The early promoters of Bramalea stated that the city would provide housing for “all walks of life” – meaning all types of families and income groups. As such, Bramalea has a healthy selection of townhouses meeting various needs. In total, there are 27 townhouse complexes plus many freehold townhouses scattered throughout the G, H and J-Sections. The M-Section has the most townhouse complexes with 7 in total. The A, K and N sections do not have any townhouses.
The diversity of these townhouses can be explained through a variety of themes, as follows:
Most of the townhouses in Bramalea were built in condominium enclaves separate from the general fabric of the landscape. Within these enclaves, the houses share common elements which sometimes include a swimming pool and playground. There are usually only one or two points of access into the complex. Most of these dense clusters are located on the edge of the letter sections, or at least on main roads, to facilitate traffic flow in and out of the area.
Moregate Crescent. There is only one way in/out from this enclave of townhouses. Notice the pool and playground in the centre of the complex.
Some of the townhouse enclaves were marketed as an affordable type of housing, particularly those sold under the HOME plan. These complexes also have various amenities such as pools and playgrounds.
Toronto Daily Star, November 7, 1970
Toronto Daily Star, October 17, 1970
Toronto Daily Star, January 2, 1971
Other enclaves were marketed as luxury properties, and surrounded by brick walls:
Toronto Star, November 19, 1988
Toronto Star, February 24, 1990
There are various ways of approaching the design of the houses in townhouse complexes and Bramalea has a good selection of these.
Bramalea Consolidated Developments set the bar in variation with their early 1970s complexes of Bramalea Townhouses in the C, D and F-Sections. These areas have a variety of types of houses including two-storey with no garage, two-storey with a garage and three-storey designs with a garage (and up to 5 bedrooms). This adds variety to the area and can house families with a variety of needs and incomes within the same complex.
Craigleigh Boulevard. Within this complex, there is a variety of townhouses styles. Courtesy of Bing Maps.
Fleetwood Crescent. This single row shows all three types of houses offered as a part of Bramalea Townhouses: two-storey with garage and without a garage, and three-storey with a garage. I suspect that this may have been the model home row when first built, since it has all three types. Courtesy of Google Maps.
Other complexes have a few standard plans all of the same type, be it two or three-storey designs. These can either have the same facade throughout the area, have slight variations (such as different window arrangements), or have a wide variety of elevation options. Staggering of units is also a way to break up the monotony of certain complexes.
Toronto Star, November 1, 1975.
Each house is treated with an individual facade making each house in the row distinct.
Fleetwood Crescent. Variations in the windows make these houses appear different, even if the plans are similar. Courtesy of Google Maps.
Darras Court. In this complex, the similarity of the facades creates an impressive atmosphere, and interest is added by pulling some units forward. Elsewhere in the area, squared off entrance arches and slight garage protrusions also add visual interest. The Mansard roof lines which roll down the facade of the houses makes the 3-storey massing appear less tall. Courtesy of Google Maps.
Ashton Crescent, Bramalea. Courtesy of Bing Maps.
The Ashton Crescent enclave (shown above) in the M-Section has an impressive curved layout reminiscent of Bath England’s Georgian-style row houses in The Circus and Royal Crescent.
The Circus, Bath, England. Courtesy of Bing Maps
Another variation are garden homes, which are townhouses without a garage and scattered throughout the green-space of the complex as in The Village in Bramalea.
On the north side of Balmoral Drive in the B-Section is a complex of townhouses which were built as Ontario’s first condominium townhouses. A similar complex of townhouses are located on the south side of Balmoral Drive and are rentals.
Townhouses along Balmoral Drive. Notice how not every unit fronts on to a street, but instead onto the parking areas – this is typical for garden home arrangements. Courtesy of Bing Maps.
Toronto Daily Star, September 12, 1969
Toronto Daily Star, September 28, 1963. The rental townhouses on the south side of Balmoral Drive.
As a twist on townhouse design, the “streets in the sky” project of Concept 3 in the F-Section has three layers of stacked townhouses. At this density, the complex is probably closer to a low-rise condominium, but the fact that each two-story unit has a separate entrance from the outside or the interior street makes them a bit of a hybrid.
Concept 3. Portion of Canadian Architect magazine article from February 1973.
The zero-lot line areas in the G, H and J-Sections were originally slated to be built as townhouses, but instead 2,400 detached houses were built, with freehold townhouses interspersed in some areas. These are fascinating examples of townhouses as the freehold nature of the units allows homeowners to alter the facades by adding windows, carports and garages – something more restricted in the condominium context. I have a suspicion that the townhouses were actually designed to be future-ready to allow for a carport/garage to be built as the design has the perfect spot on the front facade for this addition.
Garrison Square. Notice how some homeowners have added garages and enlarged the windows over them. Courtesy of Google Maps.
Bramble Tree Hamlet in the G-Section was marketed as Bramalea’s first luxury condominium. The concept of a luxury townhouse was expanded upon in later complexes such as Carriage Walk in the H-Section and Laurelcrest in the L-Section.
Toronto Star, January 19, 1974
Toronto Star, August 31, 1974
Toronto Star, January 11, 1975
The last major complex of townhouses to be built in Bramalea is Hampton Landing on the edge of Professor’s Lake. This are of freehold houses has a variety of designs from two-story plans up to Bramalea’s only four-storey townhouse. The largest townhouse design in Bramalea is also in this complex at almost 2400 square feet.
Toronto Star, February 25, 1995