Effie Carson is the creator and manager of the popular and informative Facebook group: Laneway and Garden Suites Toronto. The group serves as a resource and a discussion space for anyone interested in the City of Toronto’s initiative to provide additional dwelling units like laneways and garden suites. In this Q&A style blog post, Effie has shared with us some of her insights as to what motivated her to create such space and how the group has positively evolved into a supporting community.
Q: You started the Laneway and Garden Suites Toronto Facebook Group many years ago now.
When did it start, and why did you start it?
A: I went to an information session put on by the City of Toronto and Lanescape in March of 2016.
The other homeowners were anxious to chat with each other. That night, I looked on Facebook
for a group and there wasn’t one, so I decided to start one.
Q: How did you first get interested in laneway houses?
A: We bought a property in Leslieville with an eye to creating intergenerational living for our family.
Aging in place is important to many seniors in a walkable neighbourhood.
Q: Laneway and garden suites have been rapidly evolving since they were conceived in 2018. Has
the group evolved too? It seemed to start as a space for advocates who wanted to support
these new housing policies. Now it is a melting pot of professionals offering design and build
services, homeowners looking for information on how to get started, and a safe space for
people to share horror stories and learn about potential pitfalls. Did you expect that to happen?
A: I definitely hoped that the group would evolve into a place where homeowners and other
stakeholders could share information and stories. It certainly has worked out that way. I find that
the posts where homeowners share pictures and details about their projects are the most
Q: You have been doing a good job keeping the group focused on shared information and
celebrating wins. How did you establish such a positive culture of helpfulness?
A: Early on, I decided to let people share what they wanted while watching out for spam and
annoying self-promotion. I think we have a good balance of information and resources.
Q: In addition to founding this group, you have also become an accomplished professional in the
laneway space. How are you helping people with laneway houses, and where can they reach
A: I do a few things. I spread information through my monthly email newsletter and I am always
trying to spread the idea of maximizing the potential of your real estate to people I encounter.
Recently, I planted the seed with my dental hygienist. I get a kick out of helping people find
solutions to lifestyle challenges which sometimes involves combining households or creating
income from your home.
If you need help finding a suitable property in the GTA, or just want to bounce some ideas off a
real estate professional, drop me a note or call.
Laneway and Garden Suites Toronto – Facebook
Thank you for inviting me to share the story of this grass roots group and for all the groundwork
that Lanescape has done with the City of Toronto, encouraging the bylaw changes.
We encourage you to check out Effie’s Facebook Group – Laneway and Garden Suites Toronto for yourself. With currently 8.9K members, you’ll find the group is a great place to find related information and connect with individuals who are also interested, or have taken on a project themselves. It is also the ideal place to share your project and keep up to date with others around the city!
If you or someone you know is interested in building a laneway or garden suite, please follow this link to receive your complimentary report. Our team will respond with a complete review within a single business day.