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Co-Working Spaces Are Taking Off In Toronto. Here's Why

Toronto Office

Co-working office spaces have become all the rage in Toronto as small businesses and freelancers seek flexible, affordable alternatives to leasing in high-demand downtown submarkets. Colliers’ Shawn Gilligan explains.


Here's Shawn, a senior analyst with Colliers International, at Regus’ Liberty Village Business Centre at 60 Atlantic Ave. There's been a proliferation of co-working spaces in Toronto in recent years, he tells us, with 39 providers operating 80 different co-working locations across the city. The highest concentrations of spaces are in the Downtown West and Downtown East submarkets, says Shawn, noting these offices appeal to startups or self-employed workers who want to be centrally located but avoid spending tons on overhead and set-up costs, like for furniture and internet.


A meeting room at a Workplace One location. It’s tough right now for firms, especially smaller ones, to find quality space downtown or even on the fringe, Shawn says. There’s a lack of new supply in popular submarkets and rents keep climbing for what space is available. So co-working is attractive because it gives smaller companies the ability to locate in desirable nodes close to large residential populations, but not have to commit to long-term leases. Through flexible co-working spaces, tenants can share amenities like printers and scanners, as well as meeting rooms, common spaces and event areas.


Above, a Regus location in Yorkville. A global firm, Regus is the city's largest provider of co-working space. And local players The Fueling Station, Centre for Social Innovation and Intelligent Office have been expanding. Another perk of co-working spaces: with a diverse mix of businesses and entrepreneurs in the same spot, “creative ideas and knowledge can be shared in a collaborative environment," says Shawn, who predicts co-working will grow more popular. With demand for TO office space soaring amid ever-increasing rents, “it makes sense to rent co-working space versus space in a traditional office building.”