Toronto is experiencing a housing renaissance. When we began advocating for laneway suites in 2015, laneway houses were only accessible to people with a lot of money and expertise. Today, they are an as-of-right policy with incentives to benefit everyday homeowners. As a result, thousands of laneway suites will be constructed in the coming decades, providing housing flexibility for multi-generational families and income opportunities for new buyers trying to enter the market.
The momentum created by the laneway suite policy has been incredible. Today, city staff and councillors are embracing alternative forms of housing. Under the leadership of Councillors Bailao and Bradford, the Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods program is implementing new and revamped policies for a wide variety of small-scale and midrise housing in neighbourhoods across Toronto— including a garden suites policy.
Where the laneway suite policy affects tens of thousands of properties, mostly in the centre of the city of Toronto, a garden suites policy has the potential to benefit hundreds of thousands of properties in all parts of the city, including the periphery.
Here at Lanescape, we are using our online survey to collect insight into the sensitivities of the public, with the ultimate goal of crafting a report that includes a set of guiding principles and a theoretical policy. We aim to deliver this early enough to inform the creation of the garden suites policy within city hall.
The city is doing a great job of outreach with the public and professionals (still in progress and proceeding over the next few months.) However, we believe that the laneway policy has been successful because the public had such engaged authorship in its creation. Public leadership allowed the laneway policy to be both sensitive AND effective, which is a goal we have for garden suites as well.
Laneway and garden suite policies are enabling everyday homeowners to become a guiding force in our city’s sustainable growth – as well as its beneficiaries.
Help us project a common public voice by completing our online survey. All respondents will receive an advanced copy of our report and have the opportunity to opt-in to notifications for public meetings to continue engaging with policy makers.