So What’s the Deal With Laneways?
Toronto’s laneways are weird. Most people put a ton of effort making sure their beautifully restored Victorian townhouse has an immaculately maintained façade. Take a stroll down the adjacent laneway and you’re likely to see a row of slanted shacks and concrete sheds reminiscent of bomb shelters. The juxtaposition between the front and back is striking. Conventional wisdom in Toronto is that when it comes to houses, the most important thing is what’s on the inside, followed by what’s out in front, with the back lagging behind.
Coming into fashion in the 19th century, laneways and the structures lining them served a variety of functions, as access routes for coal suppliers, coach houses in the ritzier neighbourhoods, storage sheds, and craftsmen’s shops. In recent years, laneway structures have been used as garages if they’re used at all.
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A New Way of Looking at Things
Now people are beginning to rethink laneways. With everyone social distancing it can be hard to find quiet places to get outside without using our still crowded sidewalks. Laneways are a great alternative to a street for anyone looking for a nice midday walk, providing quiet away from the hustle and bustle. They’ve got a really unique vibe, with garage doors covered in funny and sometimes beautiful graffiti, and a cool grit that can a bit post-apocalyptic. Oddly enough,…