In 1912, contractor Arthur Weeden noticed that Lot 128 on Day Avenue in Toronto, Canada was marked as a laneway between neighboring homes, but the city never bothered to cut the curb. So he decided to use it ... by building The Little House, the smallest house in Toronto!
Toronto’s Little House was built in 1912 by well-known contractor, Arthur Weeden. Mr. Weeden was born in England and migrated to Canada in 1902. For a short time, he was Superintendent of the old Lighthouse Mission and later became one of the pioneer builders in Toronto’s west end.
Located in what was known as the Earlscourt District, Day Avenue is home to many of Arthur’s building projects. During the street’s development, Lot 128 was conceived as a laneway for the neighbouring home. However, the curb was never cut by the City to allow vehicular passage from the street. Observing this, Arthur decided that “in order to use the land, I would build on it” (Weeden, Toronto Sun Telegram, 1939).
After completing the laneway house, he and his wife lived in it for 20 years. After his wife passed away, Mr. Weeden, 77 years of age at the time of the Sun Telegram article, lived in the house for 6 more years, during which time he tended to the vegetable garden in the rear of the house, growing tomatoes, cabbages, Swiss chard, rhubarb and some flowers.
At the time, a house on Sydenham street was said to be the smallest, but Weeden discredited this claim by noting, “it has a frontage a foot and a half longer [than his]”, and was not a complete house as it did not have electricity and other conveniences. The other disputed ‘smallest house’ is located at 383 Shuter Street, but it too is larger. Eight inches wider, to be exact.