A visit to The Village Hive coworking space at the Olde School House in Markham Village brings you into one of the prettiest heritage buildings in the city.
With high ceilings, wide open spaces, a historic, cozy feel, and friendly people, it’s the perfect place for an entrepreneur or freelancer to get inspired. Founder Charlotte Kirby tells us why she started this gathering space for remote workers.
“The Village Hive, the first shared coworking space in Markham, creates a community for people to be a part of, people who are otherwise working at home, isolated,” she said. “It is a space where people can talk to and support each other, and share ideas. There is a private office so people don’t have to meet at the local coffee shops, and it offers a professional location so they do not have to use their home address for couriers and mail.”
Kirby got the idea to start The Village Hive a few years ago when she was still working in the corporate world.
“About four years ago, I heard about The Centre for Social Innovation [a popular Toronto coworking space], and I fell in love with the concept,” Kirby says. “There were all sorts of professionals, graphic designers, marketing specialists, engineers, software developers, representing different companies but all working together under the same roof. When I saw that, I thought it would be cool to do in Markham.”
“Meanwhile, I had driven by The Olde School House many times and always loved it. I wondered if it would make a good coworking space. As luck would have it, one day I drove by and there was a For Lease sign on the property.”
With the support of her husband, Kirby gave up her day job and started The Village Hive.
“We leased [half of the first floor] of The Olde School House in November 2015 and had the grand opening of The Village Hive that January,” she said. “Every year since then, we have taken on more space in the building.”
“So many different businesses come together here and offer workshops,” Kirby says. “We do a lot of meet ups, mostly focused on business and wellness. We have a new LinkedIn Local, which is a gathering of people who have met on LinkedIn. We have FemCity, a women’s business group that meets monthly, and other groups that support each other’s businesses. We have workshops online and business resources.”
Photo: There is a huge coworking movement across the world, and The Village Hive is tapping into that trend, in this digital age when people are realizing they actually need each other. (Pixelfix Photography)