Transforming 310km of Toronto's Underused Space with Laneway Housing

Friday Jul 26th, 2019


New city regulations allow many homeowners to build rental suites in place of garages.

The City of Toronto defines laneway suites as residential units that must have their own kitchens and bathrooms and be on the same lot as a house. By permitting homeowners to build these units, the city is hoping to add much-needed housing stock to the rental market. It currently has more than 300 km of laneways and 47,000 residential properties that abutt them. 

In Vancouver, the city has allowed laneway suites for 10 years, and has approved nearly 4,000 applications, including 750 in 2018 alone.

Toronto are buying in. In the past year, the city said it has issued 12 permits and is reviewing 25 other applications. More than 130 applications are in the early stages of the process. 

For the homeowner, a laneway home can be a source of rental income or living space for extended family; for neighbourhoods, having homes facing onto laneways can improve safety and inject beauty and vibrancy. Laneway housing increases density in a non-intrusive way, enabling more efficient use of infrastructure.


Samantha Beattie with Huffington Post,

David Wilkes, BILD President & CEO,

Rene Johnston with The Toronto Star (photo cred)

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