693 ossington

People are complaining that a forthcoming Toronto condo isn't big enough

While people in Toronto are usually happy to bemoan the never-ending construction of new condo towers all over the city — often on the grounds of beloved institutions or historic buildings — there is one new proposal that has residents angry for an entirely different reason than usual.

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An early rendering of what the building could look like, from GreenStreet Flats. 

It is true that a proposal for a four-storey residential building at 693-695 Ossington, at Bloor, has gotten its fair share of backlash from locals who would prefer it doesn't come to fruition, due to the fact that it will "tower over the existing two and three storey dwellings in the neighbourhood."

But, even more prevalent is the backlash to that backlash, with many residents saying that the building is too small, if anything, given the city's dire need for more housing — especially affordable housing, dedicated rental housing and housing that fills the void of the "missing middle" between single-family homes and highrises.

No less than a dozen residents have submitted letters of objection to the project (per a tweet from writer and traffic planner Daniel Reynolds) with worries that the low-rise would block out sunlight, impact backyard privacy and contribute to increased density that some feel the neighbourhood cannot handle.

"If approved, this may promote further such developments," one person added in their public missive.

But on socials, Torontonians are calling such complaints instances of blatant NIMBYism, especially for such a bustling downtown location that is right near a TTC subway station (though the strip is currently only detached and semi-detached houses).

"The actual problem is that this building is not big enough. Toronto is approving highrises 20km from the core, walkable to nothing. While this neighbourhood on the doorstep of downtown may now get the gentlest of missing middle," architecture critic Alex Bozikovic noted on Twitter Friday while sharing excerpts from some of the objections.

"This neighborhood, and all the other ones like it along this subway, should be tripling their populations in the next 25 years."

And it seems based on the retweets and comments on the thread that others agree.

Develper GreenStreet Flats, which has a mission to address missing middle rental housing within the GTA, has submitted an application for a minor variance to bylaws for the small complex, which would have 18 rental units plus two more in a laneway suite.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture


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