Is free Wi-Fi killing Toronto’s indie cafés?

Is free Wi-Fi killing Toronto’s indie cafés?

Laptop, tea and cake at a café (not pictured: jerk) (Photo by Nicki Dugan) 

When not referring to Black Hoof co-owner Grant van Gameren as “Greg,” the Globe and Mail has been sticking it to “freelance hipsters.” On Friday, columnist Leah McLaren lamented the loss of café culture due to “MacBook-toting jerks” who take up tables and siphon away the free Internet at coffee shops. The phenomenon has been unfolding for years, but Wi-Fi has only recently been considered a make-or-break element of a coffee shop, much to the dismay of café owners who see their hangout turn into a study hall. “As more people plugged in, the energy of the café began to sink,” says Melanie Janisse of Zoots. “People would turn up, buy a $2 tea, hunker down and sit there for five or six hours not buying anything or talking to anyone. It really started to bug me.” That said, what are the odds this is being read on a laptop in Dark Horse on Spadina right now?

• Where did café culture go? [Globe and Mail]