I’m settling into a new routine this week.
Every morning, after taking the pup out for a walk, I hop on my bike and head down to Nostalgia Coffee Co., an independent coffee shop in the Topham Park neighbourhood of East York.
I get my coffee (large dark roast) and sit outside for a few hours of reading and writing. It’s the best part of my day. These early hours are my most productive – the west coast isn’t up yet and I avoid Slack until lunchtime.
I’m starting to recognize some of the regulars. My guess is they’re folks from around the area who, like me, have made this part of their daily ritual.
There are the seniors from Canadian Macedonian Place across the road, jaywalking through traffic without a care. Then there’s the Parkview families coming up from St. Clair, dogs and kids in tow. And every now and then I’ll spot a cyclist riding north from Woodbine.
Nostalgia is a warm and inviting space filled with quirky memorabilia. One wall is covered in flyers and cards from local residents and business owners. The opposite wall is full of menu items scrawled out by hand with colourful chalk.
I feel like these little brick n’ mortar establishments are responsible for keeping communities alive. Starbucks refers to them as “The Third Place”, and while Starbucks does a good job of mimicking the experience, they can’t replicate it. Not completely.
Not everyone appreciates that people like myself popping into these “Third Places” for a multi-hour working session. Some cafes are pushing back, banning laptops and covering outlets.
But that’s fine – there are plenty of other places that’ll embrace us, and I’m happy to spend my money with them.
Sidenote: As a remote worker, Nostalgia is more of my Second Place than my Third Place. I work from home, so Nostalgia is one of my few chances to get out of the house while still getting work done.