Historical Newspaper Articles on Bramalea

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:

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Toronto Daily Star, May 14, 1959

58nov15-gm

The Globe and Mail, November 15, 1958

61jun16

Toronto Daily Star, June 16, 1961

 

64jan17

Toronto Daily Star, January 17, 1964

65mar31

Toronto Daily Star, March 1, 1965

 

68may31

Toronto Daily Star, May 31, 1968

69aug2

Toronto Daily Star, August 2, 1969

69aug23

Toronto Daily Star, August 23, 1969

69may14

69may14a

Toronto Daily Star, May 14, 1969

69sept12

Toronto Daily Star, September 12, 1969

Times have changed…and so have standard features in houses.

Today when you buy a new house the builder may highlight their standard features such as hardwood floors, 9-foot ceilings or granite counters – but in the past standard features for houses were quite different. In some cases the features that were advertised may now be viewed as negatives. I pulled a handful of old marketing material for houses in Bramalea, and here is what I found – hopefully some of these will take you down memory lane!

Also, you can click on the neighbourhood names to link to the full posts on each area.

a

Advertisement for houses in the A-Section (early 1960s). At the time wall paneling was a highlight and storm windows were common.

aa 65-67

Southgate Village in the D-Section (1965-1967). I am actually impressed that the houses came with shrubs! Some designs came with electric heating and carports…both of which may not seem like highlights today.

b 69-72

Bramalea Townhouses in parts of the C, D and F-Sections (1970-1972). Drapery tracks were included!

c

Westgate in the B-Section (1964-1965). I am not sure what a “Hollywood style vanity” is. At the time coloured bathroom fixtures and linoleum tiles were considered good standard features.

d

Bramalea in Southdown Estates in Mississauga (c. 1972) – although similar plans were built in Bramalea. Aluminum siding was worthy of mention.

e

Also from Southdown Estates. Formica and Arborite were seen as a plus as they are easy-to-clean!

f

A final Southdown Estates example. Vinyl asbestos flooring! Eek! I am not sure that similar models built in Bramalea had this type of flooring…but it is possible.

g

Bay Meadows in the M-Section (1976), and the design was likely also built in Other areas of Bramalea. What is a “post-formed” laminate counter?

h the strand 81-82

The Strand in the J and N-Sections (1981-1983). Quality broadloom, vinyl flooring and aluminium siding were all seen as worthy of mention as standard features.

hh blue mount 81-82

Blue Mount Estates in the L-Section (1980-1982). A paneled recreation room was seen as a good thing (I remember the one we had when I was a kid!), as well as a dropped ceiling with florescent lighting in the kitchen (remember the so-called “Florida ceilings”!).

i showcase 2000 82

Showcase 2000 in the section without a letter (1982). What is a “hammered Swedish steel picket”? Also, remember when dishwashers were not standard and houses came with a cupboard that you could remove to add one if you wanted.

j columbus bay 83-84

Columbus Bay in the P-Section (1982-1985). Here upgrades included stippled ceilings, arborite or formica counters, a smoke detector (just one), and a coloured exhaust hood fan (I wonder how many colours they offered?).

l 1988 NEW

Nortonville Estates West in the L-Section (1988). Back when having a bidet and wet bar were popular.

Thirty or so years from now I am sure we will look back and muse about the standard features in houses built today!

 

Autumn Glen

When: Built circa 1973

Where: Autumn Boulevard, south of Algonquin Boulevard

Who: Putwell Construction

What I Know: This small in-fill development consists of 10 semi-detached houses in the A-Section built later than most of the houses in the area that were contructed during the 1960s. The designs are unusual as they have attached garages, and the majority of houses in the A-Section do not have attached garages  – probably to save costs when they were first built.

An older map I have indicates that a Baptist church was on the north part of the land near the corner of Algonquin Boulevard. I suspect that this building has been turned in to the Rowntree Montessori School – so perhaps when the church became a school the land behind this building was sold off to build the 10 houses. The website for the Bramalea Baptist Church (located at the northwest corner of Dixie Road and Queen Street East) states that the church was founded in 1963 and has expanded over the years. Maybe the building that is now the Montessori school was the original location of this congregation? I would love to find out, so if you know anything about this land and/or the buildings on it please let me know!

jul28Untitled

The Toronto Star, July 28, 1973

birds eye

Image courtesy of Google Maps.

Industrial Bramalea

Bramalea was created as a self-sufficient city, meaning that it was designed to have places to both live and work (as well as places to shop, learn, play,worship, etc.). Even before ground was broken for Bramalea the founders actively sought businesses to locate in the city. For these businesses came the promise of a workforce located within the same community, and potential buyers might have been wooed by the promise of places to work within walking distance. As such, there were two main marketing approaches for early Bramalea, one to get people to move to the new city and the other to get businesses to locate in it.

Below is a brochure from 1959 designed to attract industries to Bramalea’s industrial parks. It has some unique forecasts and statistics regarding Bramalea – even before the first family moved in!
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002 (2)002003 (2)004 (2)005 (2)006007008009010011012013

Below are two images from another marketing piece aimed at industries – although this shows the industrial park well underway.

The map below lists the industries that had located in Bramalea c. 1970. It also shows the development of the residential areas of Bramalea at that time.industrial map

This air photo shows an earlier image of the industrial park as well as a great view of Bramalea’s first neighbourhoods – all within walking distance to potential places of employment.industrial photo

Design Controls in Early Bramalea

Below is an article describing on how by 1962 one builder was put in charge of the houses in Bramalea as it was thought that the area needed to be more cohesive and for the houses to compliment each other aesthetically.001

Canadian Builder, May 1962

This next article was shown on an earlier post, but at the beginning and ending of the text it outlines how important it was to consider the colours and design of the houses in Bramalea. Notice that the architect is also the president of Westbury Homes as stated in the first article in this post.

001

Bramalea Guardian, October 15, 1964

12-61may20

Toronto Daily Star, May 20, 1961

An aspect of the A-Section that has always stood out for me is the fact that there is such a diverse variety of housing designs and that they are all intermixed in the area. I have always thought that this made the area more interesting. The image above depicts a particular plan in the A-Section which was one of the few daringly modern designs built in 1960s Bramalea. When Westbury Homes took over, these types of designs were not built again, and all of the houses were more traditionally-inspired, and such sweeping asymmetrical  roof lines were a thing of the past (until the zero lot-line houses built in the 1970s). Today, mid-century modern designs are celebrated, but there was a time where these types of houses were seen as passé. Through the ups and downs of architecture, perhaps the more traditionally-inspired houses in Bramalea were a safe bet. What are your thoughts?

For those readers familiar with the A, B and C-Sections, I am curious to read your thoughts on how the houses look in these sections. Do you like the variety of the first phases (the A-Section), or prefer the later phases (B and C-Sections) where the houses are more similar in design?

Please use the “Leave a Reply” section below to voice your thoughts. This blog is meant to be interactive, so I am always happy to see readers’ comments, thoughts, stories, etc. on any posting.

Bramalea, circa 1972

Come join me on a trip in a time machine back to the year 1972 in Bramalea! Below is a document from that year with details on both the industrial and residential aspects of Bramalea – including 2 walking tours through the A to G sections and Bramalea Woods, plus price lists for developments active at the time. Some things are still the same, but so much has changed.

A special thank you to a blog reader for completing the missing pieces to this document for me. I had it on file but some pages were missing, so I was delighted when a reader sent me her version with all pages intact!

001 002 003 004 005 006 007 007a 008 009 010 011 012 013 014 015 016 017 018 019 020 021

Missing floor plans needed!

Hello BramaleaBlog readers! I wanted to take the time to thank you all for reading the blog and your comments, questions and stories. As you may have noticed in some of my postings, there are some plans that I am still missing for certain areas in Bramalea. I want to make this blog as complete as possible with all of the plans for houses in Bramalea. As such, below is a list of elusive plans that I do not have, and would love to share with readers. If you have any of the plans, please let me know at bramaleablog@gmail.com

I will continue to share my collection of plans, marketing materials, articles and insights on Bramalea in new posts – as I still have so much to share!

Here is the list, organised by letter section (I am shocked that it is so long, So please help me shorten it!):

A-Section:

– Any of the homes in the A-Section

B-Section:

– Bramalea Hamlet

– Townhouses on Briar Path

– Any of the detached and semi-detached houses not a part of Westgate

– Townhouses on Balmoral Drive

C-Section:

– Any of the plans for Bramalea-on-the-Park (there were a few builders who constructed houses in the area)

D-Section:

– Townhouses by Jannitt on Darras Court

– Any of the houses built under the H.O.M.E plan

E-Section:

– Any of the houses built under the H.O.M.E plan

– Townhouses on Enderby Crescent, Ellerslie Road, Ellis Drive and Enmount Drive

– Townhouses on Eden Park Drive

– Coventry Gardens

F-Section:

– Any of the houses built under the H.O.M.E plan

– The gates of Bramalea by Consolidated Building Corporation at 475 Bramalea Road

– California Club Townhouses by Bramalea Consolidated Developments

– Concept 3/Folkstone Terrace original marketing material/plans

G-Section:

– Plans built by Del-Zotto

– Bramble Tree Hamlet by Coventry

– Semi-detached houses built by Coventry

– Greenmount Gardens by Bramalea Consolidated Developments

– Cumberland Manor by Bramalea Consolidated Developments

– Northgate by Bramalea Consolidated Developments – I am missing the following plans: Maui, Viking, Florence, Kingston, Eldorado, Oakland.

– Zero lot-line houses and adjacent townhouses

H-Section: 

– Zero lot-line houses and adjacent townhouses (I have some, but am missing quite a few, and I have none of the townhouse plans)

– Houses on Heatherington Place

– Sierra condos by Bramalea Limited

J-Section:

– Plans by DelZotto

– Kimber Park by Bramalea Consolidated Developments

– Portland Estates by Bramalea Consolidated Developments

K-Section:

– Any of the condominium plans

L-Section: 

– Moore Park by Bramalea Limited

– Whitehall at Bramalea – I grew up on Longbourne Crescent, so I am desperate to have these plans!

– Bramalea Estates Semis by Bramalea Limited

– Bramalea Woods South by Wycliffe

– Eastcrest homes on Leander Street

– Laura Drive and Lime Ridge Drive by Bramalea Limited

– Ladin Drive and Lupin Court  by Bramalea Limited

– Lakeride Drive and Lehar Court by Fram Building Group

– The 30′ lot houses by Broles on Leeward Drive

– Courtyards of Bramalea Woods

– Townhouses on Vodden Street at Parr Lake South

M-Section:

– Poplar Developments: parts of Maidstone Crescent and Mansfield Street

– Eastcrest Homes: area surrounding Maitland Street

– Georgian Group in Bramalea Estates

– Houses on Madras Place (perhaps LCD Homes or Senna Brothers…not sure)

– Bay Meadows by Bramalea Consolidated Developments (I have some plans, but not all)

– Ashton Crescent

– Northcliffe Gardens by Kerbel/Darcel on Moregate Crescent

– Cedar Glen townhouses by Bramalea Limited on McMullen Crescent and Guildford Crescent

– The Village Three by Bramalea Limited on Morley Crescent

– Sadler Oaks by Ashton Woods homes on Borden Hill Crescent and Wolverton Crescent

– Townhouses on Middleton Way

– Townhouses on Carisbrooke Court

N-Section:

– The Classic Edition by Bramalea Limited

– Nasmith Park by Bramalea Limited

– Montara Woods by Bramalea Limited

– Houses on southeast part of Nanport Street (builder unknown)

– Garden Series plans and corner designs from Montage on the Park by Bramalea Limited

P-Section:

– Water’s Edge by Lakeview Homes

Section without a letter:

– Orchard Place by Kerbel/Darcel on Carleton Place and Franklin Court

– Ritz Towers by Bramalea Limited

 

Thanks once again!

Bramalea, Canada’s First Satellite City

When Bramalea was first built, it created a buzz in the building and urban planning world. Conceived as Canada’s first satellite city, it was seen as a model community and a potential solution to unplanned suburban sprawl. Below are two articles from building-trade journals on early Bramalea.

Canadian Builder, August 1958:

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It is interesting that they believed that Bramalea would take 10-20 years to complete. In reality it took almost 40 years to fill in all of the land set aside for Bramalea, and in-fill pockets are still being completed.
005c

007

007a

Canadian Builder June 1961:

003 003a 004 004a

I am always astounded by the pace at which Bramalea was built in the early years. According to the caption above, 1000 houses were slated to be built in 1961.005

It is interesting that one of the first industrial buildings in Bramalea (shown above) was razed, and replaced with a 19-storey rental apartment building when the zoning of the land was changed.005aDoes the water tower still exist? I do not remember ever seeing it in my lifetime…

The latest in semi-deluxe kitchen design, circa 1960

If have you ever lived in the A-Section (or currently do), then you might recognize your kitchen layout in the five shown below. The article is from Canadian Builder in June 1960 and the designs are for Bramalea Consolidated Developments’ houses built that same year. Sadly, I am missing the floor plans for these houses – so if you have copies please let me know!

A lot has changed in the 54 years since these were the latest in kitchen design, and most have probably been re-worked at least once or twice since 1960. I worked for a while as a Realtor in Ottawa before returning to school, and always delighted at seeing a house for sale that had not been renovated since first built 50 or so years ago. Original kitchens are always fascinating as styles and technology were so different at that time.

When these houses were originally built it was considered an asset to have an enclosed kitchen, but recent renovations have probably removed some walls to open up the room. Counter space has probably also been added to make room for the ballooning number of counter-top appliances which are now commonplace. Today kitchens are the heart of the home, and they have moved from purely functional spaces to large and highly designed spaces. In comparison, to the 1960 buyer, these kitchens were the latest in modern design.

001 002

It is interesting to see how the kitchens have changed with time. Here are just a few examples of Bramalea kitchens over the years:

1977

The aptly named Greenhouse model by Bramalea Limited at Bramalea Estates (M-Section), c. 1977. The kitchen is open to a greenhouse breakfast room – also shown in the two images below. Also of note is the sliding glass door to the backyard which was not something common to 1960 kitchen design.

1977oct8

Toronto Star, October 8, 1977

1978apr15

Toronto Star, April 15, 1978

1978

The Cedarwood by Nu-West in Bramalea Estates (M-Section),  c.1978. There are no walls between the kitchen, nook and family room.

1979The Aruba at Sunrise Estates (M-Section) by Bramalea Limited, c. 1979. Here the kitchen is also open to the family room and there is a large island – presumably with a breakfast counter as there is no separate eating area.

1981

The King Stephen at King’s Row Limited Edition (L-Section) by Bramalea Limited, c. 1981. Again, the kitchen is open to the family room and there is a breakfast bar on the peninsula counter.

1982 a

The Lake 26 at Columbus Bay (P-Section) by Lakeview Homes, c. 1982. The breakfast room is also a solarium with wrap-around windows.

1982

The Lismer at Showcase 2000 (M-Section and section without a letter) by Bramalea Limited, c. 1982. A smaller kitchen, but notice that the counter with the sink is completely open to the family room.

1983 a

The Ultimate Rose at The Timeless Elegance of the Rose (L-Section) by The Rose Corporation, c. 1983. This is one of the largest floor plans in Bramalea. The kitchen has a very large island, two pantries and a large breakfast room. If you include the breakfast room, the kitchen is over 330 square feet, more than twice as large as the eat-in kitchens from the 1960 houses.

1983

The Dixie Rose at The Timeless Elegance of the Rose (L-Section) by The Rose Corporation, c. 1983. This luxurious kitchen has a walk-in-pantry, bay-windowed breakfast room and a built-in desk.

1984

The Nottingham at The Master’s Series in Deerchase (N-Section) by Bramalea Limited, c. 1982. The kitchen and breakfast room are open to the family room, only divided by a railing.

1985

The Vega at Trail Ridge (N-Section) by Bramalea Limited, c. 1985. The angular peninsula counter adds interest to this kitchen layout.

1987

The Santa Cruz  at Montara (N-Section) by Bramalea Limited, c. 1987. A completely open country kitchen.

1988 a

The Beachport at Emerald Cove (P-Section) by Bramalea Limited, c. 1988. An island, pantry, broom closet and bay-windowed breakfast room make this a deluxe kitchen for the time.

1988

The Bentley at Carriage Walk South (H-Section) by Bramalea Limited, c. 1988. Even this smaller townhouse kitchen is open to the family room via a railing and has a sliding glass door to the yard.

1988feb13_0001

Toronto Star, February 13, 1988

This advertisement for Nortonville Estates West (L-Section) by Broles Building Corporation, shows an open concept kitchen, complete with a breakfast bar.

By the time some of the last houses were being built in Bramalea kitchens had ballooned in size. A deluxe kitchen was open concept with a breakfast room (sometimes a greenhouse), pantry, island or peninsula counter, and plenty of counter space – all features uncommon in 1960. Times sure have changed!

The 1958 Master Plan for Bramalea

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This proposed map is actually a dozen pages in to the 1958 Master Plan for Bramalea, but I thought it would be an interesting starting point to present the pages from the portfolio. There are actually two slightly different versions of the Master Plan from the same year – at this point I will present one of the two. Please click on any of the images to make them larger.

The map above depicts the first plan of the satellite city with limited detail. The A and C-Sections were built as depicted, and part of the B-Section is correct. The rest was not built as planned. The proposal shows letter sections all the way up to “Y”, with an I and an O-Section, the two letter sections left out of Bramalea as built. I always wonder why those letters were left out. Just east of Montreal, the City of Brossard also has letter sections, but does have an I-Section (which is industrial!) and an O-Section.

The Bramalea City Centre was built in the location planned, but the service industry section became the H-Section and the prestige industry on Queen Street did not get developed as such. The proposed G, S and T sections became industrial creating what now is a J-shaped industrial belt on the edges of Bramalea. Also notice the proposed golf course in the present day J and P-Sections. The 1969 Master Plan showed this proposed golf course relocated to the L and N-Sections…and was never actually built anywhere in Bramalea.

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It was proposed that all of Bramalea would be built in a decade. In reality it took four times as long, and still continues to grow with in-fill neighbourhoods added with time.004

No high rises are show here, yet the next page explains that Bramalea was to have an urban atmosphere.005 006 007 008 009 010 011 012

It is interesting to read the 4th paragraph, which describes the almost utopian dream of Bramalea. No air pollution! Other early promotional material mentions that there would be no traffic congestion, smog or urban sprawl.014 015 016

“Some farms will be left intact” Hmm…does the barn at the petting zoo in Chinguacousy Park count?

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020 021 022 023

Close…but not exactly as built, especially the top-centre and left-side parts of the plan.024

Perhaps they shouldn’t have depended on the Avro Aircraft industry in Malton as a potential employer….
025 026 027 029Please feel free to add any comments, insights, or reactions to this founding document for Bramalea.