Lesli Gaynor

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Cohousing Spotlight: Terra Firma, Ontario’s Only Completed Cohousing Community — GOCO Solutions

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Located in the centre of Ottawa lies Ontario’s only completed cohousing community: Terra Firma. Terra Firma began in 1997 and is now home to 12 families. With a large common house and common garden, the residents of Terra Firma fully embrace their community and the true spirit of cohousing.

Terra Firma began as two three-door townhomes. The cohousing project was developed as a retrofit rather than a brand new construction. Existing housing was built upon and reworked as a cohousing space rather than separate, private townhomes. The fences were taken down and an infill was built between the two buildings which became the common house as well as a seventh residential unit.

The common house has a kitchen and a large dining space where cohousing members gather twice a week for dinners which are prepared on a rotating basis. The dining room is also used for games, moving nice and even workshops for art, music, and yoga. There is also a guest room for visiting family and friends. The common house also has a sauna and a common laundry room.

As well as the common room, the backyard of the townhomes have been converted into a common garden which has a variety of trees, plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. There are solar panels on the roof for electricity. There are also bikesheds, swings, a treehouse, and a hot tub available for all the residents to enjoy.

In over 17 years, all original 10 members are still at Terra Firma. They love their community lifestyle and are able to be more environmentally conscious by sharing resources and maintenance amongst the units. Even though there may be challenges with noise, repairs and pets, they love their cohousing community on Drummond St.

Though they are not accepting any new members, Terra Firma is always available to support other groups and is always happy to share their experiences and what they have learned as a community with others.

If you would like to know more about cohousing in Canada, visit the Canadian Cohousing Network. Cohousing Options Canada has a number of resources available to learn more. There is a webinar available starting October 22, 2020.

Originally published at https://www.gocosolutions.com on October 21, 2020.

Written by

Lesli Gaynor is a real estate agent specializing in co-housing.

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