Toronto, the dynamic and rapidly growing city, continues to attract newcomers seeking opportunities and a vibrant urban lifestyle. With an estimated 700,000 new residents expected by 2051, it is crucial to address the housing needs of both current and future Torontonians. To cater to the diverse household sizes and compositions across the city, Toronto must offer a range of housing options. Unfortunately, while the housing market has seen substantial growth in mid- and high-rise apartment buildings concentrated in densely populated areas, the supply of low-rise housing, particularly multiplexes, has lagged behind demand. However, a recent development suggests positive changes on the horizon.
Toronto recognizes the importance of providing housing options that cater to the needs of its residents while fostering complete, inclusive, and sustainable communities. Multiplexes, low-rise buildings consisting of two, three, or four units, have emerged as a potential solution. These dwellings not only support the city’s climate goals by encouraging alternative modes of transportation but also contribute to the efficient use of urbanized land, thus preserving the regional greenspace system.
Multiplexes offer a flexible housing option that can accommodate various household structures, including families, large households, and individuals who prefer ground-related living. Additionally, they provide opportunities for aging in place, creating housing for extended family members, or generating additional income to cover mortgage costs. By granting as-of-right zoning permissions, Toronto aims to streamline the development process, allowing property owners to obtain building permits without the need for extensive planning approvals, ultimately expediting the delivery of these housing units.
To address the scarcity of low-rise housing and expand housing options, Toronto City Council has adopted staff recommendations. The proposed changes include an Official Plan Amendment that permits duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in residential areas throughout the city, and a Zoning By-law Amendment that implements these permissions across all residential zones. The amendments aim to strike a balance between increasing housing supply and maintaining the distinctive character and landscape amenities of low-rise neighborhoods.
The adoption of multiplexes as a housing option is part of Toronto’s broader 2023 Housing Action Plan. This plan seeks to foster sustainable communities that provide critical infrastructure and accommodate the city’s growth. By diversifying the housing market, Toronto aims to stabilize declining populations in low-rise neighborhoods, optimize existing infrastructure, and support local businesses and services.
The proposed changes were developed through extensive public consultation and feedback. Toronto’s commitment to inclusivity and transparency has ensured that the voices of residents were heard, and the amendments take into account the concerns and aspirations of the community.
Toronto’s decision to permit multiplexes city-wide marks a significant step towards providing housing options that align with the needs and preferences of its growing population. By implementing the recommended changes, the city aims to balance the demands of housing supply, promote sustainable growth, and create a more equitable and inclusive urban landscape.
As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto continues to thrive as a global leader in various fields. With its dedication to innovation, culture, and inclusivity, the city strives to maintain its status as a diverse and livable metropolis that meets the needs of its residents and creates opportunities for all.
Toronto’s adoption of multiplexes as a housing option demonstrates a proactive approach to addressing the city’s housing challenges. By permitting duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes in all neighborhoods, Toronto aims to diversify its housing stock, increase supply, and create complete communities that reflect the needs and aspirations of its residents. As the city evolves, it continues to set an example for others, striving to become a more sustainable, inclusive, and livable city for all. For more news about the City of Toronto, please visit: https://www.toronto.ca/news/
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May 10, 2023 Release by The City of Toronto: Toronto City Council adopts multiplex study report recommending policy and zoning changes to permit more housing options city-wide
April 13, 2023 The City of Toronto: The full Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods: Multiplex Study – Final Report