Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Rethinking Surplus Land: Three Decades of Municipal Land Sales in the City of Toronto

June 18 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Since amalgamation, the idea of leveraging unused or “surplus” city land to subsidize affordable housing construction has been frequently invoked by various mayoral administrations in Toronto, including the “Let’s Build” initiative, the creation of the Build Toronto agency, its subsequent transition to the CreateTO agency, and more recently, renewed commitments to build housing on city land. However, successive governments have struggled to develop significant social or affordable housing on city land.

Drawing on almost 30 years of data documenting land sales, 2023-24 IMFG Fellow in Municipal Finance and Governance Sean Grisdale provided the first comprehensive summary of housing development outcomes on former city land in Toronto. His presentation provided valuable historical background on the public land management practices that have prevailed in recent decades and outlined policy recommendations for how Toronto can achieve its goals to leverage city land for affordable housing.

View presentation


Sean Grisdale is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. He has researched, written and published on a wide range of housing affordability issues, including the privatization of publicly-owned land in Canada; the impact of short-term rentals on housing affordability in Toronto; the recent resurgence of purpose-built rental housing development in Toronto and Vancouver; the implications of the rise of investor-owned condominium rentals in Canada; and the impact of evictions policies on tenants during the pandemic.


Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance
View Organizer Website


School of Cities, Suite 853, Boardroom
55 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 0C9 Canada
+ Google Map