This ‘tiny town’ may be a solution to the housing crisis in Toronto

Organizations working to build more like it across the province

Tiny Houses on east end street
Tiny homes on Craven Road in the east end may be a model for future communities. (Irene Braithwaite/Toronto Observer)  

In Toronto’s east end, a street-long neighbourhood, known as “Tiny Town,” may offer an innovative way to save space for more housing in the city.

The average rent in Toronto cost is $1,225 for a bachelor apartment and $1,446 for a one-bedroom apartment, according to a city report. Nine years ago, a similar report showed the average rent for a bachelor apartment was $840 and a one-bedroom apartment was $1,010.

Between Coxwell Avenue and Gerrard Street East, the Craven Road neighourhood is home to some of the city’s tiniest houses. The streets consist of fully detached, primarily single-storey houses, and a large wooden fence that sits across the one-way street.

The Tiny Town Association is working to expand these tiny home communities, and to utilize these housing designs to address the housing crisis. The association has a budget of $305 million for its initial project, which involves building 1,152 tiny homes in the six existing tiny home neighbourhoods.

Tiny homes on Craven Road
Several organizations are seeking to build more homes like those on an east end street.

Based in Kingston, Ontario the association focuses on constructing small homes to create more affordable and sustainable housing options in the province. The association’s founder and director Ed Peterson said he believes the main goal of the Tiny Town Association is to create communities for owners of tiny home.

“The main mission of the Tiny Town Association is to develop places where tiny homeowners can legally live,” Peterson said in an email interview. “This includes supporting tiny homes as secondary suites, pocket communities of tiny homes in urban settings and the development of semi-rural acreages where off-grid, sustainable, affordable tiny home communities can be built.”

Peterson said that the creation of tiny home communities can be a strategy to generate housing that is less expensive and sensible for home owners, even though they may not be the perfect option.

“While tiny homes may not be the most economical form of housing per square foot cost, because of their small square footprint, they are less expensive than traditional housing,” he said.

Sustainable option for buyers

In addition to being less expensive to build, tiny homes can also house more people, since the building process is quicker.

“More people can be accommodated because tiny homes can be completed faster, meaning more people can be housed within the same build time,” Peterson said.

Peterson said tiny towns are not necessarily going to replace traditional home designs, but they provide a sustainable option for those looking into alternative styles of housing.

“Tiny homes don’t compete with traditional housing but provide a stepping stone into and out of traditional housing,” he said. “They are a complementary housing option that is missing in today’s housing choices.”

Another Ontario company, known as Tiny Footprint Homes based in Vanastra, Ontario, also builds small homes. Founders Paul Arts and Josh Batkin say the tiny housing market can be quicker for buyers than the traditional market.

“We feel that if we can continue down this path with affordability, we will be able to put people in homes a lot sooner than if they were to enter the traditional housing market,” they said.

Arts and Batkin aim to use their tiny home company to create more suitable housing options for those who are struggling to afford traditional-size homes.

“Our goals are simple, we want to create a solution for affordable housing in Canada. We want people who have worked or are working their tails off to be able to build something for themselves,” they said.

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Posted: Apr 6 2022 2:08 pm
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