Item - 2022.RA32.5

Tracking Status

  • This item was considered by CreateTO on June 20, 2022 and was adopted without amendment.

RA32.5 - Integrating a Climate Action Approach to City Real Estate Decisions - Mass Timber Pilot Program

Decision Type:

Board Decision

The Board of Directors of CreateTO:


1. Directed the Chief Executive Officer, CreateTO, in collaboration with the Executive Director, Housing Secretariat; the Executive Director, Environment and Climate; the Chief Building Official and Executive Director; the Fire Chief and General Manager and other City Divisions as required, to:


a. report to the Board of Directors of CreateTO on the progress of the Mass Timber Affordable Housing Pilot Program in the third quarter of 2022; and


b. report on future City real estate assets suitable for mass timber construction in delivering affordable and market rental housing units based on the outcomes of the Mass Timber Affordable Housing Pilot Program, in the fourth quarter of 2023.


(June 3, 2022) Report from the Chief Executive Officer, CreateTO


As the City's strategic real estate arm in the delivery of city-building outcomes, climate action is at the forefront of CreateTO's thinking in order to advance the City's objectives to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto to net-zero by 2040. In this regard, CreateTO, partnering with various City divisions, has undertaken various actions to advance these objectives; a selection of these intiatives is outlined below:


·   Defining pathways and cost estimates to achieve the various Toronto Green Standard ("TGS") performance levels to inform the Housing Now Initiative's due diligence and business cases.


·   Implementation of a geothermal-based district energy system to provide low carbon heating and cooling to support the development of the City's first near net-zero community at the Bloor-Kipling (Six-Points) area.


·   Application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for funding to support near net-zero design and construction for the site at 150 Queens Wharf Road, which is a current Housing Now and future not-for-profit site.


In addition to the above, CreateTO staff, with the assistance of the City's Environment and Energy Division, identifed a program idea to explore using mass timber construction (such as cross-laminated timber structural materials) to reduce carbon emissions in the delivery of affordable housing. Mass timber, contrary to other structural materials such as steel and concrete, actually encapulates rather than emits carbon which results in a lower carbon development. CreateTO, in partnership with Environment and Energy, approached the Housing Secretariat, City Planning, and Corporate Real Estate Management, to develop a staff team to advance this work program and establish a Pilot Program to advance this approach.


This collaborative work program has resulted in City Council's adoption of a new Pilot Program on May 11, 2022, referred to as the Mass Timber Affordable Housing Pilot Program (the "Pilot Program"). This Pilot Program has the potential to deliver a new scalable affordable and market housing solution that can be developed with the objective of replicating the method across other City-owned sites in the future to support climate action while enhancing the delivery of affordable and market housing in the City.


The Pilot Program has identified two building typologies for further review:


1. Typology 1 - Mid-rise building


·         10-storey building modelled on 1113-1117 Dundas Street West

·         12-storey building modelled on 1627 Danforth Avenue, Parcel A


2. Typology 2 - Tall Building


·         18-storey building modelled on 150 Queens Wharf Road


The selection of the two typologies is based on:


·   Advanced design concepts that support the efficient use of mass timber design while elimanating costly carbon producing materials such as steel and concrete;


·  Opportunity to advance the use of mass timber for mid-rise construction along the City's many  main streets and Avenues;


·   Mid-rise building typologies that are anticipated to comply with upcoming Ontario Building Code (the "OBC") compliance requirements for  mass timber construction (i.e. maximum of 12-storey mid-rise typologies);


·   A tall building typology, up to 18-storeys, that will seek to comply with the OBC compliance requirements for mass timber construction through the "alternative solutions" process, based on other tall tower mass timber precedents and codified building codes (i.e. the International Building Code); and


·   Building typologies that are generally supported by City of Toronto Building and Fire Services, subject to further review. 


The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the Pilot Program objectives and work plan to date with a follow-up report in Q3, 2022 that will report on:


·   Proof of the viability of utilizing mass timber and other low carbon materials for building construction to deliver new mixed-income housing and new affordable rental housing;


·   Construction costs and timing to deliver mass timber and/or near net-zero construction;


·   Potential long term operational savings; and


·  Opportunities to replicate this approach across other City-owned and other sites in the future.


The Pilot Program presents an opportunity to develop a scalable development model with a climate action approach that will add a new tool to the City's affordable housing toolkit, demonstrate the viability of this form of building to the real estate industry and help position the City to move quickly to optimize any future government funding opportunities that may become available.

Background Information

(June 3, 2022) Report from the Chief Executive Officer, CreateTO on Integrating a Climate Action Approach to City Real Estate Decisions - Mass Timber Pilot Program


Motion to Adopt Item moved by Ron Carinci (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at