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6 Communal Workspaces and Tool Libraries Embracing Sharing

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From woodworking to 3D printing, here’s a list of shared workspaces in Toronto letting designers rent tools & office at reasonable prices.

For anyone emerging from winter hibernation with a yearning to tackle a creative venture, good news: a number of Toronto businesses now rent equipment and fully kitted-out studio space on a per-need basis. Bake your dream dessert, create a 3-D printed phone case or build your own chair. Not an expert woodworker yet? Sign up for lessons to learn the tricks of the trade from industry pros.

Below, six shared workspaces that can help space and cash-strapped designers (plus chefs!) spring into action on their dream project.

Kitchen Library - shared workspaces

The Kitchen Library
Don’t be intimidated by recipes that call for multiple appliances. The The Kitchen Library’s lend-ready inventory includes pasta makers, dehydrators and other obscure cooking gadgets and appliances – essentially, everything but the kitchen sink. Loans last one week, meaning members are given enough time to master complex techniques. On-site workshops on ravioli and truffle making help members move closer to Michelin star territory. A one-month membership costs $9. 120 Eglinton Ave E (inside Living City Health)  416 803 1417  Tue & Wed 4-7, Sat 9-2  thekitchenlibrary.ca

maker kids

MakerKids
A youth-oriented lab space, MakerKids encourages curious kids to explore new technologies in a fun, safe environment. Four-day camps ($400) cover 3-D printing, programming, robotics and more, while pay-what-you-can Open Make nights let kids pursue projects of their choice under staffer guidance. Daylong programs ($100) are scheduled to coincide with Toronto PA days. Still looking for a great March Break camp? Good news: MakerKids still has space left in its weeklong program. 2241 Dundas St W  647 400 7974  Hours Vary  makerkids.com

make lab

MakeLab
Complete the $40 introductory workshop, and you’re free to book this west-end tech lab’s fleet of 3-D printers for your own productions. Experts are always on call for one-on-one consultations. MakeLab also rents out MakerBots to those looking to set up private “pop-up 3-D printing labs.” For example, the curators at the ROM recently invited visitors to churn out their very own mini versions of Mesopotamian buildings. Update: Permanently Closed

makeworks - shared workspaces

MakeWorks
This co-working space is the city’s main stomping ground for creative types. Community memberships ($200/month) get freelancers a Hot Desk, use of communal kitchen and event space, plus discounted access to tenant MakeLab’s 3-D printers and laser cutters. Also in the building: crowd-funding site Indiegogo, the hip food fest organizers behind Toronto Underground Market and 30 other promising small businesses. – Update: Permanently Closed

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The Shop
Located in the MakeWorks building, The Shop is a shared workspace dedicated to woodworking, ceramics and crafts. Beginner workshops (from $38) cover walnut cutting boards and ceramic dinner-plate production techniques. Makers can opt to buy day passes or month-long memberships ($108) to use the facility’s band saws or kilns at their convenience. New: The Shop’s online marketplace designed to help members sell their creations to the masses. 1139 College St  416 824 2555  Mon & Fri 10-5, Tue-Thu 10-7  theshoptoronto.ca

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Toronto Tool Library
Embarking on a real fixer-upper? For $50 a year, members can borrow any of the TTL’s 3,000-plus tools for up to five days. Wire strippers, drain snakes and other useful gizmos are kept at two branches: a Parkdale location and a Danforth outpost, which also hosts workshops and after-school programs. 1499 Queen St W  647 498 1258  Tue & Thu 3-8, Sat 10-3, Sun 11-4  (Also: 1803 Danforth Ave  647 559 6734)  torontotoollibrary.com

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