And now for some shameless self promotion: Back in December I started publishing chapters on Wattpad from my epic historic-fiction novel, based on Bramalea (so it relates to this blog): The Dream That Was. I have finally published the entire book online, and I have now begun to release chapters from one of my other novels: Teardrop. It is a fast-paced mystery/thriller, so if this is a genre that interests you, please check it out:
An article about one of the founding fathers of Bramalea:
When: Built circa 1970-1971
Where: 475 Bramalea Road
Who: Consolidated Building Corporation and Ontario House Corporation
What I Know: I am missing the floor plans for the houses in this area, so if anyone has them, I would love to share them!
The two-story units have a carport, instead of a garage, but this allows for front-facing windows on the main floor (in the kitchen, I believe), something that would not be possible if there was a garage out front.
As with most of the townhouse complexes built in Bramalea at the time, there is an outdoor pool and play areas as part of the common elements.
Interestingly, the advertisements for the houses indicate that they came with a refrigerator, stove, hood fan and clothes dryer…but not a washing machine.
Below are a series of articles and advertisements about Bramalea Limited from the 1980s and 1990s. They show the rise and success of the company as it rapidly expanded beyond the borders of Bramalea itself, but then start to become more negative as the company struggled in the mid-1990s, ending in bankruptcy. The last newspaper image below is perhaps the most tragic of all, as it is an auction notice to sell off the very last remains of the company’s assets, including office furniture.
Toronto Star, August 25, 1984
Toronto Star, August 8, 1987
Toronto Star, June 27, 1987
Toronto Star, July 9, 1988
Toronto Star, May 28, 1988
Toronto Star, February 22, 1992
Toronto Star, November 21, 1992
Toronto Star, October 17, 1992
Toronto Star, February 27, 1993
Toronto Star, April 27, 1995
Toronto Star, March 31, 1995
Toronto Star, May 21, 1995
I recently realized that I have a number of general newspaper articles on Bramalea that should be shared on the blog. They are great snapshots of the history of Bramalea and the company that built the city. Below are a handful of articles from the 1950s and 1960s:
When: Built circa 2006
Where: New Hampshire Court
Who: Century Gove Homes
What I Know: This in-fill development was built on land that appears to have been set aside for a school.
The layouts of the houses are very much a product of the time. The lot widths are narrow, but the garages are set in to the massing of the houses, as opposed to sticking out in front common with the houses built more than a decade before just one street to the north. With the inset garage and rooms above them the second levels of these plans are larger than the main floors, allowing room for large ensuite bathrooms and walk-in closets. Two of the designs have a one-car garage and thus have large front-facing windows on the main floor. This mixing of one-car and two-car garage houses is something that Bramalea Limited did in other parts of Bramalea many years earlier.
There are a handful of other in-fill sites in Bramalea that were built on some time after the surrounding area was developed. These sites remained vacant as they were originally set aside in the master plan for schools, places of worship or shopping, that were never built. A few such sites that come to mind include the southwest corner of Howden Boulevard and Dixie Road, the townhouses on Vodden Street East between Laurelcrest Street and Lone Oak Avenue, and the extension of Locksley Place at Hillside Drive. I am missing the plans for the latter two mentioned, so if anyone has them I would love to share on the blog.
The Site Plan below has a different name for the street. I am glad that they changed the name to New Hampshire Court to fit in with the N-Section.
Hello Bramaleans past and present! In addition to posting on bramaeleablog, another creative outlet of mine is writing fictional stories. I will be posting one of my books chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad to share it with the world. The storyline may be of interest as it is inspired by real events connected to the development of Bramalea – although I have created a fictional family and used a pseudonym for Bramalea. I invite you all to have a read of the first chapter and hopefully you will be drawn to continue reading as I post each chapter.
Below is the synopsis of the book:
Seeking a better life for his children, a father embarks on the ambitious project of designing and building a new city from the ground up. As the city grows and changes so to do his children, each influencing the other over the decades. In many ways, the city takes on a life of its own, with an outcome that the founding father could never have imagined. Inspired by an actual city built from scratch, and real events surrounding its history, this saga tells the tale of a fictional family from the postwar period up until present day.
Here is the link:
When: Built circa 1996
Where: Provincial Place
Who: Begun by Bramalea Limited, but completed by Aspen Ridge Homes
What I Know: I cannot remember if Bramalea Limited actually begun construction in 1994/1995 before they went Bankrupt. I do remember visiting the model homes at the site in 1996 when Aspen Ridge Homes took over.
The format of these plans are large – 22 x 17 inches when opened, so they were a challenge to scan! I am not sure why builders moved to the format (many still have large plans), but they sure do make them hard to store, scan and share.
I am missing the plans for TH6 shown on the site plan (I am not sure what the name of the plan was), so if any of my readers has the plan I would love to add it. Also, if anyone has the original marketing materials from when Bramalea Limited had the project they would be good to share. I have always wondered if they had the exact same floor plans – as the images in the newspaper advertisements look the same.
The townhomes in this area are designed with tunnels leading from the back of the garage or basement to the yard allowing access for bringing a lawnmower through. This design element removes the need for right-of-way access through adjacent back yards as is the case in some freehold townhouse developments.
I would like to start a new series on this blog to share older photos that people have of Bramalea. I am sure that many of my readers have photos of Bramalea from the early years and/or when it was being built. In particular I am interested in photos of houses, buildings and streetscapes. You can send these photos to me at Bramaleablog@gmail.com and I will share as many as I can.
Here is the first batch that a blog reader sent to me. A big thank you to Nigel Carpenter for allowing me to share these photos courtesy of John Carpenter of the E-Section being built. In particular many of these are of Edgebrook Crescent being built, c. 1968.
It is possible that the development of Bramalea as a completely planned new city may have inspired a handful of large-scale planned neighbourhoods in Peel Region over the years. These projects were typically smaller than Bramalea in size, and were not designed as self-sufficient cities, but they were certainly promoted as planned developments that offered a variety of housing types and amenities. Here is a brief sampling of a few of them. I will re-visit each in subsequent posts examining how they compare to Bramalea.
Peel Village was begun in Brampton in the 1960s and would have competed with Bramalea for buyers. Even some of their marketing tactics were the same, such as offering helicopter rides to see the development (see Southgate Village). The built similar detached house designs to those in Bramalea and later included semi-detached and townhouses.
I am curious to hear if some of my readers have stories about why their family chose Bramalea over Peel Village during the 1960s.
The Villages of Heart Lake
The Villages of Heart Lake was begun in Brampton during the 1970s. This neighbourhood had 12 builders involved at one point, each offering an astounding variety of house designs – similar to the A-Section in Bramalea. The development was at a much smaller scale than Bramalea, and was not built as a city, but it is interesting as a planned community with so many builders working together on a project.
I only have a handful of floor plans from this development, but if any of my readers have any please let me know! Also, I would love to hear any stories about why families chose Bramalea over The Villages of Heart Lake in the 1970s, or if any families moved from one to the other.
Built due north of Bramalea, Springdale was begun in the 1990s and also had an impressive line-up of builders. They offered a variety of housing layouts – including some innovative housing types such as houses with rental suites, interlots, and a new concept for quatroplexes. Instead of letter sections like in Bramalea, when Springdale was first built they had themed neighbourhoods like the “mountain theme” where all of the streets have names related to mountains.
I was still young when it was begun, but I had a passion for house design so I dragged my parents to the model home show more than once!
The two Mississauga developments below are perhaps the closest in terms of scale and vision to Bramalea as they were designed to include both housing and industrial/business parks.
Erin Mills New Town was created by the same people involved in the development of Don Mills (considered by many to be the original self-sufficient city built in Canada, begun in the early 1950s). I bought an original copy of the 1969 master plan for Erin Mills (it cost me an “arm and a leg” and is massive). Inside, it reveals that the original design for Erin Mills was to have areas with “innovative housing” such as cluster housing and courtyard housing. Some innovative housing pockets were built, but in later years the area was developed in a way that looked like any other suburban landscape.
Not to be confused with the more recent Old Meadowvale Village development, Meadowvale New Town was started in the 1970s and designed as a cohesive community with places to live and work. The original vision was to have a more urban landscape “downtown” near the Meadowvale Town Centre and Lake Aquitaine. Tall buildings and townhouse complexes were built in the area, but not at as high a density as originally planned. Interestingly, some of less-expensive houses and rental units were built with spectacular views of Lake Aquitaine.
When first built, Meadowvale also had strict restrictive covenants dictating any changes that could (or could not) be made to a house, and even what type of activities could take place at the houses – “an insurance policy against visual pollution”.