The City of Toronto has initiated a process to develop policies and zoning rules to permit “Garden Suites” to be built city wide in the backyards of homes on lots that are not next to a public lane, subject to a range of criteria to be decided.

A “Garden Suite” is a second, generally smaller, house built in the backyard of a detached, semi-detached, or townhouse property.

The City hopes these new homes will provide affordable rentals and homes for grown children and aging parents. Note that this project is distinct from Laneway Suites of up to two storeys that have been allowed, subject to permit, since 2019 in the backyards of homes on lots that are next to a public lane.

The City has just released a survey to explore your opinions and concerns about new backyard houses in the Casa Loma neighbourhood and other neighbourhoods in the city. The srvey should be submitted by April 30th.

A link to the survey is below.

BEFORE YOU RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, the City has asked us to consider:

  • Would you like to build a small home in your back yard for family or to rent out?
  • Would you like your neighbours to build a small home in their backyard?
  • How high and how large will Garden Suites be?
  • How would a one or two storey building on, or adjacent to, your backyard affect: your garden, your sunshine, your privacy, light intrusion at night or noise from AC and residents?
  • Should short term rentals (such as Airbnb) be allowed?
  • What obligation should there be for a person building a Garden Suite to consult with adjacent neighbours before they build?
  • Where would the residents in Garden Suites park their cars?
  • How will the construction of these new homes affect the tree cover, green space, and water drainage in your neighbourhood?
  • Will emergency access to these new Garden Suites and existing homes be adequate?
  • Will Garden Suites trigger re-evaluations and property tax changes impacting affordability in the long term for property owners who are not interested in constructing a Garden Suite?
  • How many additional units are possible across the City and what effects might these have on the City’s infrastructure such as police and fire services, sewer, water, parks, schools, etc.?


The Garden Suites Survey is the first step in the City collecting information from the public about the opportunities and limitations of Garden Suites in neighbourhoods across the City. By responding to the Survey you can help define the rules and regulations for Garden Suites. We ask all our residents to complete the survey.


Please do so when you can allocate about 20 minutes to complete the survey.

If you would like to be send comments and/or be kept informed by David Driedger, the City’s Lead Planner for the Garden Suites Project, you can be placed on the City’s email distribution list HERE     

UPDATE April 22, 2021

The City is hosting a series of virtual community consultation meetings where you can learn more, ask questions, and share your comments about Garden Suites.

Date: Tuesday May 11, 2021 – Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Date: Wednesday May 12, 2021 – Time: 1 pm – 3 pm

Date: Thursday May 13, 2021 – Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

You can register for the meetings HERE