Toronto Welcomes Modular Home Solutions

On January 20, mayor John tory alongside councillor Brad Bradford chair of the planning and housing committee for Beaches-East York were on-site to watch the delivery of the first modules that will become the permanent home for 57 Canadians experiencing homelessness.

The City of Toronto has made housing a priority on its agenda for 2023. Toronto has been struggling with a housing crisis for a few years now and is said to be missing middle and single-family homes. Ontario has said that it requires 1.5 million new homes in the next decade to solve this current issue and avoid an additional future housing dilemma. Modular homes have become both an environmentally-friendly and practical alternative housing choice for many Canadians. These types of homes can be built in just a few weeks as opposed to several months and require less labour.

Wood-Based Modular Housing Production

NBR Modular Solutions manufacturing facility in Cambridge, Ontario and all of their modular housing structures are wood-based. Chris Smith, director of East sales says “the production is a combination of conventional lumber and engineered wood for the flooring and roof structure and is assembled into 3D boxes, which are transported down the production line and we outfit the modules with all of the interior assets.”

The modules are manufactured on-site at the NBR Cambridge facility. Smith explains how “we basically boat wrap the units at the end of the production line and then they are stored in our parking lot facility, are picked up by a transport truck then are driven to the site.” The turnaround for module build is rather rapid. “A typical module can run through our plant with a four to six-week time frame and one of the things that’s a little different with modular than a conventional build is that we need essentially all of the material at our facility prior to production because of the speed in which our modules go through our factory,” Smith continues “The City of Toronto project was through our plant in about a two-month window.

Boat wrap is NBR’s choice of wrap for the modular units and is applied to the housing structures before they are transported off the factory site. As for the wood-type, Smith elaborates “ultimately we use wood spec and our structural design team considers the size of the building, whether it’s single-story, multi-story and at least in Ontario, a lot of our buildings have been a combination of engineered lumber and conventional lumber.

We have a centralized supply team that deals with four plants across Canada and we have various sources and suppliers that we work with for the lumber we use.”






The NBR Modular Solutions site is part of the HousingTO action plan’s second phase of the modular housing initiative (MHI) that was approved by the city council in April 2020. Funded through a partnership between the City of Toronto and the federal government, the partnership will allow the city to leverage land that they already been acquired in its portfolio for the purpose of developing supportive, affordable housing solutions.

Ellie King is the Editor of Wood Industry / Le monde du bois magazine and weekly E-digest. She has years of experience in B2B writing and editing and is empowered by the opportunity to share the marvels, pitfalls and weekly news of Canada’s secondary wood industry with our readers.


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