Earlier today, Toronto City Council voted 19-5 in favor of the new garden suite policies. This is great news, and something that I have been writing about since our laneway suite policies were first introduced and later expanded across the city in 2018-2019.
The simplest way of thinking about this new housing type is that they’re like laneway suites, except now the permissions have been expanded to include all of the properties that don’t have access to a lane. In other words, they are backyard cottages (also known as accessory dwelling units).
Not every property is going to be suitable for a garden suite, but these new policies do apply to all low-rise “Neighbourhoods” of Toronto. So this is yet another important milestone for what is ultimately a broader look at housing supply in our low-rise communities. Next on deck is likely to be more multi-unit dwellings.
If you’re interested in building a garden suite and would like to connect with an accomplished architect, I am most certainly not your best resource. I would recommend Gabriel Fain (the architect behind Mackay Laneway House) or Craig Race (an important pioneer/entrepreneur in this space).