worked with former Yabu Pushelberg interior designer Lisa Ho Studio to design the space; James Goldcrown, known for his colourful heart murals, leant a hand to create a unique mural for the walls; Sarah Skrlj a local artist who painted Calii Love’s Instagrammable “Calii Wings,” and celebrated Toronto-based artist Daniel Mazzone also contributed unique, custom pieces for the venue.
Location: 326 Adelaide St. W. (near Spadina)
Size: 3,000 sq. ft.
When it opened: Sept. 18
Who it’s for: It’s open to women-identified people working in all fields. Right now, members work in publishing, skin care, e-commerce, education, graphic design, law, marketing, and more as it continues to grow.
What it is: A workspace for women that offers inspiration via the curated design and monthly programing.
What it offers: It has two phone booths, one small meeting room named The Squeeze that fits four people, a large meeting room named The Jungle Room fitting 14 people, a lounge with a couch, coffee table and cozy chairs. An “indoor patio” complete with AstroTurf and patio furniture, perfect for yoga classes, morning meditation and casual meetings. There’s also an area for solo and shared desks, a communal kitchen, copier room and bathroom which you can even graffiti should you choose. Lemonade offers unlimited tea and coffee, printing services and an inspired community.
Why we like it: The events offered on its programming calendar focus on growth, education and self-development.
Cost: Make Lemonade offers four options from $25 (for a drop-in) to $500 (for a fixed desk, monthly) dependant on your needs. More details can be found here.
Who’s behind it: Founder Rachel Kelly used to work as an event planner on a freelance basis. “I created Make Lemonade because as a freelancer, the struggle of not having a home base was real,” said Kelly. “I was tired of hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop with dodgy Wi-Fi and limited seating. My mission was to create an office space that lived inside my imagination.”
Design: The designers on the team, MMNT Design, were involved from the beginning stages. “In fact, as soon as I found the location they were consulted before I signed the lease. They did all of the drawings, found the contractors, and worked closely with me to make sure I had my space up to code. Without MMNT, Make Lemonade would still be a Pinterest dream,” says Kelly.