Category Archives: Toronto

Toronto Is Awesome: Reason #11 – Coworking Spaces

This is my eleventh submission in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.

I’ve written about co-working spaces in this blog a number of times before:

image courtesy of

These lists are far from complete, so if you find a place in Toronto that offers co-working space let people know about it. And consider adding it in the comments section below.

Coworking venues have given small startups and even independent professionals an opportunity to grow and collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs. And Toronto is home to plenty of coworking spaces, startups, independent professionals and budding entrepreneurs. And that’s another reason Toronto is awesome!

Toronto is Awesome: Reason #9 – BlogTO

This is my ninth submission in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.

There are many places on the web where one can find out what is happening in Toronto. There are newspapers (the paper and online versions), blogs and people on Twitter.

One of the best places to go for all that is Toronto is also one of the most entertaining online destinations focusing on Toronto: blogTO.


Founded by current Publisher, Tim Shore, BlogTO is the go-to place for anyone (citizen or visitor) wanting to know what is happening, or has happened, in Toronto.

Toronto Is Awesome: Reason #8 – Higher Education

Toronto, being a very large city, also happens to have a cluster of some of the best institutions for higher learning in North America.



George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology – With a popular downtown campus, George Brown offers more that 140 programs in the areas of Business, Building Technologies, Community Services, Culinary Arts, Dance, Design, Early Childhood Development, Engineering Technologies, English as a Second Language, Fashion and Jewellers, General Arts and Science, Health Sciences, Hospitality and Tourism, Nursing, Preparation for College and Work, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Theatre.

Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning – With multiple locations across the city, Humber offers over 100 programs in more than 12 areas of study which include bachelor degrees in Contemporary Music, Creative Advertisement, e-Business, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Nursing, and Paralegal Studies.

Centennial College –  Centennial was the first community college in Toronto when it was established in 1966. It now has almost a dozen locations throughout the city focusing on exemplary teaching, innovative programming and extensive partnership building.

Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology – Seneca offers courses in more than 260 career fields in Applied Arts, Business, Health Sciences, Information Arts, Science and Engineering, and Technology.


Ryerson University – Ryerson offers more than 40 programs from the following faculties: Applied Science, Arts, Business, Communication and Design, and Community Services and Engineering.

York University – With approximately 300 degree/diploma options, York provides programs from the Faculties of Arts, Education, Environmental Studies, Fine Arts, and Science and Engineering along with the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, Osgoode Law School, and the Schulich School of Business.

University of Toronto – Toronto’s most popular and respected university offers more than 300 undergraduate programs in over 74 fields of inquiry spanning 14 professional faculties and in excess of 250 graduate programs, from over 80 graduate departments, along with post-doctorate Fellowship opportunities.

OCAD University – OCAD offers programs for its students in a unique environment that combines studio-based learning with critical inquiry.

This is my eighth submission in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.

Toronto Is Awesome: Reason #7 – Live Theatre (aka Theatre Review: Les Miserables)

I just got home from seeing Les Miserables for the first time ever. Yeah, I know. You’ve probably seen it multiple times. If you’re a live theatre buff, you’ll love Toronto. There are literally dozens of theatre venues in Toronto. Some hold the big productions that move to Broadway. Others might be as small as local theatre venues in old converted buildings.

For a full listing of all shows in Toronto visit this useful resource:

Last night show was quite remarkable: From the use of technology to create various locations to the timeless story that has entertained millions of people around the world. The highlights for me were the outstanding performances (singing) by Ramin Karimloo (Jean Valjean), Melissa O’Neil (Eponine) and Earl Carpenter (Javert).

Les Miserables
Les Miserables

This is my seventh article in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.

Toronto Is Awesome: Reason #6 – Sports

This is my sixth article in the Toronto Is Awesome series. I would love your comments, thoughts and future suggestions for this series.

Say what you will about Toronto’s professional sports teams (yes we know they historically “suck” – I am still a die hard Jays fan) there is still one thing that you cannot deny: Toronto is a sports town. And not just professional sports.
No matter the season, we are an active city.
Rain or shine, cyclists can be found navigating the streets of (mostly downtown) Toronto; kids play soccer in the summer and hockey in the winter; swimming and martial arts classes are filled throughout the year and baseball diamonds are busy many weekday summer nights.
Sports. Ya gotta love this town!
toronto sports teams
toronto sports teams

Exercise your brain

Who am I to talk about exercise. I could lose a few pounds or more. I know that. My muscles could use a little firming up and my heart can be a little bit stronger.

I also realized that my brain can use some exercise a little now and then. And that’s why I came away from TEDxToronto feeling rested and energized at the same time.

When you spend most of your waking hours (like myself and many other do) working on building a business (you can include studying, working and other things in here) you can sometimes be blinded by the fact that your other regions of your mind or brain also need to be activated.  Now, I’m not a behavioural scientist. Nor do I understand, in scientific terms, how the brain works.

What I do know is that yesterday I felt different:  I woke up earlier than I normally do to get downtown on time for the conference. I didn’t tweet much during the conference. Instead I spent my time listening and taking notes on points that resonated with me. I spent lunch and the breaks talking with everyone from friends to strangers and students to millionaires.

And when the conference was done, I was happy in a different sense. My mind felt light. I knew I had work to catch up on but I was happy I spent a day learning from others who were pursuing their passions in areas much different from mine.

So, thank you to everyone who made my TEDxToronto experience a great one. The ideas that were spreading on Thursday infected me.

my favourite co-working spaces in toronto

Almost a year ago I blogged about co-working spaces in Canada. On December 17, 2010 I wrote a piece titled “the (in)complete list of co-working spaces in Canada”.

The impetus of the previous co-working post was the desire to find a space to work from while at the same time being able to take advantage of other people working and building.  Listed below are three places that I’ve had the privilege of working out of:


While not officially a co-working space, BNOTIONS has had a profound positive impact on the growth of thirdocean.  We spent 6 months calling the BNOTIONS office space our home.  We held our team meetings there and also met potential clients in their space.

The culture of BNOTIONS also positively influenced the culture of thirdocean.   Every time a guest exited the elevator on the 4th floor a loud round of applause greeted them.  The BNOTIONS office is also famous for their WWE DVD collection and superhero action figures.  Today, no matter where we work, all thirdocean visitors are greeted as long lost friends.

The Work Republic:

No matter what I say about TWR it will not be enough.  Located at the corner of Victoria Park and McNicol Avenue’s, TWR is only a 5 minute drive from my home.  This has allowed me to work out of a space while still being able to drive my son to his morning and afternoon classes.

This north-Toronto space is a welcomed and quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto.  On most days you can find Ray, Maurice and Milan listening to old school hip hop (Neil Young when I visit!), building mobile apps and making videos.

Need a space outside the city (yet still very accessible) centre to work from and bring your guests to? The Work Republic is the place for you.

Network Orange:

A slice of heaven in the middle of downtown Toronto, Network Orange is ING Direct’s contribution to Toronto’s startup and freelance community. Nestled at the corner of Yonge and Shuter, Network Orange offers our team a home 7 days a week.  Included in their package are a choice of 3 meeting rooms, wifi, coffee, a functional kitchen as well as ample desk space. Open 7 days a week, I have actually “opened” this space at 8am and left when it closed at 10pm.

Operating out of this space has also allowed us to meet with potential clients, clients and even our service partners.  More than any other space, Network Orange has helped our team at thirdocean grow from a young company looking for an identity to Canada’s community management and social media agency.

If you have a favourite co-working space please tell me about it in the comment section below.  If you want to receive this blog in your email, click on the “sign me up!” button on the right.

Why I do what I do.

Image representing Boris Wertz as depicted in ...
Image via CrunchBase

I love Toronto.  And not just the Blue Jays baseball team or the CN Tower.  I mean what makes Toronto, well, Toronto.

Her people.  Especially those people who are making things happen.  Whether it be community activists like the folks at the Toronto Green Community or the start-up/tech space that I have been involved in for the past couple of years.

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to chat with Canadian entrepreneur, angel investor and venture capitalist Boris Wertz.  He appeared as my guest on The XConnect Show.  It was our 19th episode and the first time we had a live audience.

The reason we invited a select audience was because our team knew that many people in the start-up space would love the opportunity to listen and learn from Boris.  So we had about 10 guests sit in on the session.

Before our taping I introduced Boris to every member of the studio audience.  And that made me feel happy and proud.  Happy that I could do it and proud that I had the chance to do it.

What made me more happier was receiving an email from one friend a few minutes ago who apologized for leaving without talking to me so he could share with Boris a cab ride across the city.

No need to apologize.

It’s why I do what I do.

my top seven #followfriday

Old and new Diet Coke cans.
Image via Wikipedia

In what may turn out to be a regular weekly installment, here are my top seven recommendations for people to follow on Twitter. In no particular order I present to you…

  1. @TantienHime – no other person RT’s me more than her. No other person supports everything that is Toronto more than her.
  2. @mhp – many people know that I don’t indulge in wobbly pops.  Mark knows that.  It doesn’t stop Mark, though, from buying me a Diet Coke every time he sees me.  And if I don’t say it enough: Thank You Mark.
  3. @salimavalji – Salima is one of the early pioneers of Toronto’s digital industry  as the former head of Edelman‘s digital division. And I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with her at Canada 3.0 this week. (Thanks for the ride!)
  4. @vasta – I once asked him, “How do I use Twitter?” He answered, “Just get on it and register.” Hey Sameer, I’ve registered. Now what?
  5. @amirad – Community Manager for My City Lives is also a popular writer now. She was featured this past week in Metro. Congrats Amira!
  6. @ceben – Thanks for taking the lead in Toronto’s StartUp Weekend Chris.
  7. @Ldillonschalk – For inviting me for a Monday morning coffee and helping me start the week off right. Thanks so much for everything.
Start following these folks on Twitter. Your life will be much brighter!