Canada has a housing crisis

Young people are feeling the crunch

They can’t afford to buy and now they can’t even afford to rent.

Cities have been hit too. Remote work means too much vacant office space, and it’s hollowing out our downtown cores. 

Youthful Cities is a think-and-do tank looking at both sides of this problem. When our research showed affordability was easily the top concern for young people, we got to work on a solution: Toboggan Flats.

Toboggan Flats provides affordable, purpose-built co-living apartments that repurpose vacant office space into shared housing for young professionals—downtown, where young people want to live, work and play.

Young people cooking together
Illustration of young people riding along on a sled, carried by a young man riding a bike

Our spaces

At Toboggan Flats, residents get their own private room, but share kitchens, bathrooms, laundry and lounges, creating an upscale, elevated co-living community for young Canadians, complete with fresh design, concierge services, wifi and cleaning — all in one monthly cost. 

Our model treats a building’s existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure as features, not bugs. We adapt office floors for living instead of working, locating shared services and amenities near the building’s central core.

Kitchen and flex areas become the equivalent of the Italian piazza — the places where people emerge from their day at work or study and re-enter the world of relationships, conversation and shared experience.

Kitchen rendering at Toboggan Flats
Young professionals hanging out together

Revitalizing downtowns. Affordable housing—fast

Remote work is here to stay. And with downtown office vacancies pushing 25%, municipalities and building owners need solutions that breathe new life into our downtown economies—fast. Toboggan Flats targets floors in vacant office buildings and repurposes that space from working to living, bringing young professionals back downtown to support our downtown businesses and restaurants—helping shore up commercial tax revenues. Projects are move-ready in months, not years, and with rents half the price of a current downtown rental.

Young professionals. Better, together.

Co-living is about more than just shared spaces—it’s about fostering a vibrant community. At Toboggan Flats, we provide space that encourages social events and activities to help residents connect, explore shared interests and cultivate meaningful relationships. And with more young Canadians reporting increased levels of loneliness and isolation, a new home at Toboggan Flats comes with belonging and connection built right in.

Working with building owners on their terms.

The Toboggan Flats co-living model reflects how the commercial building industry and its assets are structured. Building owners are in the leasing business; they build buildings and rent units, not build buildings and sell units. Toboggan Flats involves repurposing the floors and leasing those floors, providing owners ongoing lease revenue like any other commercial tenant. And building owners already shut down floors while tenant improvements take place, so Toboggan Flats will mean more of the same.

Our Partners

Introducing the partners bringing Toboggan Flats to Canada.


Youthful Cities, Founding partner


Cushman & Wakefield
Co-Liv member


Canadian Urban Institute
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Generation Squeeze
University of Toronto School of Cities
Smart Prosperity Institute
Student Housing Initiative
Student Housing Initiative