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The Globe and Mail

Laneway housing on the verge of a Toronto revival

A major shakeup to laneway life is coming. Vancouver and Ottawa are already all shook up. Other cities, such as Regina, are creating a legal framework for it right now.

Toronto architects and creative thinkers have been pushing for a shakeup for years, but a 2006 report requested by then-councillor Adam Giambrone pretty much killed laneway life by placing an almost impossible set of conditions on permitting. But now, with the province of Ontario also pushing – as of 2011 the Planning Act “requires municipalities to authorize second units …within dwellings or within structures accessory to dwellings (such as above laneway garages)” – it’s no longer an if but a when. This, no doubt, will make some joyous and others trepidatious.

But the latter are not powerless. This time, we all get a say as to how laneway housing will work, and even how it might look.

Really. Go to and take the survey. And after that quick-and-painless five minutes, silently thank a new group calling itself Lanescape, since, by partnering with both the City of Toronto and non-profit sustainability champions Evergreen, it seems as if this time things will be different.

“What works in Toronto might not work in some of these other jurisdictions where they’ve pa

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