For many, remote work means getting out of bed at 8:55 a.m. for the start of a 9 a.m. shift, typing dreary emails on a flat laptop keyboard in the dim light of a rundown apartment in Montreal, logging off well past 5 p.m., and straining aching fingers and wrists to select an Uber Eats order, grab a toothbrush, and pull the covers over a vitamin D-deprived body before succumbing to a merciful sleep. Montreal’s free public workspaces offer an escape from the monotony.
Les Îlots d’été are mini stations on the street with tables, benches, sockets and, between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., wifi. Although perhaps less comfortable than your stained, reclining office chair, small outdoor shelters are urban oases for sunbathing during work hours, pretending to progress on tasks while chatting with friends, people watching and, for those who live to be seen, exhibitionism.
This summer, 39 of the city’s 40 summer islands are concentrated in more central boroughs: from the village of Monkland to Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in Mercier and from Ahuntsic and Montréal-Nord to the Sud-Ouest.
The 40th is at the northern end of the island near the Eastern Beach at Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles.
Aire Commune, the organization behind the Îlots, has also set up a larger workspace, the Summer Station, at Place Ville-Marie downtown.
The site consists of two reservable meeting spaces with televisions in addition to free wifi and sockets. The rooms are free to book for time slots of 50 or 90 minutes.
The Summer Islands will be available seven days a week until October.