Skip to main content

The Combine

Observations on an Experiment in Forward Thinking

Hey! We're one! 

Well, one-and-a-half. OK, technically, more like ten-and-a-half if you count all that led up to this place/people/thing we now call The Combine. If you want to read that unabridged history you can, here.

But for now, we're looking back at one year: A year of workshops; of work parties; of passion projects; of play. All hosted right here, at The Combine, by us & friends, in efforts to stake out our space as a destination (and journey) for experiments.

“From the get-go, The Combine has been this melting pot of creativity and collaboration. It was about bringing together people who might not usually cross paths and seeing what sparks… Artists rubbing elbows with techies, entrepreneurs brainstorming with musicians. It's all about that mix, you know? I'm picturing Year Two like a garden that's about to bloom. We've planted seeds (with events, workshops, and just the day-to-day buzz of the place) and now we're going to see them grow. I think we'll see more new faces around, more members hosting their own events, and more of those 'only-at-The-Combine' moments happening.” — Eric, Combine Curator

In some ways, year one at The Combine has been a single-minded effort to cultivate and celebrate creativity— in addition to the agency work we do for beer money. But, in practice, that involves lots of like-minded people coming together to just try things out and see what happens. 

Such happenings have included:

Custom Grillz making in Bevy Cafe. 
Basketball Flowerpot design and movement in the Yard.
Hip Hop Music video launch at Luigi’s.
Holiday Markets in the Front.
Something called “The OMlympics”
Personal Fragrance-Craft night.
Cake design workshop.
Art studio anniversary.
Interviews. Podcasts. 
A panel talks about the future of everything.
Etc. etc. You get the idea.

“It’s hard to pick a favorite, because they've all been so special in their own way but I loved Auntie’s Supply’s pop-up shop. They really used our space as intended: more than a storefront, it became a platform to bring their brand to life and share it with others in a way that rang true to themselves. All Combine members bring a desire to learn and share new skills, a passion for community building, and doing things because you love doing them. In return you get programming that supports your creativity, plus a network of cool people who share similar mindsets.” — Nikki, Combine Curator  

It's pretty crazy how well the modern office– if we're really calling this an office– can be repurposed for almost any creative purpose: from mindful collage nights, to interactive art galleries, to AI Art Battles. It all kinda just works. 

Between the hours of 9-5 here, The Combine looks mostly like a regular workspace… ish. Huddles and scrums. People headphones-deep in workflow. Clients in boardrooms with execs. You might think people actually get work done here. And we do. 

But when your desk is neither actually "yours" nor "a desk", it's easier to see how, at EOD, the workspace you leave behind might become the blank slate for someone else's wildest imaginings. Especially when you're also one of the people regularly who show up to Combine events. 

[Picture: people working at the bar, and the same bar being turned into an OMlympic event]

“To me, there was no expectation for The Combine cause it was always this new physical manifestation of a community of creative people. But it's been incredible to see its potential. I really wish I had been here for the Studio Mise event— It checked all my main categories: Food, drinks, folks and good vibes. Buy-in from those who enjoy the space and the events are what contribute to that vibe, which is what makes this experiment work.” — Scott Lew, OM Creative Director

Because, part of the experiment of having a living, breathing, making, shopping, working, and whatever else-ing space, is having lots of people around who genuinely want to use it. And a lot of the people who happen to work at The Combine enjoy its other uses too.

Last year proved that multi-purpose space will always find a purpose, provided you have a community there to define it. And we’re lucky to have one that’s growing. There’s always something going on here, and if you're not following closely, you'll miss it. 

Pop-up shops and galleries facelift the front, practically week to week. Workshop events are always jam-packed. And the Café upstairs, at Bevy, is one of the busiest on the block— on-and-off work hours. 

“Speaking as Project-Manager-Haena, more events and programs are the biggest ways I see The Combine growing in year 2. Our strongest selling point & niche is our location and our large space, offering “different neighborhoods”, which let us expand multiple events into a workshop series like we did with Sad Collective. And if I take off my 'Combine PM' hat… it’s all about people. It’s been exciting to see how new people and community gravitate to the space through Bevy and how Luigi’s expands that hospitality on another level.” — Haena, Combine PM  

People just seem to want to be here. To play here. To work late here. Even those who don’t work here. Which says a lot about a place that’s technically still an office.

And yeah, it helps when you have a bar. And a pool table. But like any good experiment, it’s not about the lab but the ideas at play, and the scientists dreaming them up. By the way, new Combine community members are totally welcome. And if you’ve read this far, you’re practically one already. 

So if you have an event or workshop you'd like to make a thing this year, do hit us up: We're always trying to make things a thing here. 

Written By:The Combine

225 Wellington St WToronto-ON / M5V3G7

The Combine is a division of Tadiem, a framework for forward thinking.

©2024 All Rights Reserved. The Combine®