In the 1960s Chatelaine magazine built a series of showhomes annually to showcase the latest in housing design and technology. These houses were often built in various urban centres across the country, and twice the Toronto-area house was built in Bramalea. The first Bramalea house was built fifty years ago on Crescent Hill Drive South – which at the time was in the remote northern section of Bramalea.
Of the various Chatelaine Design Homes that I am aware of, the 1964 plan is by far the most unique design. It is interesting to see what was cutting-edge in design at the time.
When this house was built, Crescent Hill Drive was called Harlowe Hill Crescent and considered a part of Bramalea Woods. Today it stands apart as a unique area onto its own, removed from Bramalea Woods, and with larger lot sizes and custom-designed houses. I am not sure the reasoning behind the street name change. I have heard that Bramalea Woods was supposed to be the H-Section, thus the roads starting with the letter “H” in the area, but for some reason the surrounding area was later developed as the L-Section – with the H-Section eventually built to the east. In the end, Harlowe Hill Crescent would have been an appropriate name for a street in what became the H-Section.
The architect was Jerome Markson, who also designed the Concept 3 low-rise complex in the F-Section of Bramalea: Concept 3
To see the Chatelaine Design Home from 1965, visit my posting on the Estates of Bramalea Woods and scroll to the bottom of the page: Estates of Bramalea Woods
Toronto Daily Star, September 5, 1964
Below is an article from Canadian Builder magazine in August 1964:
When: Built circa 1983-1984
Where: Lombardy Crescent, Levine Court, Lambeth Street (parts)
Who: Built by The Rose Corporation
What I know: A few of the houses in this area are some of the largest in all of Bramalea. This is a sign of a trend across North America, where the average size of houses has grown with time. The largest plan, the Ultimate Rose is 4,000 square feet. This surpasses the size of the largest house built in the adjacent Estates of Bramalea Woods neighbourhood, which is under 3,000 square feet. In comparison, many of the houses in Bramalea south of Queen Street, built in the 1960s, are around 1,000-1,200 square feet.
Also of note are the widths of the lots in this area which are 50 feet wide (with a handful of 60 foot wide lots), narrower than most in the adjacent Bramalea Woods neighbourhood. While the houses are large, the lot widths are as wide or smaller than those in the original sections of Bramalea.
Inside, the designs are luxurious and reflect the trends of the time. One of the key features of luxury houses in the 1980s and 1990s are impressive foyers with curved or “Scarlet O’Hara” staircases and two storey spaces – something that nearly all of these houses have. All of the plans have a walk-in-closet in the master bedroom, as well as an ensuite bathroom. Only the larger designs have a tub and separate shower stall. In comparison, every house in Deerchase has a soaking tub, and the houses in The Masters Series in Deerchase all have the option to upgrade the ensuite bathroom to include one (http://goo.gl/MpaZ6l). This trend has continued to this day, with ensuite bathrooms ballooning in size – often becoming as large as a bedroom.
Toronto Star, January 14, 1984
Toronto Star, May 5, 1984
Community Spotlight: the L-Section
Over time I will be creating a separate post for each of the 14 letter sections in Bramalea (which go from A to P, with the exception of I and O). These posts will focus on each area as a whole and the particularities of the neighbourhood. I will draw upon historic documents and the master plans created for Bramalea – and how what was constructed differs from these original plans.
As with all parts of Bramalea, the L-Section has an extensive greenbelt system, but is unique in that it has two lakes: Parr Lake North and Parr Lake South.
According to the 1958 Master Plan, the area would have been split into the U-Section and parts of V and W sections.
1958 Master Plan
By 1962, documents for Bramalea show the area north of Bramalea Woods was to be developed as a golf course (including the present day N-Section), but by 1969 the area was earmarked for housing.
Toronto Daily Star, June 2, 1962
The L-Section is one of two sections (with the N-Section) which are next to Highway 410. The 1969 master plan shows the proposed highway in place, and early marketing documents refer to it as the planned “Bramalea Highway”.
Below is a portion of the map from the 1969 Master Plan showing the L-Section.
Here is a zoomed in and darker section of the area showing Bramalea Woods. At the time, it was the only pocket that was complete. Most of the A to G sections and parts of the J-Section were developed, or undergoing development when this master plan was produced. Thanks to the insights from a reader, the Bramalea Woods pocket was originally the H-Section, thus the street names starting with the letter “H” in the area.
Much of the Master Plan for the L-Section was not actually followed, including the locations of schools, with only 1 of the 5 proposed schools actually built. Three places of worship were built, which was more than the 2 planned. While 1 was indicated on the map, 2 neighborhood shopping centres (strip malls) were actually built.
A large swath of land at the corner of Dixie Road and Queen Street was set out to be high-density housing, and abutted by an area for medium-density housing. Instead, this land became the site of the Bramalea Baptist Church and single-family housing. Instead, the land on either side of Queen Street and Laurelcrest Road became sites for higher density housing with two condo towers and an enclave of townhouses. For many years these were the only high-density housing pockets in the area – although townhouses were recently built on Vodden Street at Parr Lake South, and a new multi-family development is being developed at Howden Boulevard and Dixie Road (on land originally set aside for a place of worship).
In 1975, the CNE lottery house was built in the L-Section on Locksley Place:
Below is a map showing the various development in the L-Section. My map is incomplete as I am missing the names of the following developments:
– Laura Drive and Lime Ridge Drive
– Ladin Drive and Lupin Court (my theory is that it is Sunrise Estates West, but I am unsure)
– Townhouses on Vodden Street at Parr Lake South
As with all areas, over time I will be publishing the plans and marketing material for the various areas in the L-Section, but I am missing a few key plans, which I would love to get copies of and post them on this blog. So, if you have them, please let me know! (Bramaleablog@gmail.com).
Missing L-Section plans:
– Moore Park (Bramalea Limited)
– Whitehall at Bramalea – I grew up on Longbourne Crescent, so I am desperate to have these plans!
– Bramalea Estates Semis (Bramalea Limited)
– Bramalea Woods South (Wycliffe)
– Eastcrest homes on Leander Street
– Laura Drive and Lime Ridge Drive
– Ladin Drive and Lupin Court (Bramalea Limited)
– Lakeride Drive and Lehar Court (Fram Building Group?)
– The 30′ lot houses by Broles on Leeward Drive
– Courtyards of Bramalea Woods
– Townhouses on Vodden Street at Parr Lake South
A Special thank you to my readers for sending me some of the plans I am missing!
From Moore Park:
When: Built circa 1981-1983.
Where: Langley Place, Linden Cresent (parts), Lindhurst Street, Lillington Street (parts), Lambeth Street (parts).
Who: Built by Bramalea Limited. Some houses built by Sena Brothers.
What I know: Most designs were offered in versions which would fit on 50, 60 and 75-foot wide lots. With wider lots, the garage is moved to the side.
The Anjou plan has a large studio over the garage which is also a feature of plans in Sterling Ridge in the M-Section (built earlier), and The Strand collection built in the J- and N-Section around the same time.
At the bottom of the post are the plans built by Sena Brothers scattered throughout the development.
Toronto Star, September 25, 1982
The Anjou is essentially the same design as the Chianti, only with the addition of a Master Retreat over the garage.
* * *
Sprinkled throughout the Connoisseur Collection are a handful of houses built by Sena Brothers Carpentry Inc.:
When: Built circa 1978-1980
Where: Lascelles Boulevard, Leander Street (North of Lascelles Boulevard)
Who: Built by Bramalea Limited
What I know: Begun in the 1970s, the area called Bramalea Estates is unique in that it includes parts of both the L-Section and the M-Section (including the portion that pops into the H-Section). Variations of these plans appear to also have been built in the J-Section.
I apologize that some parts of the plans are cut off, but these are the only versions of the plans that I have.
Toronto Star, September 8, 1979
Toronto Star, February 16, 1980
This is one of the few overtly contemporary/modern style houses in Bramalea. It has a very interesting open-concept layout – with 2 staircases – which is depicted in the second ad at the top of this post.
Where: Streets starting with an “H” in the L-Section
When: built circa 1967-1970
Who: Builder unknown (possibly Campbell Construction), The Chatelaine Design Home, and other custom plans: Bramalea Construction (Peel) Limited
What I know: Thanks to the insights from a reader, I now know that Bramalea Woods was originally built as the H-Section (thus the street names beginning with an “H”). The surrounding area later built as the L-Section was originally planned as a golf course. In the early 1970s the innovative zero lot-line houses built east of Dixie Road became the H-Section.
I only have 4 plans, but there are others in the area that I am missing. There are also custom-designed houses in the area.
Toronto Star, October 21, 1967
It is interesting to note that the top right house shown at the bottom of this ad is the 1964 Chatelaine Design Home, which was built in the Crescent Hill area on the other side of Dixie Road. At the time, though, they would have been the only other houses in this part of Bramalea. The 1965 Chatelaine Design Home, however, was built in Bramalea Woods, and is shown at the bottom of this post.
Toronto Star, September 4, 1965