When Jeff and I came to Toronto in 2011 and leased our little space at King and Bathurst, we had no idea what we had set in motion. We didn’t move in thinking we were starting a coworking business, as many of you reading this already know. We just needed a place to work and were lucky enough to have some friends in the same boat. And while I’m not going to pretend that it’s been all sunshine and rainbows, we’ll be celebrating five years this August and I’m pretty damn proud of that.
You see, in the coworking world, being around for five years makes us a bit of a dinosaur. And though we were definitely not the first shared workspace in Toronto, the way our company came about (some would say by happy accident) meant that we had to figure it out as we went along. With no playbook to follow, and armed only with a wifi connection, some folding tables and a keg fridge, we opened our first space in August 2011.
Our first members (though we were definitely not calling them that at the time) were our friends; people crazy enough to think they could start their own businesses too. We didn’t have a lot of money, and real estate in Toronto is expensive, so we could only focus on the bare essentials. But staying gritty meant that we could offer affordable rates, and most of the companies in our space were startups so that was important. Now we call this “founder friendly” but in 2011 it was simply all we could afford.
A lot has changed since then, but I like to think our approach hasn’t. Keeping things simple and focusing on key elements like 24/7 access, super fast wifi and a killer community has become what startup and investor types might call our differentiation. In our eyes we’re still just building the office we want to work from. And now, just before we celebrate our five year anniversary, we’re also announcing another pretty exciting milestone:
King West is going to 10,000 square feet!
That's right folks. You heard it here first (or here if you were really paying attention). Our little space at King and Bathurst is all grown up. What began as 1,200 square feet and very slowly grew to 5,000 is now making the jump to occupy the entire 10,000 square foot top floor of 73 Bathurst Street. Construction is happening as I write this (sorry for the noise!) and we'll be fully operational mid-June.
Needless to say, our team is pretty stoked about this. The new space will have 58 new dedicated desks, as well as a massively expanded lounge space with some additional meeting rooms and a ton of extra seating. We'll be beefing up the wifi network as well, and of course members will have 24/7 access as always. Skylight windows and an awesome view of King West doesn't hurt either.
On June 9th we'll be hosting a soft opening / happy hour in partnership with our friends at Breather. Guests are welcome so reserve a spot now - it's free! An official opening will come later in June. Those itching to get a look before then can book a tour and either Jeff or myself will get back to you right away. You can also follow us on Instagram to see the progress.
Who knows where things will go from here, but what I can tell you is that, five years later, the spirit that gave birth to Project Spaces in that hot summer of 2011 is alive and well. So if you're crazy enough to think you can start your own business, I hope you'll join us.
Founder-friendly coworking in downtown Toronto for entrepreneurs and digital nomads. EST 2011. We create original workspaces, fill them with relentless entrepreneurs, and watch the magic happen. Learn more