It Happened! It really happened!!

We had given up. But then, in a way we could never have anticipated, the vision came to life. Check out Oakview Coliving and try not to be jealous (actually, there’s still room for a couple more). Join us on Little Hawk Lake in Algonquin Highlands.

We’re calling it a day.

We gave it our best shot, but it’s not gonna happen. Here’s the story.

Wine on the Porch announces four shares are now available

Four membership shares (single or couple) are now available.  Follow the links to learn more about the membership process.

Please be in touch with us if you have any questions about the membership process.
Ted, Hillary, Mardi and Doug

Wine on the Porch, Inc is an equity co-op in downtown Toronto:

  • for people 50+ to age in place, in community
  • six private bed-sitting and bath suites of 400 to 600 square feet, plus
  • 2500 to 3000 square feet of common space, including large shared kitchen
  • located near Runnymede subway station, High Park and Bloor West Village
  • and wine. You know, on the porch.

Some milestones (from most recent):

October 20-21, 2018, Is Cohousing Your Next Step?

Twenty-nine participants gathered over two days to learn about different models of co-housing. It was a fabulous event by all accounts (including ours).

August, 2018 First draft architectural plans

Our architect has shown us his preliminary design for the renovation of our house into the future Wine on the Porch, and we couldn’t be more excited. He’s managed to retain all the charm of the structure, with its leaded windows and dark wainscoting, while opening it up to light and long views throughout. The heart of the house combines an expansive kitchen and dining room with a cozy sitting area and fireplace, all with a walkout to the treed terrace. Private suites are also spacious and airy. We’ll have two guest suites and a bright new entryway. A green roof and other energy-saving features minimize our environmental footprint. We’ve made some changes (naturally!) and sent it back for a second draft. But we’re already thrilled.

December, 2017 So, uh, we bought a house…

That counts as a milestone, right?

It’s a great house the four of us can live in immediately, and it’s a great house for expanding into our future, six-share co-housing community. Once we get settled, we’ll be inviting interested folks to help with the planning.

August, 2017: Retrenchment and renewal

We’re four again.

Eight of us worked together over many months to define the community that all of us wanted to share. We came very close. Ultimately, two couples felt they could not proceed, leaving the ones who originally began this journey as the only ones remaining… for now.

Our first reaction was ‘we’re back to where we started.’ But of course we’re not. We’ve learned a lot and are better prepared to move forward again.  Here’s more.

November, 2016: the community begins to form

We’ve held two information sessions, late October and mid-November, attended by about 30 people each. Only the first was promoted; the second was made up of people on the wait list. It’s clear there’s a strong demand and we could continue to spread the word much farther… but we think we’ve arrived, sort of.

Five people from the first session have said they want to meet with us regularly and, as we all get to know each other, discern whether this community is right for them. We’ll hear from people in the second session over the next week or so. In the new year we expect to begin meeting  every two weeks with everyone who has expressed a serious interest. This part of the process is kinda like dating.

Ultimately, it’s possible there will be more than six units. We’ll see how the group shapes itself. Maybe it will naturally come back down to six; maybe the co-op will end up having eight or ten units; or maybe there’ll be two houses of six units each. All we know at this point is that we don’t want to find ourselves playing “Survivor” and having to vote anyone off the island.

During the “dating,” as long as we have people representing a minimum of six units, we’re not planning any further information sessions and will not be looking for more potential members. We’re so grateful for everyone who has responded to us and provided encouragement, and we welcome you to keep “looking in” here as our plans evolve.

October, 2016: Now we are six

Delighted to welcome Tom and Deb to the Wine on the Porch Collective. They make up our third “unit,” putting us halfway to our goal of six.

April, 2016: Going public on co-housing

In March, 2016, after several years of casual conversation, four friends began writing a plan for co-housing.

Working on a Toronto co-housing community
Hillary, Ted, Mardi and Doug after a weekend working on their first draft of a co-housing plan, March 2016.

Our goal is to create an interdependent community of people in mid- to later stages of life, aging in place in a shared home, to be located in downtown Toronto.

One of us insists the home must have a front porch; all of us like wine (although one prefers beer). Wine on the Porch is a place to share ideas and grow the community in conversation with others who may have an interest.

At this stage, only a few things are certain (Toronto, co-housing, porch, wine) so the conversation continues.

Feel free to join it. Explore our blog and add your comments.

28 thoughts on “”

  1. For years I’ve been saving any articles I’ve seen about possibilities like this, but as The Time approaches, your concept is nothing short of inspiring. Am on the Waiting List for October 23, so hope to meet you there. Creative options for all!

  2. Such a wonderful idea, you have I think tapped in to something that a lot of people would be interested in. I especially love the concept you are developing and tone you are setting.

      1. This is a development by Solterra Co-housing ( and it has some obvious similarities to our approach, and also some important differences:

        * Solterra builds “supportive housing.” The home includes a staff to shop and prepare meals, among other things.
        * As a result, Solterra is most attractive to people who would have difficulty caring for themselves.

        It’s an important niche among the increasing range of options for senior housing.

  3. Some of my friends and I have been talking about this very thing. Some are building an edifice – there is a famous group in BC doing this…How to accommodate many people…buy or rent the building..cost sharing, etc.many things to think about!

  4. Wow! Ted and Hillary.What a great idea!
    Geoff, Rae and some others talked about this years ago.
    We didn’t follow through and probably should have.
    Good luck and keep it going.

  5. I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea too and talked about it with close friends. In the end we came to the conclusion that mixed age groups can be even more interesting. In my opinion it has a lot more advantages for everybody if you have a nice mix of generations
    Brigitte, Belgium

  6. I have been dreaming of a community existence like this for years and I am only 48!!! I hope in the next 10 years this idea has taken root everywhere!

  7. We have been talking with friends about this very idea. We live in Alberta and likely will for a very long time to come. Are there groups like this already in Alberta? Two things come to mind right now:
    1. I would like to live with friends or at least friends of friends, a community that I choose, people I know that I could live near. But being able to share ideas and plans with the larger community of like-minded people is so valuable (and fun) as we look toward our future. So contact groups near by and larger audience sharing sites like this are so great.
    2. This kind of living also gives new security and ease for travel. We live together in our own spaces and have a community that can watch over the things we leave when we travel to see children, grandchildren or just enjoy other parts of the world/province as we can. This is another bonus.

  8. Thank you for this , for years I have been in discussion with women regarding this.
    * I am wondering has anyone done this in rental situation versus a cooperative purchase option? I know that students in University towns in Ontario co rent, so I see no reason why it would not work for committed retired renters; if you have any information to share it would be greatly appreciated. Wishing you continued success!

    1. This is my feeling exactly…renting takes all the worry out of repairs/ upkeep. I was thinking that a very large estate home in the suburbs, all on one level, would be perfect for 5 ladies to share. There would be garages for those who still drive, a huge kitchen to take turns sharing meal prep, large principle rooms, a garden to fuss or sun in, and bedrooms large enough to serve as a private sitting space when needed.

      Outside chores could be communally covered with an outside contractor, and a bi-monthly cleaning service could be jointly hired to keep the main areas clean.

      Anyone interested in meeting to discuss this possibility in the Toronto area, please contact

      1. Hi Allyson….I am very interested and would love each to be included in any gatherings/discussions.

  9. What an awesome idea! I hope this concept spreads to other geographical areas (for me – the Burlington / Hamilton area). I’d love to see your comments, challenges, and success stories as you tackle specific issues such as building size, retrofit issues, creating and using common areas among many more! I suspect this idea will grow exponentially! I’m thrilled you created this forum to share ideas!

  10. I heard of your absolutely wonderful project on the CBC 99.1 morning radio show. I was quite excited and I went online to find out about your website. Unfortunately your project would be too expensive for me; but with some of the information provided, I will be able to continue to explore if I can join one such senior community. Thank you and the best of luck!

  11. In St. John’s nl there is a group interested in creating a rural cohousing community in st Phillips, and an older collection wishing to stay in urban environment .. getting too old to drive! ‘Cohousing Newfoundland and Labrador. The rural group qualified for planning monies from cmhc this fall

  12. I’m potentially very interested in this concept. I’m now an empty nester in a 4-bedroom house in Richmond Hill; would like to return to Toronto in the next 1 to 3 years.

  13. Hi there,

    Love watching this amazing work develop. I wanted to mention, if folks are looking for academic writing on the subject, one of the champions for Cohousiong in Cansda and foudners of Harbourside in Sooke, BC is Margaret Critchlow Rodman. She has written and prsentation on the model. (Co-caring in senior cohousing: A Canadian model for social sustainability by Margaret Critchlow Rodman) YouTube video of presentation here:

    Exciting stuff!


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