The Multiplex study is one component of the City’s Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods (EHON) initiative. This study focuses on permitting multiplexes – residential buildings containing up to four units – across Toronto’s low-rise neighbourhoods. Please see the Study Overview section below for more details.
The Multiplex study is part of the Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods initiative which aims to bring more types of housing to Toronto’s low-rise neighbourhoods. This study proposes to permit multiplexes in all areas designated Neighbourhoods in Toronto’s Official Plan. The proposal supports a more equitable approach to growth in Toronto, extending a more flexible use of residential buildings to residents of all of Toronto’s Neighbourhoods.
For the purposes of this study, we mean housing with 2, 3, or 4 units in a single building. This housing type is also referred to as a duplex, triplex, or fourplex. These homes could be rental or condominium units and they could either be in the form of converted houses or purpose-built as a multiplex.
Toronto is a rapidly growing city which is evolving as it grows. Though the city’s housing stock has been growing along with the population, most of this growth has occurred in high-rise apartments. The Multiplex study is one component of the City’s work to help grow low-rise forms of housing which are greatly needed. To guide this work, the Multiplex team used the following principles to guide the study:
Neighbourhoods for Everyone – quality of life and range of choice for people of all ages and abilities, for diverse, equitable and inclusive communities.
City of Neighbourhoods – recognize the distinctive feel of Toronto’s many neighbourhoods by allowing growth in a built form that fits within their existing scale while adapting to people’s evolving housing needs.
Low-Rise Neighbourhoods – enable opportunities in lower-scale areas to contribute to the variety of built form available across the city.
Green and Livable Neighbourhoods – make efficient use of land and infrastructure while balancing management of tree canopy, soft landscaping and sustainability objectives and providing access to parks, open spaces and natural heritage features.
Facilitate Multiplexes in Neighbourhoods – make it easier to build multiplexes through simplified zoning and approval processes, reducing financial barriers and expanding permissions to more areas across the city.
In many parts of Toronto today, the existing zoning permits large homes, but they are often limited to one or two units. The approach of this study is to allow up to four units in generally the same building size as what is currently permitted. However, the team is studying some zoning changes to make multiplexes more feasible to build.
Thinking Inside the Box: More Units, Same Scale
Existing zoning envelopes permit building volumes that can be better leveraged to house additional units within a low-rise scale.
The Multiplex study has been ongoing since 2020, with public consultation beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022-23.
In October 2021, an online survey was posted which resulted in a strong majority of respondents supporting multiplexes in their neighbourhood.
From February to May 2022, the team held 14 consultation events in a variety of formats to hear from members of the public, including Webex meetings, Twitter Spaces, a Reddit Ask Me Anything, and in person walking tours of existing multiplexes.
Following this consultation, the Multiplex Proposals Report (2022.PH35.3) was adopted by Planning and Housing Committee on July 5, 2022.
Draft Official Plan Amendment (Revised February 2023)
Staff are considering feedback received on the draft policies and will present a final recommended Official Plan Amendment at the April 27, 2023 meeting of Planning and Housing Committee.
Draft Official Plan Amendment (May 2022)
A draft OPA was first released for consultation in May 2022. Comments received on this draft have informed the revisions to the current draft OPA above.
The draft Official Plan Amendment (OPA) will clarify permissions and development criteria for multiplexes in Neighbourhoods. The OPA is proposed to be structured as a Site and Area-Specific Policy (SASP), located in Chapter 7 of the Official Plan. The SASP would apply to all lands within the city that have a Neighbourhoods land use designation, as shown in yellow on Official Plan Maps 13-23.
Ongoing work through the EHON initiative and the Municipal Comprehensive Review may result in future changes to Official Plan policies pertaining to Neighbourhoods. The changes proposed in the draft OPA below are being introduced now to facilitate the creation of multiplexes in the near term.
Staff are considering feedback received on the draft zoning regulations and will present a final recommended Zoning By-law Amendment at the April 27, 2023 meeting of Planning and Housing Committee.
This study has adopted the premise of “Thinking Inside the Box” – which means allowing multiplex building types to be built within roughly the same building envelope that would be permitted for a detached house. The proposed approach to facilitating multiplexes city-wide through zoning is based on including duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes within the RD, RS and RT zones while applying the same built form standards to multiplexes to ensure a consistency of scale.
Key changes proposed in the zoning by-law amendment for multiplexes:
The zoning amendment would not change these standards:
PH29.9 – Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods: Multiplex Study –Interim Report (November 2021)
PH35.3 – Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods: Multiplex Study –Proposals Report (July 2022)
The Multiplex Team engaged a technical assistance panel organized by the Urban Land Institute Toronto to explore the financial feasibility of building multiplexes in Toronto. The panel was made up of professionals with expertise in architecture and design, planning, development, and financing. The panel provided analysis and recommendations to the team which will inform the final recommendations to City Council. View the report.
ReHousing is a research project coordinated at the University of Toronto, Daniels Faculty. The research work is a collaboration between Tuf Lab and LGA Architectural Partners that explores how to convert single-family homes into multi-unit housing. The project uses affordable and common-sense design to compare renovations, additions, and new construction housing options. This project is not affiliated with the Multiplex Team or the City of Toronto, but this research team has produced other modeling which has informed the work of the Multiplex Team. Visit their project website.
The Multiplex Virtual Public Forum dates have now passed. The staff presentation from these sessions is now available, alongside the draft Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment.
Planning and Housing Committee’s consideration of the staff report and amendments will be available to view on YouTube. You may also submit comments or request to speak at the Committee meeting by contacting email@example.com when the meeting agenda has been published.