Toronto is the largest city in Canada, with almost a quarter of the country’s whole population. This provincial capital of Ontario is one of the most cosmopolitan and multi-culturally diverse city in the world, also a business, arts and culture hub of Canada. Toronto is home to many multinational corporation offices, galleries and museum, and some of the largest events in Canada. The downtown area has a beautiful skyline of high rise buildings, landmarked by the famous CN Tower. You can always find people hustling in this vibrant and lively city. However, the winter is rather cold with some snowy and windy days, which explains the many underground pathways throughout the city. Residential apartments are mainly clustered in downtown, with houses across all of the Greater Toronto Area.
When choosing an architect, it is highly beneficial to look for local professionals who has the knowledge and connections of the specific city. With Toronto’s rather extreme weathers, the choice of materials for architectural projects needs to be well considered and analyzed for its appropriateness for weather conditions. Architects in Toronto will have a better understanding of such considerations.
At the same time, they will also be well educated on the particular legislation and regulation of the Toronto area, in order to ensure that your house is adhering to all rules. The geographical area of Toronto provides the city with a great variety of resources that can be used in architectures, and having a local architect will allow you to take advantage of these.
Local architects will have the resources and contacts to obtain good valued materials, and connections with trusted sub-contractors to assist in finishing the project. If by any chance you need to look for suitable contractors yourself, feel free to browse through the homify Professionals section.
Building an entirely new home will give you the freedom and luxury of creating your dream house, designing and incorporating any features you desire. Building a custom house will also allow you to input ideas and decisions from the conceptual stage all the way to completion. With that, you have certain control over the price of building the house, in which different housing features and qualities will generate different pricing. For example a house with more floor space or an extravagant front door will indeed have a higher cost. Home building costs are generally broken down into two different categories, hard costs and soft costs. Hard costs are the fixed costs including trade contracts, whereas soft costs are indirect costs that can be more flexible.
Building a decently graded custom house in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area will cost around $250 per square foot. Though this is the general average price, you can most likely build a more basic house with $100 to $150 per square foot. However, the price can also easily go up to $400 per square foot with more sophisticated and high end architectural design, features and materials. The prices mentioned above does not cover land costs. Remember to always factor in different considerations and keep in mind your neighbourhood location when setting a budget for your need home. You can always seek consultation when you are unsure.
Just like in any other cities, architectural projects in Toronto will face various restrictions set out by the city to maintain standards, safety and urban planning. Below are some of the regulations that you should know of:
- Building Permit – Obtaining a building permit is one of the of the most important and basic rules to comply to. This is a formal permission to proceed in the construction process or renovation process The application for building permits will include a set of relevant architectural drawings, forms and documents.
- Ontario Building Code - The Ontario Building Code is a regulation set under the Building Code Act, which is a legislative framework that governs the construction and renovation of buildings. The Ontario Building Code promotes a uniform standard that includes area of construction materials, structural sufficiency, plumbing and mechanical systems, health and safety, and fire protection.
- Zoning Bylaw – The zoning bylaw set by the City of Toronto states specific land use and building placements rules on a lot. The bylaw also consists of regulations on building size and density, location of buildings and structures on a lot, as well as minimum lot dimensions, building height and parking requirements.
- Applicable Law – Applicable laws are regulations other than the Ontario Building Code that a architectural project has to satisfy. The relevant applicable law to be applied varies from each project, and a Zoning Certificate is recommended to determine the specific applicable laws. These must all be satisfied before submitting an application for the building permit.
In addition to the regulations mentioned, building houses will also need to comply with the Toronto Property Tax Rate for residentials. The total tax rate for residential as of 2015 is 0.7056% rounded. This includes the city tax rate, education tax rate and transit tax rate.
The architectural scene in Toronto is highly influenced by the city’s history and culture. Toronto has a beautiful mixture of traditional old buildings and contemporary modern architectures, where the two coexists to create a diverse and vibrant city. Many of the old buildings has a Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian form, reflecting architectural design from the British Empire. The dynamic architectures in Toronto includes various industrial, residential, commercial, institutional and cultural structures.
Toronto contains a number of iconic architectural structures, with CN Tower being the top of the list. This tall structure has been a significant element of the Toronto skyline ever since it was completed in 1976, now representing the city as its landmark. The Royal Ontario Museum is a perfect building that illustrates the combination of old and new. Its eastern wing is built in a Neo-Byzantine style made with rusticated stones, while the modern expansion portion, called “The Crystal”, is built with a bold geometric design with glass, aluminum and steel. There are many other incredible architectures that make up the city, including Casa Loma, City Hall, Union Station, Globe & Mail Centre and more.
Located within the Golden Horseshoe, Toronto is presented with many options and resources of materials to choose from, with a particular abundance in brick. This is due to the shale layer that underlies the geographical area, making brick a cheap and widely available material for construction. Toronto weather in the winter can go down to a nasty -20 degree Celsius, and thus architectural materials will need to be resistant to low temperatures and strong winds. To find the best fit of materials, make sure to consult your local architect.