Demolitions make way for bigger homes in Toronto neighbourhoods

TORONTO – Say goodbye to bungalows in the city.

The trend of demolishing homes is growing and the face of neighbourhoods is changing – whether residents on those streets like it or not.

“Some of the lots are quite large,” Tim Syrianos of RE/MAX Ultimate said. “50-foot lots, 60-foot lots and you have bungalows that are much smaller. So the infill is happening because that footprint could be larger without having to drive to the suburbs.”

Nearly 6,500 permits for home demolitions were issued between 2010 and 2014 for the purpose of building new. The biggest jump in that time was from 933 permits in 2011 to 1,614 permits in 2012.


In many cases, it’s a builder overbidding for a property and creating something new for resale at an even higher price.

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Residents in East York recently went to the city’s Committee of Adjustment with 104 letters opposing plans for 254 Monarch Park Avenue. They temporarily won their battle to keep the existing house from being replaced with two, much larger, separate homes.

The group met with the builder again on Monday night hoping for compromise.

“The building was too tall, too close to its neighbours,” Michael Bulatovich said. “The developer didn’t actually present any new revised design or anything.”

Break down the number of infill houses into Toronto’s community council districts and you’ll find the more space there is, the more likely you’ll find someone tearing down and building new.


North York has seen 3,314 infill houses over five years – more than the rest of the city combined. Etobicoke (1,204), Toronto and East York (977) and Scarborough (965) add up to 3,146 new residential buildings in place of old ones.

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City councillor Josh Matlow raised the issue last fall and requested a planning study for the Davisville area. He’s looking to “address the proliferation of tall replacement homes” after concerns were raised by constituents.

“Far too often we’re seeing developments patch through that are not only poorly designed but are far too modern from a traditional neighbourhood,” he said.

Willowdale ranks highest among Toronto neighbourhoods with 823 permits issued for infill housing since the beginning of 2010.