The idea is that people need three spaces: a place where they live, a place where they work and a third place where they can be among friends. This third place is a space where you can be yourself, build community and talk about the issues of the day. In North America, we put a lot of stock in our careers and family relationships. As we build bigger and bigger houses and spend more time at work, we isolate ourselves from our neighbours and become lonelier. We collect nice stuff, but we never really fill the internal void that is desperate for community. The cafe creates a space where people can find that community, where we don’t have to be defined by our jobs or how much money we make.
I’ve long wanted to see this happen in Toronto, in some place with good foot traffic and a bit of a community vibe happening. When I pass the now vacant Kingsway Theatre near Bloor and Royal York, I can’t help but dream about turning this venue into a third place. Same when I am on Queen near the Drake and Gladstone. I agree with Tim Keller that we need to stop abandoning the cities. There are many ways to serve in urban centers and this is one of them. I’m dreaming of what could happen in Toronto.