Courtesy of Google Maps
Courtesy of Bing Maps
I have often thought about how unique Bramalea is as a suburb, especially in the visual sense. One thing that stands out at the most striking aspect of how different Bramalea is are the number of tall buildings – or skyscrapers – in the centre of the area. This is something that most suburban communities do not have. Mississauga’s downtown area has recently been undergoing a skyscraper boom, but Bramalea had one that started back in the 1970s.
This is the first part of an exploration of Bramalea as a “Skyscraper Suburb”. The first instalment is about the area east of the Bramalea City Centre: the K-Section. There 12 tall buildings that tower over the area. Interestingly, there are also 12 towers in the Lisa Street area to the west of the City Centre, which also forms another dense cluster. These book-ends to “downtown” Bramalea will be explored separately.
Although the density of the tall towers is more akin to an urban setting, the large swaths of land surrounding the buildings sets them apart from the landscape of larger downtown cores. This concept has roots dating back to the 1920s and the famous architect Le Corbusier’s designs for “towers in a park”. Countless suburban towers have been built this way in many countries. In some areas the land around these tall towers is now being filled in with housing, stores, or more appealing outdoor spaces that can be used for festivals and gatherings. Maybe similar re-developments are in store for Bramalea?
There is an interesting juxtaposition between the visual horizontality of the single-family homes (especially the bungalows in the older sections of Bramalea) and the verticality of the towers reaching up to the sky.
The Bramalea Skyline from HWY 410. Courtesy of Google Maps.
Many of the buildings look quite similar and are plain on the exterior, but these 1970s-era buildings often have very large units – especially compared to condos built today. Unfortunately I do not have any floor plans for the buildings in the K-Section (except for a couple as shown in the advertisements). I do however have an interest in condominiums built in the 1970s and have a collection of floor plans for buildings in Ottawa from that time period posted on my Ottawa blog: Mid Century Modern Condos and Experiential Design.
Some of the buildings in Bramalea were rentals first and then sold as lower-priced condominium units later.
Many of the buildings have different names from when they were first marketed, so I am unsure of which buildings in the ads below correspond with the current names. At the end of the post is a list of the buildings and their current names.
Below are a series of advertisements and articles on the various condominium towers built in the K-Section:
Toronto Star, February 15, 1975
Toronto Star, December 6, 1975
The building below is a rental building, which presumably was one of the buildings to be converted in to condominiums in the 1980s.
Toronto Star, December 27, 1975
Toronto Star, October 3, 1981
Toronto Star, July 10, 1982
Toronto Star, November 20, 1982
Toronto Star, August 27, 1983
As mentioned earlier, many of the buildings have names that are different from when they were marketed in the 1970s and 1980s. Here is a list of the current building names. If you know which buildings were marketed as which, please let me know!
Some of the information has been gathered from the Emporis website on tall buildings.
Also as a tidbit, I never understood why in the 1960s-1980s often single buildings were called “towers” as if there were more than one…
The buildings of the K-Section:
– 25 Kensington Road: Stuart Towers, 18 floors
– 15 Kensington Road: MacDonald Towers, 18 floors, built 1974
– 18 Knightsbridge Road: Bruce Towers, 25 floors, built 1976
– 10 Kensington Road: McKenzie Towers, 14 floors