Think tiny homes are a new phenomenon? Think again. Toronto’s smallest house, known as “The Little House,” is only 312-square feet in size and was built in 1912 – long before the tiny house movement was even considered. Located at 128 Day Avenue near Dufferin and Rogers Road, the house is officially the smallest in the city.
In 2008, The Little House appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. But that wasn’t the beginning of its fame. According to its website – yes, the house has it’s own website – it was first featured in the Sun Telegram in 1939 and has been the topic of much discussion since then. It has appeared in the Toronto Sun, the Toronto Star, the National Post, The Globe & Mail and McLean’s Magazine. It’s even made it in the New York Times and Britain’s Sunday Times. The house has even inspired a song, “Come Back to Me” by Maria Lee Carta.
So what’s the story? How did this little house come to be?
A well-known contractor by the name of Arthur Weeden built the house in 1912. Weeden was born in England, but came to Canada in 1902 where he worked as a pioneer builder in the west end of Toronto. When the street was first being developed, Lot 128, where the house now sits, was to be a laneway for the home’s neighbour. For some reason, the curb was never cut to allow vehicles to pass, though, and Weeden decided to snatch up the opportunity to build a new laneway home. Weeden and his wife lived in the home for some 20 years.
Surprisingly, there’s a fair bit of space in a 312-square foot home, if it’s put together right. The Little House has six windows, including the octagonal one seen on the front of the building, and five doors, including a trap door that leads to the basement. And there’s enough room for a garden and a patio out back, and a small porch out front. Weeden himself grew tomatoes, cabbage, Swiss chard and rhubarb in his garden.
The main floor of the house – believe it or not – boasts a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. There’s beautiful hardwood flooring throughout and ample storage space. At just 7.25 feet wide, there’s barely enough room to stretch out on the couch – actually, there is no couch – and there’s certainly no room for a bed, which is why there’s been a Murphy bed installed in the tiny room behind the kitchen.
After Mr. Weeden passed away, the home changed hands and has had several tenants over the years. The last time it was on the market, in 2010, its asking price was $173,000. That might seem high to you, but at an average cost of $400,000 for a single-family home, it was practically a steal. Plus, it has its own parking space and a patio out back, bonuses that can cost you big in the condo world.