For all the buzz about co-housing, precious little of it seems to be going on, especially in Toronto. B.C. looks like the current capital of co-housing. According to a 2015 news article, “B.C. has 23 communities forming or already established co-housing neighbourhoods.”
In fact Margaret Critchlow, frequently cited as a pioneer in these areas, forsook Toronto for Sooke, B.C. (see what I did there?).
In Ontario there are various developments in smaller centers, like Bracebridge, Minden or Barrie, outside the GTHA. But here in the city (excluding special-purpose developments like assisted living homes) we’ve so far discovered only three (or maybe four) — and only one of them actually exists.
- Beverley House is closest to the model we’re proposing, in which a number of people share a single home. They describe themselves as “a group of people who view living in a community as something more than just being room-mates. We are looking for people – families or individuals who share our vision of co-creating a sustainable community home together.”
- Canopy Cohousing bills itself as “Toronto’s first cohousing community,” but it isn’t — yet. The members are aiming to create a neighbourhood in the classic cohousing mode, with separate residences sharing some common facilities. “We have been meeting as a whole group and in committees since April 2009. …Our plan is to build or renovate about 2 dozen units, where each family will have its own home (including kitchen, and everything you would expect in a house). We will also build a common house with a shared kitchen, dining room, and other facilities. We plan to share meals on a regular basis.” Full marks for persistence, but it’s a little sobering to consider that seven years on, Canopy is still in the planning stages.
- Similarly, the Toronto Baba Yaga Intentional Community announced its plans with much fanfare in 2013 but has not yet managed to establish a residence. So it’s a tough road.
- People come and go at Delicious Earth, a vegan and spiritually-centred communal living house near Dufferin Grove.
Whole Village, in Caledon, north west of Toronto, offers a more rural version of the cohousing concept, along with a seasonal B&B.
There’s also an innovative cohousing community in Ottawa, Terra Firma, unusual for the way it re-purposed existing structures.
It began with two, 1920s row houses of three units each. Later, the two original row houses were joined together by a new addition, providing a seventh unit plus common space. (Thanks to Robert Coelho’s master’s thesis for the photo and description.)
Are there others? If you know of another Toronto co-housing community, please add it in a comment.