Coworking in Toronto

I’ll be working remotely at my new job, and I want a workspace outside home. So I visited 15 of Toronto’s approximately 50 coworking and shared office spaces. Here’s what I learned.

Finding spaces

No one has a complete list of coworking spaces (though no one has more than below 😅). All other lists omit a few truly amazing or popular ones. If you don’t want to look into every option, I’ve put in bold 10 good ones:

Many spaces have closed over the years (I know of 13), so some of these may be closed by the time you read this.

Why these 10? The others are, for me: too ‘corporate,’ like when the website shows buildings instead of people (Agile Offices, Regus, Rostie Group, Telsec, The 48, and probably Workplace One); too far (District 28, Fold, Fueling Station, Northspace, Riverdale Hub, Vandenberg House); too cozy (Civis Group, Gizmolabs); too sector-specific (Devhub, Gamma Space, OneEleven); or for women only (Women on the Move, Shecosystem). For the others, my reasons were: Free (no detail), iQ (meh, expensive), Lab T.O. (no response), Startspace (fully occupied). I only found StartWell and Station while/after writing this.

That said, the remaining 10 are actually good! Unless otherwise noted, I was guided by the criteria below.

Choosing criteria

Think about how often you’ll be in the office and whether you want to leave things at your desk. Spaces may offer:

  • A day rate for a hot desk ($15 to $30)
  • A monthly rate for a part-time hot desk ($140 to $200)
  • A monthly rate for a full-time hot desk ($150 to $500)
    with either 9–5 or 24/7 entry
  • A monthly rate for a dedicated desk ($290 to $700)

Almost every space offers dedicated desks. Most offer full-time hot desks. Fewer offer part-time or daily hot desks.

Other practical concerns are:

  • Location (see my map 😊), in terms of your commute and lunch options
  • Health insurance through COHIP
  • Meeting rooms, if you meet people or make calls regularly
  • Phone booths, if you make a lot of calls
  • Lockers, if you want to leave stuff but not pay for a dedicated desk
  • Parking, if you will bike or drive to work
  • Contract terms

Almost all offer a business mailing address and free coffee and tea. Almost all have kitchens, printers, copiers and projectors — though some have bigger and better kitchens and printers. Some have rare features like photo and film studios, 3D printers, laser cutters, rooftop terraces, and showers. Many offer free beer on tap. (None of these are criteria for me, though.)

Contract terms are important but almost never published, so you need to ask. Some spaces have no contract. Some require a deposit for the last month and 30-days notice (effectively a 3-month commitment, unless you give notice on your first day 😉). Some require a 6- or 12-month commitment and 30- or 60-days notice.

You should also think about whether you like a space that:

  • builds community by hosting outside groups and holding internal socials
  • has people working from diverse sectors or in a specific sector
  • is busy/empty, quiet/loud, airy/cozy, friendly/aloof, bright/dark, jeans/suits, teams/freelancers, etc.

But you’ll only be able to evaluate these by visiting the space.

Visiting spaces

Prices and locations are on the websites, but you may need to call or email to see if spaces meet your other criteria. (I made a spreadsheet for all that, but your criteria will be different from mine.)

At this point, you should have a short list of spaces to visit, to evaluate against your remaining criteria (like what the space looks and feels like). I recommend visiting mid-morning or mid-afternoon on any day except Friday, to see what a space is like when most of its members are in. (If you don’t work a daytime schedule, adjust accordingly.)

Many spaces offer free one-day trials (or a low-cost daily or weekly rate), so you can try your favorites before committing. Some of the options with multiple locations give you access to all locations, in case you’re having trouble deciding on one.

And that’s it! If nothing else, the list of spaces, map, and price ranges above should be helpful! 🤗

Thanks to Lex Gill for editing this post.