Photos: Kerrisa Wilson
WeWork’s first shared office space in Toronto has officially opened its doors and includes graffiti murals from local artists and an homage to the 6ix’s very own Drake.
BuzzBuzzNews reported in 2015 that the US shared workspace giant was coming to Toronto with a third Canadian location (the other two are in Montreal). WeWork wanted to expand to Toronto sooner, but it took some time to find the right spot, the company says.
“[Toronto] is such a concentration of cultural vitality and economic vitality, and that’s where we want to be — and we want to be supporting that,” Dave McLaughlin, WeWork’s general manager of the east division, tells BuzzBuzzNews.
Located at 240 Richmond Street West, the Toronto office occupies a 100-year-old legacy building encompassing 60,000 square feet. The building offers six floors of office space and has retained its industrial appearance with exposed brick and expansive windows. Referred to as the Richmond Street West location, the office can accommodate 1,000 members.
WeWork’s platform is simple: create comfortable coworking spaces with an emphasis on community. Managing 140 locations worldwide — including spaces in the UK, Australia, China and India — WeWork leases out private offices, shared working spaces and meeting rooms. Anyone from entrepreneurs to divisions of large corporations can operate out of a WeWork location.
The Richmond Street West location opened its doors last week and is already 100 per cent leased. McLaughlin says the lessees in Toronto range from entrepreneurs to small companies.
“You have everything from professional services companies like consultants and lawyers to technology startups to financial services companies. It’s a broad array, and that’s part of why the network and the community is so valuable,” says McLaughlin.
Like all other WeWork locations, Toronto’s venue offers modern, private offices as well as individual desks and meeting rooms for its members. On each floor, there’s a living-room-style common area equipped with tables, couches and a kitchen, which offers beer on tap. The building also has telephone booths throughout, business-class printers, high-speed internet and around-the-clock cleaning services.
What sets Toronto’s Richmond location apart are the little local touches.
“We love to create these features that feel really local and so… we commissioned a mural from Trio Magnets, which is an awesome local graffiti artist, just for right inside the door there. So you have this immediate, very specific Toronto reference,” says McLaughlin.
As a tribute to the Toronto Blue Jays, each floor also has neon signs designed with the same font that the baseball team uses. But perhaps most notable is the neon sign on the sixth floor depicting praying hands, an ode to Toronto rapper Drake.
With Toronto’s first office garnering a strong response out of the gates, WeWork is in the process of opening another location in Toronto at 33 Bloor Street East. The building, right by Yonge and Bloor, will be smaller than the Richmond spot, but McLaughlin says he expects this location will be in high demand as well.
“One of the things that’s always great in a new city is to bring the products and bring the platform to different parts of town because so often in a big city people really live in a very local way,” says McLaughlin.