There are many reasons that one might become an entrepreneur – not the least of which, perhaps, is that you have greater flexibility about exactly where you work. It may sound like a relatively minor consideration, but statistics show otherwise – in fact, the daily commute eats up a significant amount of time, impacting how self-made men and women work and live. And, of course, it’s not just entrepreneurs out there: according to the 2011 National Household Survey, 15.4 million Canadians commute to work everyday.
A few interesting facts: approximately 75% of survey participants drove to work, while 12% relied on public transit, 5.7% were lucky enough to walk, and 1.3% chose to cycle. Toronto commuters experience the longest travel time at 32.8 minutes, and the people of Saguenay, Thunder Bay and Moncton enjoy the shortest travel time at 17 minutes.
Everybody’s commute is different, naturally, whether you travel by car, plane, bus or bike – and whether it takes one hour or 5 minutes. Read on to learn about the experiences of five entrepreneurs across Canada, and the lengths they go to get to work.
Point A: London, Ontario, airport
Point B: Kelowna, British Columbia, airport
Route: Across Canada
President at Belvedere Place Development, Founder at SparkPlay Inc., Canada's #1 Female Entrepreneur (Profit & Chatelaine), TED Speaker
Kelsey Ramsden runs her businesses differently now. The award-winning entrepreneur used to fly from London, Ontario, to Kelowna, British Columbia on a 10-day on, 7-day off schedule. But after the birth of her third child, Ramsden was diagnosed with cancer. She swiftly hired management for her businesses out west.
Her old commute? A 7-hour red-eye, 10 days on, 7 days off.
“When I did the commute, I always liked to travel the red-eye so I get the most day out of life. Coming back, we’d land at 7 a.m., which allowed me to hop off the plane, hustle home and take my kids to school.”
Vancouver, British Columbia
Point A: Main and Broadway
Point B: Broadway and Manitoba
Route: Along Main
This up-start from B.C. fused his passions for sustainability and cycling into a vibrant business. As director and foreman of a company that manufactures bicycles from ecological materials such as bamboo, it’s important for Roback to place his business mere minutes away from his home.
His commute? One minute cycle down a hill.
“We took the cars off the road and joined Vancouver’s car co-op, Modo, for when we have to pop across town. If I have a long commute, that’s essentially an hour I can’t spend working.”
Point A: Mount Pleasant and St. Clair
Point B: Spadina and Adelaide
Distillery District (doggy daycare)
Bay Street (husband)
Wellington Street (baby daycare)
As an entrepreneur and parent to a young son, this businesswoman knows about hustle. Once a week, she aptly names her morning commute “the traveling road show,” as she drops off her dog to doggy daycare, her husband to his office, and finally her child to daycare. She’s the last one out. She’s thankful for the occasional quiet moment.
Her commute? Up to 30 minutes by car.
“I secretly love the days on my own, when I can play music in the morning. I know I won’t get that time again until 10:00 p.m.”, she says.
Point A: Lakeshore and Royal York
Point B: Jarvis and King
This entrepreneur appreciates a quick jaunt to work. Bolger, who once walked to his office from his home in Cabbagetown, now commutes from Toronto’s suburbs. He and his wife are expecting their first child and needed more space. He, like many urbanites, says traffic is maddening. He has found a solution to the constant stop-start and manic road rage: he purchased an e-bike and breezes past the gridlock.
“David Suzuki said one of the best things you can do for yourself and the planet is cut your commute. Because I can’t do that now, I’m trying out the e-bike. Maybe I’ll end up with a regular bike, but it may take too long. I just don’t know yet, this is new territory.”
Point A: Prospect Road and Waterville Mountain Road, Berwick
Point B: Hammonds Plains Road and Bedford Highway
Route: Highway 101
Joel Doherty doesn’t ask his team to commute. The CEO in the food service business, who lives in rural Nova Scotia, says he simply couldn’t bring the development or technology to him. So he placed his business close enough to the city to attract talent, but far enough to escape urban traffic. He travels to Halifax’s outskirts three days per week, doing business from home the other days.
His commute? A swift 1 hour, 10 minutes by car
“I honestly don’t mind the commute. I find it relaxing. I get a few calls in. I can get my day organized in my head. But if I were doing it five days per week it would become offensive.”