We can sometimes find ourselves staring at our screens, begging for inspiration to spark… but nothing comes. Getting stuck in a creative rut is more than normal, especially when you are sitting in the same environment every day.
Getting yourself out of this rut can usually come down to changing your surroundings, whether that’s stepping out of your office, or your home. Throughout this article, we’re going to be sharing 7 different places and resources you can go to in order to get the creative juices flowing, including our favourite Toronto recommendations.
1. Coffee Shops
The first and probably easiest/most common option is coffee shops. Just imagine the smell of fresh ground coffee, calm lo-fi music playing in the background, the low hum of people’s conversations, and looking out the window to occasionally people watch and take in your surroundings… who couldn’t get inspired?
Coffee shops are a cheap way for you to get out of your normal working space and into one that’s fresh (and includes caffeine).
You can either bring your laptop to work on, maybe a notebook to write in, or just sip your drink and observe, whatever makes you feel the most inspired creatively.
Versus Coffee on Adelaide and Church
Perched right at the corner of Adelaide and Church is Versus Coffee, a cute cafe that has an abundance of natural light flooding through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Le Gourmand Cafe on Spadina
Known for their delicious coffee and baked goods (we recommend trying their cookies), Le Gourmand Cafe is a bright and colourful space, sure to spark some inspiration.
Dineen Coffee Co. on Yonge
Living within Toronto’s Financial District, Dineen is the perfect spot for any creative looking to observe the hustle and bustle of Yonge Street.
Sometimes, you just need to spend some time in nature. Fresh air can be a perfect way to not only clear your head but also search for inspiration.
Although you may not be able to work from a park if you require wifi, going and spending time among some greenery is a perfect way to gather some creativity. Maybe you go alone or with some friends, try to take in your surroundings, and use that as inspiration moving forward in your work.
One of Toronto’s most popular parks near the downtown core, you’ll always find Trinity Bellwoods bustling with groups of people hanging out and enjoying nature.
Located at Toronto’s Harbourfront close to Lower Spadina Ave and Queens Quay, Toronto’s Music Garden is a beautiful spot by the water full of grassy areas, trees, and paths for you to explore. It truly feels like an escape within the city.
Living within the University of Toronto’s campus, Queen’s Park is a large patch of greenery for you to explore and relax in. It also provides the opportunity for you to explore the beauty of UofT as well.
3. Co-Working Spaces
Co-working spaces are an amazing resource for you to use to not only change your environment but also network with other creatives that may provide inspiration and ideas.
Although the priciest option for finding creative inspiration, co-working spaces give you numerous benefits whether it’s their cool network, beautiful office space, snacks, events, and of course, coffee. If it’s not something you can afford on your own, see if your work is willing to cover or split the cost with you.
With two locations living on King St. West and Camden Street, Project Spaces is the perfect spot for startups or solopreneurs to call home. The co-working space places a large focus on community and ensures that anyone that joins their offices is added to the creative hub that they’ve built.
Spaces has a variety of offices all over Toronto and within its different districts. All of their spaces feel minimal, earthy, and calm. Similar to Project Spaces, joining this co-working space will immerse you in Toronto’s vibrant creative ecosystem.
Arguably one of the most famous co-working spaces, WeWork has office spaces throughout Toronto for you to explore. Depending on the space that you decide to work from, they all have different decor and vibes to fit the district that the office is living in.
4. Virtual Events/Communities
Since the start of COVID-19, we’ve seen so many events turn to a virtual platform. No matter where you live in the world, you’re now able to attend webinars, panel discussions, and interviews from notable speakers and companies.
Although some may have a cost associated with them, many of them are offered for free and also have networking opportunities once the event is finished.
These events and community gatherings are an amazing way to look at what people in your industry are working on, their ideas, perspectives, and insights into certain topics, as well as make some new connections. Combined, these are all highly valuable tools for cultivating creative inspiration.
Currently on pause due to the pandemic, Fuckup Nights Toronto is an event series that any young creative needs to follow. Learn about the hilarious, heartbreaking and sometimes just shocking failures of entrepreneurs and leaders from all walks of life.
For all the female-identifying ladies out there, Women Who Freelance Toronto is an incredible Facebook Group/Slack Community to partake in. Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer or new to the game, WWF is a supportive, motivating, and inspiring community to be a part of.
Anyone who is either interested or involved in the tech sector should be checking out TechTO. Now virtual, the event series shares insights and stories from leading tech founders and executives. With a large focus on community, attending these virtual events will not only teach you some valuable lessons but also connect you with inspiring individuals.
5. Nature Walks
Similar to parks, nature walks are a great way for you to get out of your head and into some green space. Another plus to nature walks is that it’s nearly impossible to work on them. Take this time to tune out and soak in your surroundings.
If you’re like me and love listening to music or a good podcast on your walks, try to take your headphones out for a portion of your journey and take in the sounds that surround you. This is even more impactful if you live in a city where noise pollution is flooding into your apartment or home all day.
A park that you can explore for hours (and possibly get lost in) is High Park. A quick subway ride away from the downtown core, High Park is filled with paths, ponds, and hidden gems for you to discover.
Located within the Beaches on the East end of Toronto, Glen Stewart Park includes a beautiful ravine that runs along a boardwalk for you to explore. Talk time to be silent and take in the sounds of the wildlife around you.
Quite possibly my favourite spot in the city, the Evergreen Brick Works lives within the east end of Toronto. Featuring Saturday farmer’s markets, cafe’s, nature trails, and independent shops, the Brick Works is the perfect place to spend a day immersed in nature.
6. Art Galleries
Who doesn’t love a good art gallery adventure? Art galleries are an easy way to break out of your common environment and get inspired by the famous creatives throughout history.
When you go, don’t just take in the art and the passion behind each piece, but also look around you at the other gallery-goers, the architecture of the building, and the sounds that you hear. It’s bound to bring you some sort of creative burst!
The most popular art gallery in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is a beautiful space filled with art throughout the ages. Featuring different exhibitions that you also have the opportunity to explore, this gallery will leave you feeling refreshed and amazed by the creatives throughout our history.
The Royal Ontario Museum, or the ROM, is Toronto’s famous museum with a library of impressive artifacts, art pieces, and exhibitions. Attend the ROM to walk through history in an interactive and creative format.
Located at Toronto’s Harbourfront, The Power Plant is a leading art gallery exclusively featuring contemporary art pieces. Walk around the gallery and take in the art or find ways to get involved in the community.
7. Spend Time with Friends and Family
And finally, sometimes you just have to spend time with the right people. Take a break from your work and enjoy some free time with your friends and/or family.
Humans are also social creatures, it’s healthy for us to spend time around other people, especially those we love. So not only can a break from your work to catch up spark inspiration in itself, but you can also ask them what they’ve been working on and share what you’ve been up to. You never know what sort of opportunities and ideas will spark from these types of conversations.