Standing on Stephen Ave. during a blinding snowstorm on a Tuesday morning may have you convinced Calgary is a disconnected and desolate outpost, similar to the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. Still, beneath the frozen white veil, our downtown core is wired and vibrant, with many excellent places to log in a few extra hours of relaxing work. Here, the Calgary urban mobile office, reminding you that there are plenty of options beyond Starbucks.
Eau Claire Market
In its heyday, Eau Claire Market was a bustling urban collective, where families from all over the city would travel to buy fresh produce, fish and baked goods. Over the last eight to 10 years, most of the “market” has been removed from Eau Claire, and the weekday civilian traffic has thinned considerably. With free Wi-Fi and much of the charm that made Eau Claire such an exciting concept so many years ago still intact, its centre court area is a solid location to set up a temporary office. 202, 200 Barclay Parade SW
deVille Luxury Coffee & Pastries
Sure, most downtown coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi, but deVille [pictured] gets an extra recommendation for its hip location (inside Calgary’s coolest new cultural project, Art Central/Fashion Central) and for serving delicious Intelligentsia coffee and tea. The coffee shop’s urban-loft layout — wide open, with wood floors and huge glass walls — allows customers to stare out onto 7th Ave. for inspiration while enjoying the inviting and laid-back interior atmosphere. #200 – 100 7 Ave. SW
Calgary Public Library
Even if you’re an ardent “I buy all my books” guy, you should still have a library card. The Calgary Public Library has grown along with the technological advances of our age. Members can browse a massive e-book library and instantly download resources to their laptops or e-readers (there’s free Wi-Fi provided at the Central Branch). You can also use the library’s wealth of research services to land that next big contract or to form a winning strategy of your own — for a reasonable fee, the CPL’s ReseachPlus offers individuals and businesses expert research on local market profiles and trends, media monitoring, consumer demographics and competitor profiles and lists. The library also lets you check out “living books,” a rare opportunity to engage in a unique conversation with one of the CPL’s many interesting volunteers. 616 Macleod Tr. SE
The Joyce on 4th
Just because it’s work doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed with a few afternoon pints. The Joyce, part of the Calgary’s Best Pubs family, is a traditional Irish pub with the modern conveniences of Wi-Fi and the awesomeness of happy hour specials every day of the week (4 to 6 p.m.). If all the hard work has your stomach growling, the Joyce’s Ten Under $10 Lunch Menu includes Irish favourites like bread bowl stew, liver and onions, and an AAA steak sandwich. 506 24 Ave. SW
Image courtesy of deVille Luxury Coffee & Pastries.