What’s Up With Parking In Toronto?

parking signs

Toronto has seen incredible growth over the years, however one thing which we struggle with is a dwindling supply of parking as more vehicles crowd our streets.. Whether it’s short term (having dinner downtown) or long term (accommodating a second vehicle) the fight for parking on our streets and private drives is becoming increasingly problematic.

Parking continues to be a challenge as we see what once were downtown outdoor parking lots now hosting 50+ storey condo towers. I will try and address some issues which you should be aware of surrounding the broader context of parking in Toronto.

Over the years many Toronto homeowners have removed their front lawns and replaced it with pad parking. If you are considering purchasing a house that features front pad parking, check out the link below to determine if it was done legally and if it is registered with the city. If it is legal and you then purchase the property you will have to pay to have it registered in your name (approximately $100 last time I checked) and then the additional yearly fee.


Don’t purchase the property thinking that you will be able to apply to the city for a Toronto residential parking permit . The city has strict criteria when they issue a permit and if your realtor says there will no problems, your next move should be to find another realtor. On a side note relating to approved residential permits, houses with shared/mutual or other legal driveways will not be found on the webpage.

Permit Street Parking

Street parking in Toronto is the lifeblood of our city. We live in high density neigbourhoods and some properties were built when the automobile was not part of our culture– if you live in The Beach, Riverdale, High Park or on the Danforth you what I am talking about. You require a permit to park overnight on most Toronto streets. There are two types of permits available: 6 and 12 month terms for residences. Permit fees are based on need:

  • No access to parking (no designated/exclusive parking space) for single vehicle $13.30 per month plus HST
  • No access to parking (no designated/exclusive parking space) for second or multiple vehicles $33.48 per month plus HST
  • Access to designated/exclusive parking space but additional space needed $46.88 per month plus HST

Toronto is a great place to visit any over the years I have had the joy of showcasing my city. Unfortunately, those who come by car are not immune to our parking restrictions. Temporary permits are available but there are limits regarding street and area. You can purchase these permits on-line up to two weeks in advance and can be valid for up to a week.


The last issue I want to discuss is parking for those of us who have private driveways. In October 2010 a Toronto bylaw came into law which attempted to control homeowners who were turning their properties into a parking lot. Here it is:

  • If you have a single car garage you are allowed to park one car in the garage and one in the driveway
  • If you have a double car garage you can park two in the garage and two in the driveway.
  • Those residents who have long driveways and have been parking several cars were grandfathered in.

The first two points mostly impact on new house construction but I will give you and instance where it may apply to those trying to maximize parking options. If you presently have a single car garage and wanted to widen your driveway for double car capacity (parking side by side) you would be declined the permit; however if you had a double car garage you would be approved.

Our love of cars is not disappearing soon and we will continually wrestle with how to best accommodate them into our lives and our cities.