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Garden suites were supposed to add to Toronto’s housing density. Just 6 were built in the last 2 years

The small, secondary residences are being promoted at the National Home Show


CBC News:

Garden suites were supposed to increase housing density in Toronto, but city data shows people aren’t building them.

Toronto amended zoning two years ago to allow garden suites on most residential properties. The idea was to increase housing options in a city with little space to build.

But the city says just six have been built since the change.

The city defines a garden suite as “an additional self-contained living accommodation, usually located in the rear yard, but not on a public lane, separate or detached from the main house.” Essentially, the suites are like large, renovated sheds that homeowners can build on their properties as secondary dwellings to live in or rent out.

And while uptake has been low, vendors at the National Home Show say demand for the small, shed-like residences is growing, with some showcasing them for the first time.

Maria Perketa, who co-designed a model garden suite for this year’s show in downtown Toronto, says they can be used as homes for a variety of situations.

“It could be for rental income, it could be for parents aging in place, or it could be for growing children who, at this point in time, with the cost of living, can’t afford to purchase,” she said. “But it creates that independence.”

“The way we live is changing and evolving, and we are running out of space,” she said. “So by having garden lots and laneway suites, it’s capturing untapped spaces.”

In a report last month, city staff found that in the first two years since city hall’s amendments, there have been 244 applications from homeowners to build garden suites. As of November 2023, 97 permits have been issued, 57 suites are under construction and a grand total of six garden suites have been built.

OUR NOTE: We actually have tracked 379 applications so far at City Hall, HERE.

But if the national home show is any indication, the housing industry is looking to make garden suites more common.

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