Village Hive coworking space located in Toronto, Canada.

The Proximity Network is buzzing about our newest addition, The Village Hive! This coworking space was created in an old schoolhouse from the 1800s in Markham Village, Ontario. Hear what space owner Charlotte has to say about her experience with coworking.

When did you open your coworking space and what enticed you to do so?

I opened my coworking space in January 2016 – 3 years ago! A few things aligned to make it all happen: 1.) I got tired of the corporate rat race, “red tape” and bureaucracy. I believe we need to love what we do for work as we spend a lot of our time there. I’m a big out-of-the-box creative thinker and I needed a change. 2.) There was a beautiful heritage building I used to drive by all the time, close to where I live and I always felt drawn to it. [I knew I] would do something there one day. 3.) I visited my first coworking space in Toronto to watch a live streaming of TedxToronto in 2015 and fell in love with the idea of coworking and people choosing where they work alongside like-minded people.  So, long story short, I quit my job, did some consulting, was lonely at home. I then decided to open up a coworking space in my favourite heritage building close to my home. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Tell us about your space. How big is it? What kinds of amenities do you have? What sort of quirks make it special?

The Village Hive is located in an old schoolhouse built in the mid-1800s. It used to be a boys school (then they let girls in later) so the sign above the front door does say ‘Boys’. We have about 3,000 square feet in total.  There’s storage in the basement cellar – I love exploring down there. We have a coworking space with designated desks and hot desks, a lounge for those who like more of a coffee shop atmosphere to work in, a kitchenette, boardroom, and three private offices (two occupied and one is for daily/hourly rental). Our biggest asset is our huge beautiful yard where we can have lunch, picnics or work under a big maple tree.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space?

I LOVE seeing the new relationships that form in our community. Sometimes the most unlikely people will end up doing business together or just becoming friends. We have high school co-op students and everyone loves the energy they bring to the space. 

What has been the most surprising/unexpected thing about operating a coworking space? 

Where does all the cutlery go? Most spaces talk about missing forks but we have a missing spoon problem. I think they are with all those missing socks out there somewhere. But on a serious note, now that my space is running smoothly and growing, I thought I would get back into some of my ‘older’ work in healthcare, BUT now I love what I do too much. I want to help others who want to open spaces in smaller urban/suburban communities so I am going to be launching a Coworking Kickstart program in Canada! 

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

So many great stories of success and new relationships. What sticks out in my mind are members that started with us, but then grew their business, their clients, and were able to get their own office. They got referrals from other coworking members, they got help with social media, website, graphic design from other members and now have their own space!

What is your biggest piece of advice for someone wanting to open a space?

Don’t do it alone! That doesn’t mean you need a partner (that can be tricky – lesson learned) but there are so many other coworking owners who have already gone through the start-up steps and are willing to help you. That is what coworking is all about – collaboration and community. People work better together.

Charlotte coworking space owner of the Village Hive located in Markham Village

Village Hive coworking space art wall

School house in Markham, Ontario that was turned into a coworking space