For many, remote work means rolling out of bed at 8:55 a.m. for the beginning of a 9 a.m. shift, typing dreary emails on a flat laptop keyboard in the dull light of a decaying Montreal apartment, logging off well after 5 p.m., and straining now-aching fingers and wrists to select an Uber Eats order, clutch a tooth brush and pull up the covers over a vitamin D-deprived body before succumbing to merciful slumber. Montreal's free public workspaces offer an escape from the monotony.
The Îlots d'été are mini street-side stations with tables, benches, outlets and, between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., wifi. Though perhaps less comfortable than your stained, reclining desk chair, the little outdoor shelters are urban oases for work-hour sunbathing, pretending to make progress on tasks while gossiping with friends, people-watching and, for those who live to be seen, exhibitionism.
This summer, 39 of the city's 40 Îlots d'été are concentrated in more central boroughs: from Monkland village in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce to Mercier and from Ahuntsic and Montréal-Nord to the Sud-Ouest.
The 40th is at the northernmost tip of the island near the Plage de l'Est in Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles.
Aire Commune, the organization behind the Îlots, has also installed a larger workspace, the Station d'été, at Place Ville-Marie downtown.
The site consists of two bookable meeting spaces with televisions in addition to free wifi and outlets. The rooms are free to reserve for 50 or 90-minute time slots.
The Îlots d'été will be available seven days a week until October.