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Laneway Housing and Garden Suites

I admit I was too lazy to check back through the thread... so forgive any duplicates. A few I like including some posted by @Ward8 somewhere:










Cute laneway celebrity spotting story from 20 years ago:

My wife and I were living on Aberdeen Avenue (north of Carlton, just west of Parliament) in our brand-new, glorious 4 storey faux Victorian/loft-style home with a little garden out front (surrounded by a wrought iron fence of course)... that also had a huge roof-top (5th floor) garden terrace 40 feet long above the tree canopy, with SW views of the entire downtown skyline.

But I digress. The story: I was sitting out front in my little garden one sunny Saturday when a woman (40-ish) and a teenage girl in sunglasses and a hoodie were standing next door looking at the unit next to us that was up for sale. The woman asked me who the realtor because they were interested in having a look. I gave her the realtor's number but no answer so they were visibly disappointed.

I said "You can have a look my place if you like... the lay-outs are pretty much identical". So I gave the woman and the shy teenager the full tour all the way up to the rooftop garden. When the tour ended (they loved it), we chatted a while outside my front door as 4 tweens walked by, stopped, gasped open-mouthed ... and then inched by us walking backwards in disbelief.

Then I had my "aha" moment. The shy teenager removed her sunglasses and with a wistful smile said "it happens... a lot".

The Laneway Story - finally getting to the point: so Avril Lavigne and her Mom eventually checked out the place next door but the "Skater Girl" decided instead to buy a laneway home a block east (appropriately on "Broadcast Lane" I believe).

The Lavignes were aiming for max privacy I guess... but despite the incognito clothing choices, she was easily spotted wandering around the nabe by every single Cabbagetown tween worth their salt. Then she met Chad and moved to L.A. FIN

Guess this was a 📖 rather than a story.
So I know small scale laneway housing has been on the rise in Toronto, but I am curious if there has been any discussion or movement towards laneway apartment buildings?

I am thinking the typology usually found in Japan, Korea, Latin America, and South America as per the example below: (this example is obviously quite dramatic, but I'm picturing something more in the range of 4-6 stories)


project details here

I think that these types of building could really be the perfect compromise for much of Toronto's victorian, heritage protected inner city. Many of these buildings are no wider than many of the garage plots behind most victorian stand alone structures in the inner city.

I understand that overly cautious building codes in Canada might be the culprit here. These examples from East Asia and South America are built with single egress allowing for impressively large units even on small plots of land. And there are groups in Canada advocating for a change to codes to make construction of single egress buildings legal; namely The Second Egress: A Wicked Problem

My point here is so much of Toronto's current fabric has no possiblity of being densified except along major arterials. The compromise that these buildings could achieve is that historical buildings are preserved in exchange for as-of-right zoning of backyards and laneways for apartment buildings of modest height. Even just allowing 4-6 stories in places like Little Italy, Chinatown, Parkdale, etc would relieve serious pressure on the housing market.

Just a casual stroll through laneways in areas off Dundas W you can see property widths that would be able to sustain buildings like this:

And thats without even considering many of the properties that are consilidated into wider plots that could host even bigger buildings.

Obviously these areas are NIMBY hotbeds (Parkdale, Kensington Market residents would lose their minds to say the least), but surely we cannot afford to let these neighbourhoods remain locked in time forever.

Anyways I am more so just using this thread as a place to collect my thoughts and frustrations on this matter as it seems like an absolute no brainer to me. Single family laneway houses are nice but more appropriate for Markham and Missisauga in the context of our current crisis. Toronto needs to do better.

I'm curious if anyone has any other thoughts or even groups and individuals that advocating for laneway mid-rise apartments.