This Awesome Treehouse May Soon Be Forced to Come Down, Mostly for Being Too Awesome - Atlas Obscura
Free iron-on Atlas Obscura badge when you preorder our new kids’ book. Shop now.

This Awesome Treehouse May Soon Be Forced to Come Down, Mostly for Being Too Awesome

Neighbors complained.

The party’s over for one family in Toronto’s Swansea neighborhood, who recently lost a battle to keep their incredible backyard treehouse. As reported in the Star, local officials have declared that the amazing wooden fort is cannot stand because it is too high and not, technically, a treehouse, so it must be taken down.

The treehouse is the work of John Alpeza, who built the structure over the course of six years for his two sons. It is built in the shape of an abstract boat with bows and decks jutting off in odd directions. Covering an area of 108 square feet, the DIY playground features all sorts of built-in features including multiple entrances, climbable rope swings, a trap door, a cabin (that was planned to be furnished), and a steering wheel and bell for the imaginary captain. So far, Alpeza has sunk a around $30,000 into it.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. After complaints from his neighbors alerted the city to the treehouse’s increasing size, a local board ordered Alpeza to tear it down in April. Alpeza refused, and appealed the issue, but his requests to keep the treehouse were recently denied, according to the Star.

In an interview in April with the CBC, Alpeza said that he built the treehouse to get his kids out of the house and to give them a way to enjoy their backyard, and he continues to lament the decision.

But Alpeza does have at least one lifeline, an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. 

“I told the boys there’s another court, so this is not over yet,” he told the Star.