Floating Homes: A Unique Alternative

If you're willing or looking to swap land for water, a floating home could provide an alternative solution to living in the concrete jungle core or the sameness of cookie-cutter suburbia. Today's homes on the water can be striking examples of design both inside and out. Floating homes in Toronto and Vancouver are not houseboats, instead they're residences constructed sturdily on top of a floating concrete barge and attached to a dock. They do not have motors like houseboats. 

Floating homes are built using the same standard materials used in conventional buildings constructed on terra firma. Many of these water houses have all the modern "must haves" seen in dry land dwellings, including parking (though not on the floating portion of the property!).

Unfortunately the City of Toronto no longer allows the construction of floating homes. However, there are twenty-four legally licensed Toronto Float Homes in Bluffers Park Marina, situated at Bluffer's Park Beach with white sand and safe, clean water for swimming! This community, where every house has its own special name, is located near the famous Scarborough Bluffs and is a commute-friendly thirty-minute drive to the city. The website for this exclusive enclave calls itself "The City's best kept secret".

Below, an example of one of Toronto's most beautiful float homes. This house is named "Serenity".



Image courtesy of Toronto Float Homes.



From the inside, Serenity looks just like any other airy, modern, spacious house on land. Except you can't get a view like this unless you're at the cottage (or you live on Toronto Island)! Look at the magnificent floor to ceiling windows that allow the sunlight in, along with wonderful views (did I already mention that view) of the dock.

In this house, the floor to 9 foot ceiling windows are in every room (except for the white and grey marble encased luxury bathrooms). If you get tired (what!?) of looking at the water, there is a treed backyard providing variety of scenery and more privacy. What an amazing way to live!



Image courtesy of Toronto Float Homes.



The master bedroom is also front and center on the waterfront. Note the telescope which comes in handy for star gazers (which you can actually see out here without the lights of the city causing interference). Imagine being here on a full moon. The word "ethereal" comes to mind.



Image courtesy of Toronto Float Homes.



The main bathroom, below, is similar to one in an upscale condo or smaller home.



Image courtesy of Toronto Float Homes.



In Vancouver, BC, the availability of floating homes is significantly higher. The prices can be less than the average Vancouver property value of $1.4 million price, so they're less expensive but not always 'affordable'. The availability and demand is large enough that there are even realtors who specialize in floating homes. Some of the floating communities include those at Coal Harbour, Granville Island, Stevenson and Delta.

The Creek Marina (formerly Mosquito Creek) community in North Vancouver offers Spirit Trail Ocean Homes and is also expanding its reach into luxury dwellings. It has launched the concept of Spirit Trail Yacht Homes which are large, lavish floating abodes with a covered garage-type dock for a yacht as part of the plan. This project is planned for 2019. The image below is a digital depiction of the project.



Image courtesy of The Creek Marina.



This upcoming phase of Yacht Homes will elevate floating homes into a new category of architecture in Vancouver. The floating home experience is for property owners aspiring to escape from convention and the mundane. Below, another digital depiction of the Yacht House showing the front (or back, depending on whether you see the entrance as being from land or water) with a multi-story glass panel feature all the way up to a balcony allowing for a sun-soaked interior. The roof-top terrace shows foliage so you can live your dream on water and still enjoy a garden.



Image courtesy of The Creek Marina.



As Canadians shift their living styles, municipal zoning will need to keep pace. Vancouver, to its credit, is a city embracing alternatives to the traditional real estate market by growing, rather than stifling, its floating communities. Ideally Toronto should follow suit and allow more residents to select the option of water over land, especially if there are opportunities to create more economical options.

To learn more about the floating homes featured here, visit Toronto Float Homes and The Creek Marina.


Love float homes? Here's a recent article in Narcity featuring 8 Floating Homes In Canada That Cost Less Than A House In Toronto, located in Toronto (Scarborough), Vancouver (Richmond), Victoria and Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island.


Houseporn.ca has previously featured a post celebrating life on the water titled Cottages And Houseboats On Toronto Island. This is a wonderful article written by an author who actually grew up as a resident on Toronto Island. A highly recommended read for anyone considering living options that are off the beaten path. 


Interested in seeing some more alternative residences in Canada? Check out these houseporn.ca articles:

- Tent Living In The Mountains Of Canada

- Canada’s Architecture on Edge: The Future of Nunavut

The Castleton Residence: Ontario’s First Ever Rammed Earth Home

Researched and written by Namrita Kohli, student in the Interior Decorating Certificate Program, George Brown College.

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