An Opportunity To Build One Or More Units On Holborne Avenue, East York, Toronto

Architecture, Design, Real Estate


Welcome to the Urbaneer blog on housing, culture, and design! I’m Steve Fudge and I’m celebrating my 31st year as a realtor and property consultant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Urbaneer Team recently brought to market a 100-year-old bungalow located near Coxwell & Mortimer in East York where our Listing Title says it all:  Refurbish A Quaint Cottage + Add A Garden Suite – Or – Build To Suit On A 30.8′ x  102.5′ Foot Lot In Danforth Village. NOW SOLD.

Listed for the first time since it was constructed by the family in 1922, 5 Holborne is well-situated on the preferred south side of a quiet avenue that does not directly intersect with Coxwell Avenue, which means traffic is predominantly local and limited. And yet, it is lickety-split commuter-friendly by foot, bike, or public transportation being just one block east of Coxwell Avenue (and the East York Civic Centre), two blocks north of Mortimer Avenue (and Michael Garron Hospital), and two blocks south of Cosburn Avenue (and East York Collegiate). The property comprises a 2 bedroom bungalow of just over 700 square feet with a small shed and private drive situated on a generous lot with dimensions of approximately 30.8 x 102.5 feet according to Land Registry records.

The property has now been SOLD to one lucky buyer! What follows is our assessment of the potential of the property, and what one might choose to do with it.



As an urban historian, I’m fascinated with the life cycle of housing and the evolution of neighbourhoods, particularly as they’re shaped by the fashions and forces of a free market and constrained by the materiality and utility of their built form. And as a Toronto realtor celebrating 31 years in a dynamic occupation, I also revel in my front-row seat witnessing the City of Neighbourhoods transform from a provincial industrial port city in decline into a glittering post-modern metropolis expanding into its digital future. And given we’re in the early days of new economies, Toronto’s rebirth is in its infancy.

I recently posted The History Of East York & Toronto Real Estate – Featuring Holborne Avenue! which takes the very block of dwellings our listing is located on to illustrate how the vernacular of our built environments have changed in size and appearance over the span of 100 years.  In that piece, I demonstrate how 40% of the residences on this particular block are less than 30 years old, and how 25% of that total were constructed within the last 6 years. In my opinion, this represents how once early-suburb locations are now highly-coveted neighbourhoods that are undergoing a new lifecycle and, because of this, it stands to reason that the future of this property includes the construction of a new dwelling.




An As Of Right New Residence

On this site, a Buyer has the as-of-rights to build a new dwelling that must be setback 1 metre from the side yard property line (meaning a new dwelling could be built about 25 feet wide), be no taller than 8.5 meters above grade (that’s nearly 28 feet tall) and does not exceed 55 feet in length. This means you could construct as-of-right a residence having 1896 square feet over 3 floors plus a full basement. This could have more than one unit too.

Alternatively, in consideration of city bylaws, someone wanting a new home to age in place on one level could build a ‘bungaloft’ of about 1375 square feet with front pad parking.

And if you were flexible in your size requirements, you could also add an as-of-right Garden Suite:




A New Executive Residence With Committee Of Adjustment Approvals

It is feasible one could go to the Committee of Adjustment and apply for minor variance approvals to construct a residence totaling 3160 square feet above grade plus a lower level. This could translate into 4 floors of 1050 square feet each.

The City bylaws state dwellings should be no longer than 55 feet long and 27 feet tall. Following these mandates, one could construct a dwelling 19 feet wide and retain the existing private driveway to run along the east side of the dwelling, if required.

We’ve long recommended that the highest and best use of any site is one where the property is an ‘accordion dwelling’, meaning that it could be used as a Single Family Dwelling, or by locking doors it could instantly become multi-units with accessible onsite laundry (or in each suite). The permutations and possibilities are staggering!

We know this premium parcel of land (in particular the width) is an attractive opportunity for a small-scale builder to construct a custom residence for an end user seeking this desirable neighbourhood.



The site’s highest and best use can be obtained with minor variance approvals thru the Committee of Adjustment which will typically grant approvals to construct a dwelling comprising, 1 times coverage above grade. Steve is well-versed in Navigating The Committee Of Adjustment, so if you’d like to have a conversation about this, please don’t hesitate to connect with him (

Furthermore, this is an Estate Sale undergoing probate. The Executors agree to allow the Buyer to act as their representative in making an application to the City of Toronto Committee of Adjustment or Building Department for the purposes of applications, approvals and/or permits, providing the Buyer incurs all expenses associated with this.


While the property is now sold, please don’t hesitate to contact either (416-845-9905) or (647-388-1357) with questions!




If you enjoyed this blog, you may find these of interest too:


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Understanding Party Wall Agreements In The City Of Toronto

Dear Urbaneer: Should I Renovate My House In Stages Or Do A Full Gut?

Dear Urbaneer: What Architectural Design Features Elevate The Value Of Toronto Real Estate?

On The History – And Popularity – Of The Open Concept Space Plan

Dear Urbaneer: How Can I Make My Outdoor Space More Eco-Friendly?



Looking for the services of an on-trend well-informed experienced realtor who has been a consistent Top Producer for 3 decades?

We’d love to introduce your services to you.

Serving first and second-time Buyers, relocations, renovators, and those building their long-term property portfolios, our mandate is to help clients choose the property which will realize the highest future return on their investment while ensuring the property best serves their practical needs and their dream of “Home” during their ownership.

Are you considering selling? We welcome providing you with a comprehensive assessment free of charge, including determining your Buyer profile, ways to optimize your return on investment, and tailoring the listing process to suit your circumstance. Check out How Urbaneer’s Custom Marketing Program Sold This Handsome Edwardian Residence In East York to learn more about what we do!

Consider letting Urbaneer guide you through your Buying or Selling process, without pressure, or hassle.

We are here to help!




Thanks for reading!


-The Urbaneer Team

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-800


– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –

Celebrating Thirty-One Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor


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*Love Canadian Housing? Check out Steve’s University Student Mentorship site called Canadian Real Estate, Housing & Home which focuses on architecture, landscape, design, products, and real estate in Canada!


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