Sat Toronto Star article on the use of laneways

Regular readers of this blog may remember the author of this post drones on about the loss of a laneway everytime the city sells one of to some private concern. They many sell a laneway to a condo developer or to a abutting homeowner.

Laneways should never be sold as they themselves are abutted by the rear of many buildings that could be used to create a second front to the high street buildings, and cause te laneways to be become much more integrated into the city.

Today the Toronto Star has a article on just this idea click here to vist the article at the Toronto Star site


According to Toronto architect Brigitte Shim, laneways represent one of the great untapped resources of the city. In the mid-1990s, she and a group of graduate students at the University of Toronto undertook an in-depth study of Toronto’s laneways. As the report pointed out, there are more than 2,400 in the city, which gives an idea of the impact they could have if development were allowed. One estimate concludes local laneways have enough space for upwards of 6,000 housing units.

And as Shim says, the advantage of laneway housing is that it can be plugged into the existing infrastructure. At a time when less is more, the idea has never made more sense.

In Cabbagetown, an intact 19th-century neighbourhood that boasts some of Toronto’s most appealing alleyways, the process of integration is well under way. They are an essential element in the 19th-century area, built into the very fabric of the district.

Toronto has a huge number of lanes where people live and work. And except for the fact that city planning policies are designed to keep residents away, the back roads of Toronto could be home to thousands.


Brigitte Shim is the owner of the land behind my house, nothing like a little propaganda to help facilitate your projects and line your pockets. None of my neighbours think this is a good idea. As someone pointed out in the comment section of the Star's article, why does this never seem to happen in the Bridle path area, of for that matter any affluent area of town.

Does the Bridle Path even have laneways? Cabbagetown is very affluent and has a lot of potential. A few have already gone up in the Annex. That's part of the allure of laneway housing: new and potentially affordable options in a desirable neighbourhood. Obviously there have to be laneways, which excludes neighbourhoods.

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