Toronto city council has endorsed a plan to boost the number of beds in its already jammed shelter system, but declined calls to open the Canadian military’s armouries in the city to the homeless.

Activists and some city councillors have been calling for the emergency use of the cavernous Fort York and Moss Park armouries – last opened to the homeless in 2004 – for weeks.

But Mayor John Tory and city shelter staff have said repeatedly that while opening armouries remained an option, they were not an ideal place and that efforts instead should be made to open more conventional city shelter spaces.