Fuelled by a boom in entrepreneurial startups and the ranks of self-employed go-getters, rentable shared office and meeting space is becoming big business. These well-designed, collaborative hubs, tricked out with all the technology trappings needed for productive work sessions, also make for excellent out-of-office meeting and event alternatives.
TSEvents e-news explores the following five innovative venues available to inspire your next boardroom powwow, professional learning workshops and other events:
Rooms At Work
Where: On Front Street, a stone’s throw from the St. Lawrence Market, Workhaus contains a bustling co-working community.
Workability: Occupying the fourth floor of a beautiful brick-and-beam 1840s heritage building, Workhaus offers furnished private offices, meeting rooms, and open-concept desk space. There are two conference rooms, the largest accommodating 12. The Lounge is presentation and event perfect with room for 80 seated and a stylish reclaimed wood reception desk kiosk cum cocktail bar. For receptions, make way for an additional 30 by combining with the adjacent Loft, pretty with its grand chandelier.
Unique Feature: With the Pan Am & Parapan athlete’s village and the Games’ headquarters mere blocks away, the venue’s location is well positioned to cater to work and event needs during this summer’s sporting extravaganza.
Where: IQ Office Suites spotlights city heritage in two downtown locations: The historic Dineen building at Yonge and Temperance Streets, and the circa-1957 Bank of Canada building at University and Queen Street West.
Workability: Private offices, desk stations and breakout meeting spaces are available including executive-style boardrooms for 8-10 people. Capitalize on the Dineen location’s hip, industrial loft-like heritage architecture aesthetics. There, exposed brick and beams preside over IQ’s three floors including a wonderful conference-event lounge on the lower level for 90 people, with modular furnishings and a 28-ft long reclaimed bar top. The recently opened University-Queen Street location marries modern contemporary design with five meeting rooms, four boardrooms and a common gathering area.
Unique Feature: In the basement of the University location, an old gold-standard bank vault transformed into meeting and special event space is set to open later this spring.
Where: Sharing space with two of Ontario’s health and safety associations, the Corporate Event Centre at the Centre for Health & Safety Innovation in Mississauga can accommodate groups from 8 to 288.
Workability: The bright, airy, modern facility offers multi-purpose space, from training programs and conferences to board meetings and receptions. For large gatherings, there’s a conference centre or the presentation centre with its garage doors rolling opening to an adjacent business lounge. Various sized meeting and training rooms, the largest fits 70, include three new “smart” rooms equipped with touchscreen technology, giant LED displays and interactive whiteboards. There’s also an impressive boardroom for up to 36. Events are encouraged to set up displays throughout venue’s spacious common corridors. On-site catering is available.
Unique Feature: Recharge your team with wellness breaks, such as chair massages, lunch-and-learn healthy topic workshops and mid-meeting stretch sessions, led by practitioners from the on-site High Point Wellness Centre.
Where: A fairly new addition to the West Queen West neighbourhood, Artscape Youngplace sprawls over 75,000 sq. ft. of the old Shaw Street Public School.
Workability: Supporting arts, culture and community are at the heart of the venue which bills itself as part ideas laboratory, part creative workshop hub. Home to many artists and private organizations, the building also offers five pay-as-you-go studios which are large, light-filled classroom settings, the largest accommodating gatherings of up to 100. The Hallways Galleries, two floors of 3,000 sq. ft. of corridor space with a capacity of 200 per floor, are pitch perfect for receptions and launch parties. There’s also an onsite coffee pub and the Urban Living Lounge which is available for evening rentals for up to 150 guests.
Unique Feature: Check out the venue’s events calendar and tenant listings for ideas and experts that can help add creative learning and teambuilding to the meeting agenda.
Where: On Gerrard Street, in the heart of Riverdale, the Riverdale Hub is an environmentally sustainable space with a community focus and social enterprise mission.
Workability: Comfy couches, vibrant splashes of colour, and gleaming wood floors and accents furnish the 3,000 sq. ft. venue with a warm, inviting ambience. Versatile workspaces range from desk and office rentals to meeting areas for up to 20 people. Two main event spaces, ideal for lectures and receptions, hold 100 guests each. There’s also a gallery-like studio for up to 80 plus two gardens including a rooftop deck with reception capacity for 40.
Unique Feature: Cater in from The Social Gardener, the on-site restaurant and café, a social enterprise project of the Riverdale Hub designed to provide training and skill-building for marginalized women. There’s also a full-service commercial kitchen with event space for 200 people.