thornbury acres

Toronto developer is planning Ontario's first farm that's just like a condo

If your bank-breaking rent costs, unconscionably high grocery bills and generally unaffordable life in Toronto has you questioning whether staying in the city is worth it, a local firm has a unique new development in the works that promises vastly different, more simple and far cheaper living just two hours away near Collingwood.

Thornbury Acres is set to be the first community of its kind in Ontario, offering residents the chance to try out a completely new (or really, older) way of life — that is, the cooperative farming life — without the usual capital, work and level of risk involved.

Toronto-based developer Castlepoint Numa launched the project in the wake of the health crisis after many people's perspectives shifted and lifestyle goals changed.

"People are educating themselves and making more informed decisions when it comes to the foods they eat, where they come from and how they're produced," the company writes.

"The pandemic spurred a significant increase in home gardening and homesteading as people began growing their own vegetables and became less dependent on the globalized agri-food supply chain and resilient against rising prices at grocery stores."

Ongoing spikes in food prices is something that all Canadians can relate to, especially in Toronto, where it seems that shoppers are coming across all sorts of newly-overpriced household staples (and complaining about it) every day, even at supermarkets known for being budget-friendly.

The "elevated residential farm cooperative" of Thornbury Acres will allow owners to learn homesteading skills and grow their own produce, with a dedicated 800 square-foot plot for each household, supported and maintained by the entire community.

Communal field crop zones, berry plots, orchards and food forests for growing corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, nuts and all sorts of fruit will be used to feed members, and also for additional revenue generation through sale, events and "agri-tourism activities" such as corn mazes and consumer picking.

Beehives and pollinator and herb gardens will also be on the nearly 100 acres of land dedicated to farming and recreation, along with a barn, windmill and 7.1 km of trails.

Around 60 acres of the land (40 per cent), will be taken up by country roadways and homes, of which there will be 37 in total.

The residential development will operate in the same way your downtown Toronto condo does, with a governing board and shared responsibility among owners for maintenance of the property — as well as for the farming of the food grown on it.

If you could see yourself escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, being a farmer and living off the land, then being a part of the province's first residential farm cooperative may be something for you to consider. And if you absolutely hate it, you could at least use it to launch yourself to TikTok stardom like so many others have.

Lead photo by

Thornbury Acres

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