Back To The Future: CMHC’s Award Winning Floor Plans For Small Houses

 cropped illustration from the CMHC book 'Homes for Canadians'

February 1, 2019. Homes for Canadians. The Canadian Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

‘THERE has long been an urgent demand in Canada for new, attractive designs of low or moderate-cost houses suited especially to the Canadian way of living. The purpose of “Homes for Canadians” is, in part, to help meet this demand and to provide the prospective house builder with general information on financing, costs, site selection, construction standards and planning. This book is divided into three sections. The first contains a broad discussion of the above-mentioned subjects. The second presents 30 new designs for essentially Canadian homes. The third contains designs submitted by prize winners in the recent Canadian Small Homes Competition.’

Right on! There IS an urgent demand.

But no. Hang on. Wait a moment! That date at the top of the article is wrong! The correct date for this written statement by the president of the CMHC is February 1, 1947. That’s 72 years ago, when two grateful nations, Canada and America, were struggling to meet the demand for housing by returning troops who had been fighting in WWII.

Have a look at this fascinating piece of history, a treasure from the early days of CMHC. It may have a renewed purpose, as the affordability crisis spurs a downsized housing future.

CMHC’s prized floor plans

These floor plans that were widely used in post WWII housing construction in Canada. They include designs to take advantage of solar heating and summer cooling, designs for small houses that become more and more relevant again with each passing year as housing costs rise and incomes shrink.

While you’re exploring the plans, see if you can put your finger on the ‘Canadian way of living.’ One thing we see that is suitably Canadian about it: unlike The American Dream’, the Canadian way of living is largely written in lower case.