The Best Places To Work Or Study In Toronto
Published: November 16, 2023
We could all use a change of scenery whether you’re cramming for a final exam, looking for a quiet place to get some work done during a trip to Toronto, or simply need a break from your home office. Toronto offers several options that’ll leave you feeling productive when it comes to working outside of your home, school, or office. It’s time to shake up your day and find some inspiration outside your usual routine.
Attention students! You can save on your next study break. With a PRESTO card, Youth and Post-Secondary students save 40% off a standard UP Express fare.
The Best Cafes and Coffee Shops to Get Some Work Done
Get a pick-me-up with some caffeine while getting your work done at a Toronto café or coffee shop. The popular Dineen Coffee Co. has two locations right by UP Express Union Station but it’s their flagship location at historic 140 Yonge Street where you’ll find students, commuters, and business travellers getting work done over a cup of coffee and freshly baked pastries and sandwiches in front of floor-to-ceiling windows. Try Versus Coffee Bar located near the historic St. Lawrence Market which boasts a bright and airy seating area where you can have a bite for breakfast or lunch or a glass of wine. With three downtown locations to choose from including one steps from University of Toronto, Neo Coffee Bar’s modern space with warm wooden accents might just offer you the inspiration your next project needs: the local favourite was named one of the 23 most beautifully-designed modern coffee shops around the world by Architectural Digest.
If your business meeting or Zoom call requires a cocktail and canapes, check out Luma’s lounge on the second level at TIFF Bell Lightbox on King Street West, a short walk or subway from UP Express Union Station. Typically quiet during the day, grab a counter seat along the window or relax in the comfy chairs and get to work. If you’re working late and feeling peckish, be sure to take advantage of the daily “Magic Hour” menu of snacks and cocktails from 4pm to 8pm. And no, we won’t blame you if you want to slip off to a movie screening while you’re here either.
You don’t have to travel downtown Toronto to get some work done. In the Junction near UP Express Bloor Station, Full Stop Coffee is a bright and colourful café with drinks and sweets to keep you fuelled while working or studying. Be sure to return in the warmer months to take full advantage of the giant patio. Also in the Junction is another cafe Torontonians can’t get enough of, Hale Coffee. With a number of locations to choose from, the Junction location is a bright and airy industrial space filled with cool art and vines hanging from the ceiling, making it the perfect backdrop for your virtual meetings. With lots of space, it’s rarely too crowded to snag a seat and get to work.
A little further from UP Express Bloor Station is Larry’s Folly on Queen Street West. This quirky neighbourhood spot is an eclectic and cozy place to get some reading or research done over the free Wi-Fi during the day. Stick around in the evening when the place transitions into an after-work hangout spot for drinks and live music.
Work and Study at a Toronto Public Library
Silence is golden at the Toronto Public Library. With branches around the city, our two favourites for some quiet concentration are the Bloor/Gladstone Library and the Toronto Reference Library. Blending old and new architecture, take advantage of the brightly renovated Bloor/Gladstone Library’s quiet study rooms, meeting room, and reading lounges. This 100-year-old building is filled with quiet nooks and crannies that are waiting to be discovered.
Even if you aren’t looking for a place to study, the Toronto Reference Library is worth a visit. The largest public reference library in Canada, it’s easy to find a quiet place to work on one of the library’s many floors. Even in the winter, the building’s central skylight brings in plenty of light. Plus, there’s a café on-site when you need a snack. You don’t need to be a student to take advantage of one of the cities libraries, but post-secondary students and youth can take advantage of discounted fares when travelling on UP Express. Plus, the free Wi-Fi and conveniently located power outlets at every seat on all UP Express trains means your work or study won’t be interrupted during your journey.
Stop by a Toronto Co-working Space or Desk Share Space
If working remotely has you missing office culture, why not check out one of Toronto’s many co-working spaces? Private meeting rooms can be booked by the hour or co-working memberships give you access to hot desking, lounges, phone booths, meeting spaces and more. Your ideal office awaits whether you’re working solo or have a small team you want to see in person. Check out our recommendations for co-working spaces, each with several downtown locations to choose from: Startuptive, WeWork, IQ Offices, Workhaus, Staples Studio.
If you are visiting Toronto for business or arriving for a meeting downtown, UP Express makes it easy to pay for your fare to and from the airport. Simply tap your credit card, debit card, or smart wallet on your phone or watch before boarding the train at any UP Express Station and you’re good to go.
Hit a Hotel Lobby for Free Wi-Fi
A hotel lobby might not be the first place that comes to mind when you need to be productive, but several of Toronto’s downtown hotels offer comfy lounge seating and some even have free Wi-Fi. As an added bonus, many of these hotels also have a business centre where you can print at a nominal cost, or even free. Blend in with business travellers at the busy Shangri-La lobby or hold a one-on-one meeting on the lobby’s plush sofas over a cup of their signature tea in front of the fireplace. You’ll also find ample space at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel directly across the street from UP Express Union Station or the large lobby of the Sheraton Centre, both of which offer spots to relax with a book without being bothered. Meanwhile, the aptly-named Lobby at the Ace Hotel is a bright and modern spot where staff won’t mind you settling in with a laptop and a cup of coffee or glass of wine while working away. It also makes a delicious and cozy pit stop for a working lunch on the go!
The Westin Harbour Castle is another great spot for a work-from-home break with great views of Lake Ontario and a café and bar to keep you motivated. Located blocks from UP Express Union Station, this hotel is ideal for business travellers to get work done before heading back to the airport. If you are visiting for business, take advantage of the UP Express roundtrip return fare ticket to and from Union Station and Pearson Airport.