The Commons is co-owned by a
brother and sister duo.


The Proprietress

The Commons began in 2009 as Cowork YYC, a communal office space for Calgary’s creative community. It was the first coworking initiative in the City, and was owned by three local entrepreneurs.

Erynn Nicole Lyster is a graphic and web designer who founded Urban Motif Design Inc. in 2007. At the time she worked alone, at home, sometimes not getting out of her pajamas until noon, and occasionally going for days without actually interacting face-to-face with others. Her home office felt isolating and she began to have a persistent nagging, fear inducing thought - was she becoming a hermit? Can one lose one’s ability to function socially? At the recommendation of a friend she checked out Cowork YYC in 2010, and immediately became a member. Enjoying the coworking model so much she became increasingly involved in its operation, eventually taking the role of Cowork YYC manager.

In March 2013 when the opportunity materialized to become the sole owner of the business, she seized it. Not only did she have plenty of ideas for making the space unique, inviting and relevant to the contemporary entrepreneur, but she already valued and took pride in Cowork YYC. And she honestly could not think of many other things she’d prefer to do other than to design and develop a space to facilitate creativity, productivity and community. And so the rebrand of Cowork YYC to The Commons began ...

*Note: Truthfully, sometimes Erynn still stays at home to "work" and doesn't get out of her pajamas until noon, but now it is a choice. And she never has to refer to WikiHow’s How to Avoid Being Socially Awkward


The Proprietor

Zach Lyster is in the middle of his own personal rebranding. He has spent the last nine years wheelin’ and dealin’ in the real estate world - selling residential homes, running his own property management company and more recently moving into real estate financing. It became all too apparent in 2012 that his life was quickly becoming all work and no play, so he decided to take a year off and travel to different parts of Asia on his own “Eat, Pray, Love” journey – picture Buddhist monks, beaches in Bali, and Chinese markets, however, all of this sans Julia Roberts, sadly.

Leaving Calgary, where he was born and raised, to discover cultures completely foreign to him was an experience that would change his life. Zach returned to Canada rejuvenated and excited to get back into business. He had discovered a new appreciation for “work/life balance” so when the opportunity to build a business dedicated to bringing an enjoyable lifestyle to work presented itself, he didn’t have to think twice about becoming involved.

He enjoys collaborating with his sister, Erynn, to create a workspace that attracts entrepreneurs from all walks of business. And, yes, perhaps a family drama or two rears its head every now and then, but that just makes life spicier at The Commons – and possibly has Zach looking nostalgically back at his days of living with the monks in a small Thai village ;-)