Update: October 9, 2014 Tiny Homes have popped up in several American cities as a new type of housing that is affordable, sustainable and will help to intensify urban areas. With the average home now over $1 million in the City of Toronto and available land at a premium, this type of new infill model needs to be tested in our context.
As a young professional facing limited choice due to high prices, I wanted to bring the Tiny Home movement to the City of Toronto, but faced roadblocks at every turn. Zoning by-laws, parking requirements, fire codes and a slew other regulations currently make it illegal to build a tiny home within Toronto.
Evergreen CityWorks and other partners worked with me to try and overcome these barriers. By building a Tiny Home on a trailer at Evergreen Brick Works we were hoping that this pilot project could raise awareness among policy makers and the public about alternative housing choices.
After planning and getting the necessary approvals, construction began in September. And then… things went off course. Due to unforeseen design challenges and liability issues associated with moving the home off the property following completion, the project was unable to proceed.
Although the Tiny Home pilot project didn’t manifest in the way I intended, Evergreen CityWorks continues to believe this is a model that needs to be tested. They are now working with new partners on an improved pilot that could be the showcase we are looking for.
Through this process we learned a lot of lessons, which we want to share so that Tiny Homes can find a permanent place north of the border: · New design comes with inherent risks; small building design is complicated and requires specific skills and proper design · Building on a trailer poses unique challenges that are not easily addressed · Liability both while stationary and in motion are difficult to address and costly · Budgeting for a tiny house involves unforeseen costs
Despite these challenges, CityWorks remains committed to seeing this new approach to housing implemented and scaled in Canadian cities. They will continue to keep everyone posted as their new pilot emerges.