Office & Neighborhood Tour Series is a new feature highlighting some of Montreal’s Startup & Tech scenes’ coolest offices and office vibes.
Recent events have had all of us experience the joys and the challenges of telecommuting. Many entrepreneurs and executives are now asking themselves whether this is the ideal model of the true future of work. Yet, others deem a physical office to be a necessity, considering perhaps adopting the hybrid hot desk model as the optimal compromise. In this series, we tour Montreal in search of some of the most awe-inducing offices. We aim to inspire you as we talk about the beautiful neighborhoods that host these companies, the unique history of some of their buildings, and the office spaces that were carefully crafted to create truly world-class cultures.
Have you ever noticed the Lovell & Son building in the heart of Old Montreal? It is a beautiful historic building on the corner of St Nicholas and Saint Paul that houses a few restaurants and retailers on its ground floor. Today, it has an almost modern vibe to it. And yet, “yesterday”, in the distant 1883 when it was built, it housed a historic printing and publishing house. Lovell & Son were tenants for over a century, hence their sign still right under the roof and a printing press machine on the first floor, reminding all visitors of the building’s roots.
Today, this heritage building is home to CloudOps – one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America, as recognized by the Financial Times. 2019/20 has been the time of focus on internal culture for the company’s Founder Ian Rae and his executive team. The office facilities they have designed for their team represent the commitment to culture truly and fully.
I started my tour of the office from the very top (rooftop, that is) and wondered: will the work-from-home trend apply to a company whose office space includes a fully-equipped-for-work roof-top terrace with a 360 degree view of one of the most beautiful cities in the world?
Suddenly, I wished I were not there to tour the office but could rather pull out my laptop and get some work done, fueled by the air of inspiration all around me. Luckily, Ian had a call to take, which gave me some time to sit down and take in the beautiful views
Cool fact about the CloudOps terrace. In addition to a barbecue, a spot with lounge chairs to watch the Annual Fireworks Competition, couches and a conference room table, their terrace happens to also have a beehive. Yes, a beehive – courtesy of Alveole, a local startup on a mission to reconnect people to nature in cities!
The tour continues and I fall in love with the exposed brick walls throughout the office juxtaposed with contemporary furniture, a gym with showers (and a towel service!), ultra modern phone booths for private calls, and one-touch iPad-operated Zoom rooms.
As we wrap up the tour using the staircase to go from floor to floor (even though this heritage building somehow happens to have an elevator!), we realize that it is time for lunch. The beautiful neighborhood of Old Montreal is overflowing with choices for any foodie’s taste, but I discover yet another cool feature of the CloudOps office. They have their own access to Mandy’s salad restaurant through private staircase access:
The tour is over and as I turn to look back at the CloudOps building, I keep thinking of how fortunate the company’s employees are to call this beautiful place their home-away-from-home!