I live in a relatively big city but we do not have a lot of robotics-related events or groups. Some schools have their own robotic clubs and we do have a few competitions here and there but what I really wanted, is a place where anyone can simply enter and start playing with robots right away. If there is one thing that I love almost as much as robots, it's coffee. I contacted the owner and he even invited me to come for a coffee.
I went inside and I fell in love with the place. There is metal tubing all around the coffeehouse, giving it a very nice steampunk/cyberpunk look. The electrical wiring for the lighting seems to go through these as well. The lampshades are made of recycled PCBs, there are power outlets and USB charging ports absolutely everywhere (even on the tables).
The ambiance is similar to most coffee shops. When I entered it was very quiet (probably a little noisier on a busy day with lots of kids); people working on their PC and drinking their coffees, two people were using a 3D printer in the back.
After drinking our coffee, the owner showed me all the robots they have available and I was surprised, to be honest. They have it all, Ozobots, Dash and Dot, mBot, micro:bit, 3D printers, etc. They even have a Dobot Arm. Most of these robots can be loaned to you to play with and will include exercises for all levels to help people learn how to program and use these robots.
The owner told me that the objective is for children (and grown-ups !!!) to be able to play with tons of different robots without having to spend hundreds of dollars buying them all. This is a very interesting and original business idea that I wanted to share. It is my opinion that future generations will need to be well versed in robotics, programming and electronics in general. Places like this allow them to learn those skills and develop an interest in STEM fields without spending tons of money. If you ever come to Montreal, make sure you go over there for a coffee.