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Collaborative commons

October 25th, 2012 · No Comments

By Kristin Eliason

This past July, a new collaborative workspace opened on Bloor. CO:WORK (703 Bloor St. W.) opened with the goal of creating an inspiring space, where productivity and networking would be possible.

“I think the workforce is changing. People are empowered,” said Heidi McCulloch, founder of CO:WORK. “They can work from wherever they need to, and increasingly, they want to.”

McCulloch decided to take things into her own hands, considering flexibility and the psychology of space when opening her new business.

High ceilings and large windows flood the rooms the rooms with light.

Open spaces, 1700 square feet altogether, promote something that she likes to call “spontaneous collisions,” moments in which random encounters with colleagues can spark inspiration or solutions to problems.

“Sometimes even if you’re not talking,” she said, “there’s something that happens about being in physical proximity to people”.

Barnabe Geis, communications lead for the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), agreed.

“When you have hundreds of people working to make the world a better place under one roof, there is huge potential for new collaborations and initiatives to emerge,” he said.

CSI, which began in 2004, was at the forefront of the shared-workspace model. CSI opened their second location at 720 Bathurst in 2010. CO:WORK seems to have adopted this successful model.

Affordable work rates—an hour at CO:WORK can be had for as little as five dollars—mean the space is available to almost everyone. Private, semi-private, and open work areas cater to clients’ personalities and needs.

There are also spaces where events and workshops can be held. CO:WORK has held two events within the past month, and also sponsored the international Creative Mornings Toronto series at the Gladstone Hotel on August 31.

“I think that the big hope is that … we can just be a go-to for those people who want the office at the end of the street,” said McCulloch.

According to Geis, CSI welcomes the new kid on the block. “In the end [with these kinds of spaces], you will have happier, healthier, and more productive people, and this is of benefit to the communities they belong to, and the city itself.”

For more information on CO:WORK, please visit

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