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Is there a moratorium on parking pads in Toronto?

April 24, 2024
No Parking Sign

Navigating Toronto's Front Yard Parking Pads: A Closer Look at the Moratorium Debate

In the bustling streets of Toronto, finding a parking spot can sometimes feel like a Herculean task. With limited street parking and an ever-growing population, homeowners often turn to creative solutions, one of which is the front yard parking pad or mutual driveway widening. However, the presence of these pads has sparked a contentious debate, leading to questions about their impact on neighborhoods and the environment. At the centre of this discourse lies the question and possibly the reason you are reading this article: Is there a moratorium on front yard parking pads in Toronto? Put another way, is there a ban on parking pads in Toronto?

The Moratorium Debate:

The answer to this question is nuanced. Since 2017, while there isn't a blanket moratorium or ban on front yard parking pads across the entire city, there are stringent regulations and guidelines in place that govern their approval. These regulations aim to balance the needs of residents for convenient parking with the broader concerns of neighbourhood aesthetics, safety, and environmental sustainability. The short answer is though, that there is no moratorium or ban in 60% of Toronto neighbourhoods.

Temporary Freeze and Review Process:

In 2017, the Toronto City Council implemented a temporary freeze on new front yard parking pad applications in certain neighborhoods. This freeze was introduced to allow for a comprehensive review of the city's policies regarding parking pads. During this review, the council sought input from residents, urban planners, and other stakeholders to assess the impact of parking pads on the cityscape.

Balancing Concerns:

One of the primary concerns surrounding front yard parking pads is their effect on the aesthetic appeal of neighborhoods. Critics argue that these pads disrupt the character of residential streets, replacing green space with concrete or asphalt. Moreover, some worry that excessive paving can contribute to urban heat island effects and exacerbate stormwater runoff issues. The stormwater runoff concern is addressed however in the by-law as it now requires permeable pavers to be used for all new parking pads.

Proponents' Perspective:

Proponents of front yard parking pads highlight their practicality in addressing parking shortages, especially in areas where street parking is limited. For homeowners with multiple vehicles or mobility issues, a parking pad can provide much-needed convenience and accessibility. And there is the fact that on some streets, especially ones close to major shopping such as off Bloor Street, adjacent to Danforth Avenue, and Queen Street East in the Beaches, a parking spot on the street is almost impossible to find, and competes with local residents who have street permit parking.

EV Car with Charger

The Role of EVs:

For many today who want to own an electric vehicle (EV), a parking pad is essential for charging. As the adoption of EVs increases, and is now mandated by 2035, the availability of charging infrastructure, including home charging options, becomes crucial. Front yard parking pads can serve as a practical solution for EV owners, enabling them to charge their vehicles conveniently at home.

Regulatory Guidelines:

In response to these competing concerns, the City of Toronto has developed guidelines to regulate the installation of front yard parking pads. These guidelines outline criteria such as minimum setbacks, maximum coverage limits, and landscaping requirements to mitigate the visual impact of parking pads and promote environmental sustainability.


While the temporary freeze on new applications has been lifted in many neighborhoods, the approval process for front yard parking pads remains complex. Applicants must be able to understand the criteria in the by-law, prepare a landscape plan that outlines the location of the parking pad in their front yard, navigate a thorough review process, often including petitioning their neighbours and hiring an experienced contractor to build it according to the City's specifications . Ultimately, finding a balance between the need for parking convenience, neighbourhood aesthetics, and environmental sustainability will be essential in shaping the future of Toronto's streetscapes.

Front Yard Parking Pad - Bloor West Village

At Green Apple Landscaping we have specialized in helping those that do want a parking pad or to widen their mutual driveways, for over 30 years now.

We can assess your property to see if it meets the criteria in the by-law, we can then prepare a professional landscape plan, submit an application on your behalf, coach you throughout the permitting process, and then build your new parking pad.

Contact Us to Get Started