With proximity to Toronto’s central core, old buildings that provide a lower rent option for small businesses, and easy transit access, our area of Toronto is especially appealing to startups. As a result, a variety of small companies work and grow in a small area in and around the Fashion district, creating a unique and rapidly changing space.
Quantum Mob’s office location a few buildings east of Queen and Richmond has put us directly in this space to experience all of the benefits and challenges that come with this unique part of the city. Following our expansion into a larger office space we’ve put together some of the best and worst of working in this part of the city.
1: The Buildings
The area marked by Queen and King to the North and South, and Bathurst and Spadina to the East and West used to be primarily textile and fabric production with a mixture of houses and other residences in the early 20th Century. The area has since been converted to the startup hub we know today, but many of the buildings are the same ones that housed textile manufacturing. This both creates an interesting working environment and presents its own challenges. Connecting new and required hardware for a variety of businesses to a hundred-year-old building is a difficult process but ultimately worth it for the opportunity to work in the area.
2: The Location
This area on the boundary of the Fashion District and the Entertainment District has easy access to a number of different city districts by being walking distance from Kensington Market, The Financial District, The Waterfront and Chinatown. Easy transit access also means that members of QM are able to commute to the office even while living in other parts of the city, although severe weather can make the journey difficult in harsh winters like the one we just had.
3: The Meetups
The density of tech companies large and small that operate nearby along with the rapid advancement of technology means that there is a near constant flow of meetups with new information or approaches to a variety of technologies. With such easy access in the area, our team is constantly attending different meetups to keep up with advancement and learn new skills. Some of the major events in the area that we frequently attend include Shopify, Mobile Growth, TechTO, Contentful and DesignX. We’ve contributed a few of our own in the past such as hosting a stop for the Startup Open House. Members of our staff contribute to specific interest meetups, such as starting BRTechTO.
4: The Food
The area provides great access to a wide variety of food, all within walking distance and well connected to a variety of delivery, ordering and pickup apps. Some of our office favourites include Banh Mi Boys, Aji Sai Sushi, Wilbur, Pat’s Jamaican and Kupfert and Kim. Ritual gets consistent heavy use in the area for food pickups, especially on cold mornings for bagel orders from the What a Bagel just down the way. These options are great and provide plenty of variety, even in the face of dietary restrictions or having to eat in a hurry.
5: The Culture
The startup density in the area means it’s common to overhear conversations surrounding technology and new ideas of all kinds in coffee shops, restaurants and bars. There are frequent changes in which companies are in the area as startups grow beyond what fits in the buildings in the area, so meeting new people is always a possibility. We’ve perfected the art of communicating with our neighbours with sticky notes on the windows and there are many in the area that do the same.
Our status as a fast-growing startup has allowed us to experience this unique area of Toronto as we continue to scale. Overall we definitely recommend the area for new businesses, both for its benefits outweighing its downsides and for the opportunity to experience such a unique part of the city.