Ever hear of a garden suite? Neither had I. They’re a new kind of housing the City of Toronto has been looking into and they want our thoughts. Garden suites are dwelling places you can build right in your backyard. Think of them as a glorified pool house you can rent out. They can be a great way to add some value to your property and provide rental income.
As a part of Toronto’s Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhood Initiative, the proposed garden suite project is a part of a larger attempt to open up avenues for a more diverse housing stock. Hopefully, the more the city builds, the easier it will be for people to find an affordable place to live. But it’s more than that, it’s also a part of the conversation on what the city will look like the coming years.
The Pros and Cons
The city is pretty homogenous in its architecture. That said, the Victorian architecture is beautiful, in fact it’s one reason I love Toronto as much as I do. But, the true romantic has to admit that giving people a chance to make a new contribution to the cityscape is exciting. It’s an opportunity to let people put a little of their individuality into the city. For new housing, it stands a chance of being a departure from all the cookie cutter condos.
Critics think that we can’t be too optimistic. Is building more housing really the way to make Toronto a more affordable place to live? Remember, Toronto has more cranes in the sky than any other North American city, tens of thousands of empty condos and thousands of homeless residents. If we could build our way out of the housing crisis, wouldn’t we have done it already? Will creating garden homes, sorry- “garden suites”, be any different than building laneway homes?
Join the Conversation
Above all else, this is a conversation. The public can learn more, ask questions, and provide their input on garden suites by attending a virtual meeting or taking an online survey. The following three identical virtual meetings will be held:
- Tuesday, May 11, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Call-in access code: 133 839 0853
- Wednesday, May 12, 1 to 3 p.m., Call-in access code: 133 604 7460
- Thursday, May 13, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Call-in access code: 133 919 6218
Participants must register in advance to attend one of the virtual meetings. To register, visit the “Meetings & Events” section at www.toronto.ca/gardensuites. The public can also attend these meetings by phone by calling 416-915-6530 and using the call-in access code for one of the meetings.