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 has been a really long time since I published an installment in my “Anatomy of a Plan” series, so here is a new one!
During the early years of Bramalea, one of the more popular bungalow designs was called the Journey’s End. The layout had a lasting legacy in Bramalea, as many of the bungalow and back-split designs built over the years are a variation on this design.
The layout of the Journey’s End has an L-Shaped living and dining room combination, with the kitchen tucked in to the crux of the L shape and the entry and staircase beside the living room. At the back of the house are 3 bedrooms, with the bathroom located behind the kitchen. Much like many designs in Bramalea, the roots of such a layout can be found in the historic Foursquare plan for 2-storey houses (see the post on my other blog: The Enduring Foursquare). This 2-storey layout was essentially adapted to a one-storey design with the bedrooms placed behind the living spaces instead of above them. Please also see my older post on the Raised Bungalow in Bramalea.
A key feature of this design is that there is a back door located behind the staircase to the basement. As you will see, in later (and narrower) incarnations of this design a back door is not possible, so the only way to the back yard is often only through a side door. This is common issue with many bungalow and back-split designs with the bedrooms at the back of the house.
The basic layout of the Journey’s End was reproduced well in to the 1970s under different names, but with the same basic layout:
c. 1970-1972, G-Section.
The Journey’s End design was also adapted as a back-split. The layout is similar, except for the stairs are moved to the middle of the house to link the change in levels at the back of the plan. The door to the yard is now a side door tucked in behind the garage with access to the basement stairs.
c. 1964-1965, B-Section.
The Prides Fancy design below is slightly different as the bathroom is located behind the dining room, but still follows the same basic layout. Unfortunately, my only copy of the plan is cut off at the top.
In some of the back-split variations, the garage is moved to the living room side of the house.
The layout was also adapted as a semi-detached design in both bungalow and back-split versions, both with and without a garage. Notice how the Vanity Flair design does not have a back door to the yard; instead there is a side door near the front of the house.
Many semi-detached variations of the design have the bathroom behind the kitchen or staircase, yet the same L-shape arrangement of living and dining rooms remain.
By the 1980s the popularity of such a design for newly-built houses in Bramalea began to wane as bungalows and split level houses became less common. Yet, hints of the basic layout still appeared in some designs:
There are likely many other designs in Bramalea similar to the Journey’s End – these are just a sampling. If you know of any others, I would love to hear from you!
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.
Thirty or so years from now I am sure we will look back and muse about the standard features in houses built today!