Exchange Loft Procedures


The Lewis Pearsall Exchange Loft has been a place where community members can connect to each other, connect to the internet, and connect to the Ralph Thornton Community Centre.  The purpose of the Exchange Loft has always been to provide the broader community with free access to computers and the internet while offering a welcoming, friendly, and helpful environment to community members.

The services of the Exchange loft have been greatly missed by the community during the time when the Centre has been closed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  While the Community Centre is permitted to be open and offer services to the public, modifications to the services and procedures are required to ensure the health and safety of visitors to the Centre and the staff.

The number of computers available for use will be reduced to four, to allow for adequate physical distancing, volunteers will not be available to assist Exchange Loft visitors, and the process to access to services will be altered to limit capacity.


Free Public Access Computers

Hours for the Exchange Loft have expanded. Computers are now available from 9:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday to Friday and 9:30 am to 4:30 pm on Saturdays. Washrooms can be accessed on the 3rd floor and basement. Access to the 2nd floor is restricted to our After School Program.

The Exchange Loft will be closed for 15 minutes every hour, to allow for a thorough cleaning. The day will unfold in this manner:

  • Slot #1 – 9:30 am to 10:15 am
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 10:15 am to 10:30 am
  • Slot #2 – 10:30 am to 11:15 am
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 11:15 am to 11:30 am
  • Slot #3 – 11:30 am to 12:15 pm
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 12:15 pm to 12:30 pm
  • Slot #4 – 12:30 pm to 1:15 pm
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 1:15 pm to 1:30 pm
  • Slot #5 – 1:30 pm to 2:15 pm
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 2:15 pm to 2:30 pm
  • Slot #6 – 2:30 pm to 3:15 pm
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 3:15 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Slot #7 – 3:30 pm to 4:15 pm
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 4:15 pm to 4:30 pm
  • Slot #8 – 4:30 pm to 5:15 pm
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 5:15 pm to 5:30 pm
  • Slot #9 – 5:30 pm to 6:15 pm
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 6:15 pm to 6:30 pm
  • Slot #10 – 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm
  • Exchange Loft Closed for cleaning – 7:15 pm to 7:30 pm
  • Slot #11 – 7:30 pm to 8:15 pm
  • Exchange Loft Closes until 9:30 am the next day (Monday to Saturday)

Saturday only has slots #1 to #7 in accordance with building hours.

The following is the process for visitors to access the Exchange Loft computers:

  • A visitor reserves a slot on a computer before 8:30 pm the day before, either by phone or in person at Reception.
    • A person may reserve no more than three (3) slots in a single day
    • This limit may be revisited and adjusted based on demand
  • The visitor arrives at the appointment time and follows the screening check in procedure in the main floor lobby.
  • Visitors are checked against the reservation list then allowed to proceed to the third floor by the north stairs or (one at a time) by elevator
  • Visitors without a reserved slot may sign up on a “Stand By” list (first-come-first served) in the main floor lobby and will be asked to wait outside.
    • Any unreserved slots are filled from the “Stand By” list
    • Reservations will be held for 10 minutes, then computers reserved by “no shows” will be offered to other visitors on the “Stand By” list
    • The person on the Stand By list must be nearby when their name is called out, or the next name on the list will be called
  • Visitors must remain at the computer stations throughout their appointment slot
    • Visitors needing the washroom must use the facilities on the third floor or basement only.  There will not be a corresponding extension of time in the appointment
    • Face masks must be worn at all times
    • There will be no consumption of food or drink at the computers
    • Visitors requiring assistance may approach the reception desk if no other visitor is being served
  • Exchange Loft users will be given a five minute warning then told when the Exchange Loft is closing for cleaning.
  • Visitors will leave down the south stairs (or one at a time by elevator, if there are mobility concerns)
  • Visitors may re-enter without a reservation if space permits due to vacancies
    • Visitors must go around to the main lobby and have themselves added to the “Stand By” list in person

For the initial week of reopening the Exchange Loft, entry will be entirely on a first-come-first-served drop-in basis.  The drop-in will give time to inform users about the new process and reservation system.

Non-Computer Services

The Exchange Loft offers services that do not involve the computers.  These uses include the fax service, document scanning, photocopying, and public telephone. These uses do not require reservations in advance and may be accessed on a first-come-first-served basis, following the process outlined below.

  • The visitor wishing to use one of the services follows the check in procedure in the main floor lobby.   The staff person performing the screening checks in with the reception desk to determine capacity.
    • Because the person will not be in the Exchange Loft, they will not be counted as part of the four person limit.  However, reception will only serve one person at a time.
  • The visitor will be invited to approach the reception desk to be served.
  • The visitor will provide documents and instructions regarding the documents then will wait in the hallway until called back to retrieve the documents.
    • Instructions may include:
      • Number of copies, single or double-sided, etc. (all photocopies paid in advance);
      • Scan to be sent to email address or saved on provided flash drive;
      • Phone number for the fax to be sent.
  • Paper and pen will be available for writing out instructions.
  • Once the service has been completed and the documents returned, the visitor must leave the building as soon as possible.
  • Printing (i.e., making copies using an electronic file, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) can only be arranged through reserving use of the computers in the Exchange Loft.  Staff will not print documents provided electronically.
  • The visitor wishing to use the public phone will be permitted entry if there is no one else using the phone.
    • The visitor must check in with reception when arriving and check out and leave immediately when done with the phone.
    • The phone will be cleaned with sanitizing wipes after each use.
  • These services are only available during the Exchange Loft’s operating hours and not during the hourly cleaning periods.

Individuals who say that they are unable to wear a mask

The Centre’s priority is to protect the health and safety of staff and visitors, which is why the Centre and the City of Toronto’s by-law dictates that masks must be worn in indoor spaces.

Understanding that some individuals who are unable to wear face masks might wish to access services, the Centre will try balanced these conflicting interests.

  • The 7:30 pm to 7:45 pm slot on Fridays only will be designated as a period when those who are unable to wear a face mask will be permitted to enter the Exchange Loft and access the computer services
  • Reservations will be taken on a first-come-first-served basis
  • The reservation list will indicate that the visitor is unable to wear a mask

Should no one unable to wear a mask reserve computer space by 8:30 pm Thursday, then the entire 7:30 pm slot reverts back to regular users wearing face masks.