This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

The One for Commuters

The boutique start-ups at WorkCo enjoy twice-a-day shuttle buses to Kipling GO

By Rebecca Tucker| Photography by Erin Leydon
| September 14, 2021

Neighbourhood: Etobicoke Rent: From $250 a month for a hot desk to $6,000 per office Number of members: 100 Best perk: A twice-a-day shuttle bus to Kipling GO

Considering its industrial setting in a former auto body shop, WorkCo might not seem like the ideal spot to house boutique marketing, fitness and web design companies, but inside, it features two sprawling levels of converted modern-industrial chic. Members have access to private meeting rooms and phone booths, a wood-panelled kitchen bar featuring complimentary coffee and tea, a wellness room and discounts at local businesses—including the neighbouring Il Gatto Nero, for coffee, and Mascot Brewery.

This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

WorkCo is one of several cool new spaces created by the Downing Street Group, a development firm transforming a stretch of central Etobicoke, between Kipling and Islington, from an industrial wasteland to a centre of commerce. The initiative, called EtobiCo, also features ArtCo for artists and WorkshopCo, a commercial warehouse-showroom hybrid. “We’re trying to revamp and revive this whole area—to give it a facelift,” says community manager Amber Blackburn. The firm has even branded the area with a new moniker: the Assembly District.

During the pandemic, WorkCo was forced to limit some of its amenities, like fresh daily fruit water and all-you-can-eat candy, but as members make their way back to their desks and offices, maintaining a safe environment hasn’t been much of a challenge. “The space is 10,000 square feet,” Blackburn says. “People can pretty easily keep to themselves.”

 



Who works here: Bart Anestin, owner and founder of Creative Partner, a digital marketing studio

This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

“Before the pandemic, I was working out of cafés. Now I’m able to do my work, host clients, do photoshoots and record my podcast without having to worry about booking multiple spaces across the city.”



 

WorkCo’s 20-foot exposed-beam ceilings and epoxy-coated cement floors are holdovers from the space’s previous life. The cozy leather sectional is from West Elm and the rug is from Cocoon Furnishings:

This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

Long cafeteria-style tables just opposite the kitchen are used for hot-desking:

This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

There’s a polaroid wall featuring members (and their dogs):

This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

Many of the plants—there are more than 40 in total—come from Etobicoke stylist Jackie Marinescu of Jackie’s Jungle:

This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

The dedicated desks at WorkCo are height-adjustable:

This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift
This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

The wellness room is for members who need a minute (or an hour) to themselves. A sign at the door signals if it’s in use:

This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift
This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

The exterior mural was designed and executed by graphic design studio Splendid Projects:

This former auto body shop is part of Etobicoke's facelift

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