Fortress Bramalea – an editorial

When Bramalea was first built, it was designed to have a sense of community, have housing for all “walks of life”, and to be a safe place to raise a family. As a part of the design, greenbelts interconnect the various neighbourhoods in the early phases, and they still provide routes to schools, recreation centres, places of worship and shopping. Houses backing on to these greenbelts connect with the surrounding neighbourhood on two fronts – the street and the greenbelt.


Toronto Daily Star. March 2, 1968.

Yet, somewhere along the line this sense of a larger interconnected community did not carry through in certain housing developments, so much so that walls were built around a number of pockets within Bramalea. This is especially the case for some of the townhouse complexes and towers built in the 1980s and 1990s. I do not mean to be critical of these enclosed enclaves (they are noteworthy designs in their own right), but I feel as though they do not align with the larger fabric of what Bramalea was supposed to be.



Carriage Walk condo. Toronto Star. September 12, 1987.

By design, these walled and gated complexes are either condominiums or rentals. Bramalea has a rich history of these types of housing developments, but they were designed and built in a very different way in the early years. For example, on Balmoral Drive at Dixie Road are Ontario’s first condominium townhouses. These units are completely open to the street and every much a part of the community as the detached and semi-detached houses in the area. Likewise, Bramalea’s first tower, Clark House (at 78 Braemar Drive), is open to the surrounding neighbourhood. There are fences on the sides and back to define the property boundary and create some privacy, but the front of the building is still open to the street.


Townhouses on Balmoral Drive. Some are condos and some are rentals. Courtesy of Google Maps.

With time, as condominium complexes added common amenities like pools and playgrounds there was a movement to define the boundaries with fences on all sides and even restricting access. Even so, there are ways to strike a balance between defining the boundaries, but also in staying connected to the greater neighbourhood beyond. Many of the fences around these complexes are metal and visually open, thus defining the boundary, but still not fully cutting off the houses within.


The Briar Path complex has metal fences that still visually connect the houses to the surrounding area. Notice how the units on the left do not even have wooden privacy fences in their rear yards. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Interestingly, The “Gates of Bramalea” complex has a gate posts and a wooden fence surrounding it, but the fence drops down to a lower height at the entry linking the houses to the community beyond.


The Gates of Bramalea at 475 Bramalea Road. Courtesy of Google Maps.

The Village in Bramalea townhouse condominium complexes in the G-Section have outdoor pools and playgrounds, yet they still manage to connect to the surrounding neighbourhood by turning the fronts of the houses on the edge towards the main street.


The Village in Bramalea. Builder brochure, c. 1975.


The Village in Bramalea. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Conversely, the two Carriage Walk condominium townhouse complexes, built years later in the H-Section, turn their backs to the neighbourhood and have large walls surrounding the edges with “no trespassing” signs at the entry points.


Carriage Walk. It is hard to even see the houses. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Bramalea Oct 2006 036

Carriage Walk entry post. Photo by author.

The most disconected developments in Bramalea are the condominium towers with gatehouses. These gated enclaves restrict access by the public, yet the residents in the towers can visually monitor the public realm from their heights. There is something fortress-like about the whole concept, cutting off the residents from the fabric of the surrounding community.


Laurelcrest Condo gatehouse. Courtesy of Google Maps.


Bellair condominiums gatehouse. Courtesy of Google Maps.

Instead of being connected through greenbelts to greater Bramalea and its public recreational amenities, like the earlier phases of the city, these walled and gated communities have their own private parklands and amenities.


Toronto Star. April 1, 1989.

I am curious as to why things changed along the line and these types of housing developments were built in Bramalea. Was it simply a marketing tool by the builder? Is it more prestigious to have a wall or gatehouse? Is there truly a need for security in Bramalea? Are these complexes actually safer?

I am curious to know what my readers think, so please feel free to comment!


Toronto Star. April 19, 1986.


Toronto Star. November 19, 1988.

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

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!):


– Any of the homes in the A-Section


– Bramalea Hamlet

– Townhouses on Briar Path

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

– Townhouses on Balmoral Drive


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


– Townhouses by Jannitt on Darras Court

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


– 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


– 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


– 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


– 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


– Plans by DelZotto

– Kimber Park by Bramalea Consolidated Developments

– Portland Estates by Bramalea Consolidated Developments


– Any of the condominium plans


– 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


– 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


– 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


– 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!

The Villages of Central Park – Canada’s First Zero Lot-Line Housing

When: Built circa 1972-1975

Where: Large parts of the H-Section, and parts of the G and J sections.

Who: Bramalea Consolidated Developments Limited, Cadillac Development Corporation Limited, Consolidated Building Corporation Limited, DelZotto Enterprises Limited, Victoria Wood Development Corporation Inc.

What I Know: I would argue that these houses are some of the most unique in all of the country, both for the architecture and the way that they are sited on the lots.

The designs won an honourable mention in the 1976 Canadian Housing Design Council Awards. Many articles were written on the project in architectural and building-trade journals when it was first built, which have been reproduced in this posting.

There is really so much to write about these innovative houses. At the bottom of the post is an excerpt from my Master’s thesis on Bramalea, regarding the history of the zero lot-line houses.

One interesting aspect of the zero lot line houses can best be seen from above. Below are a series of images that show the fascinating landscape (click on them to make the image larger):


This image shows the two different types of layouts – the ones on the left side are more common, while the right side of the photo shows a more random layout of houses on a few select streets in the H-Section. Courtesy of Google Mapshuntington

While all of the houses have unusual siting with the zero lot-line concept, perhaps the most interesting are the ones where the houses are at oblique angles to the road. These few streets look like the houses were thrown down randomly on the land, like a child may do with his/her set of blocks. Courtesy of Bing Maps


Another view of the randomly placed houses in the H-Section. Courtesy of Bing Maps oll plots

This image shows the lot-lines, which are most unusual when the houses are at angles to the road. Courtesy of Brampton Maps


There are many different variations of the facades – too many to show them all here. The image above is a good representation of the type of architecture found in the zero lot-line areas. Common to many of the houses is an asymmetrical roof (which often wraps down one side of the house), a mixture of materials on the facade (brick, different colour siding), uneven window placement (such as the two different sized windows on the side of the house) and blank facades. three

Another view showing the blank facades, uneven roof lines and seemingly random window placement.


Some of the houses have more traditionally inspired facades, but the placement of the houses in relation to each other is far from traditional. The two white houses in the centre of the image are at right angles to each other.

The following section has newspaper articles and advertisements, as well as historic journal articles on the area and houses:


Toronto Star, September 12, 1972b72sept12

Toronto Star, September 12, 1972


Globe and Mail, September 12, 1972 c72dec8 gm

Globe and Mail, December 8, 1972 d74jul11

Toronto Star, July 11, 1974

74nov1 gm

Globe and Mail, November 1, 1974e75sept6

Toronto Star, September 6, 1975


Page 63 from Zero lot line housing by David R. Jensen, 1981.b

Canadian Building magazinec

Canadian Building magazine


Canadian Building magazine, July 1971

d e f


Canadian Building magazine, December 1972

i j k

Canadian Building magazine, May 1975


Canadian Building magazine


The Canadian Architect, November 1972


Canadian Housing Design Council Awards 1976.

I only have a few plans for the houses, but would love to get my hot little paws on more. If you have any, please let me know!
006 007 008

Below is an excerpt from my Master’s thesis on Bramalea, regarding the zero lot-line houses:

In the early 1970s, two hundred acres of land were made available in Bramalea by the Ontario Housing Corporation to build affordable housing. According to the master plan, the land was originally set aside for townhouses, which were believed to be the best solution to affordable housing. This plan was changed in 1972 in favour of a mixture of housing, but no specifics were outlined at the time.[1] In order to cut costs, building and planning standards were examined and decisions made as to how to build the most affordable housing. As a result, the Ontario Housing Corporation examined the standard lot size and lot setback standards for detached houses. At the time, the front-yard setback was twenty-five feet from the road, with four-foot side-yard setbacks. It was decided that these spaces were often underused, and thus could be eliminated, thus paving the way for the first application of  the zero lot-line concept in Canada.[2]

The idea of zero lot-line planning was based on the fact that there were to be no setbacks, which meant that a house could be located right on the lot line of the property. Whereas the suburban tradition was to place a house in the centre of a lot, the new concept meant that a house could be placed on either the front, back, or side edge of a lot. The lot could be smaller, with most a mere thirty-by-eighty feet in size, in contrast to the standard fifty-by-one-hundred foot lot for detached houses in 1960s Bramalea. In some cases the lot was not a traditional rectangle, but a multi-faceted irregular shape. By the end of 1972, the first of 2,400 houses were set to be built. The development was titled The Villages of Central Park, and all the houses were located on cul-de-sacs. This made the development very suburban in nature. Since these houses were detached, they fit in with the suburban dream of owning a house of one’s own.

With the assistance of the Government of Ontario’s H.O.M.E. (Home Ownership Made Easy) Plan, the houses were offered at an extremely low price. To make the houses even more affordable, the land was not owned, but leased from the Ontario Housing Corporation for up to fifty years. However, the homeowner had the option of buying the land outright after five years.[3]

In September 1972, construction began on the first six hundred and sixty-four houses of The Villages of Central Park. It was anticipated that these houses would take a year to sell, but in fact they sold out in just six weeks. A waiting list then had to be established for the forthcoming phases. By the middle of 1973, there were well over one thousand names still on the list. The builders had no way of keeping up with the huge demand for the houses, so the list had to be cut off for the next few years to allow those already on it to purchase a home within in the development.[4] By 1974, there had been 1,700 lot-line houses built, with the final 700 in the project slated for completion that year. For the thousands still on the waiting list wanting the remaining 700 houses, a lottery was held to pick names. Those on the list had the option of paying a fee of $100 to enter it, or dropping off the list. If their name was drawn from the lottery, the potential homeowner was shown the available houses and had to make a decision on the spot to purchase.[5] Some stipulations were attached to the purchase, such as that the buyer had to live in the house and not rent it out. In addition, the house could not be sold for five years without the permission of the Ontario Housing Corporation.[6]

Perhaps the most curious aspect of the developments was not the placement of the houses on the lot, but the style of the houses themselves. An array of very contemporary features distinguished the basic rectangular shape of the houses in The Villages of Central Park. The most striking element was the uneven roofline of most of the houses. While a traditional gable roof had the peak at the centre, these houses had the peak placed off-centre allowing two different angles of the roofline, one usually very steep. In some cases the roof rolled down the side of the house and ended at the bottom of the upper level windows. When the house was turned so that the gabled end faced the road, the profile of the roof was unlike anything one would expect in a suburban context.

Secondly, the window arrangement of the zero lot-line houses was unusual, especially by suburban standards. On many of the houses, irregular spacing and window sizes were found on any given façade. For privacy reasons with the zero lot-line arrangement, houses had a windowless façade on the side that sat on the lot line. In some cases, the front of the house, which faced the street, was void of any openings, save for the front door.

Most people had preset notions of what a house was to look like, especially in the suburbs. The uneven rooflines and irregular window placement of the zero lot-line houses were unlike anything that had been built en masse before in residential architecture. Many of the façades of the houses in The Villages of Central Park have since been altered over the years. To make them more “suburban” in style, homeowners added regular shaped windows, windows on walls which had been bare, as well as window boxes and shutters. Even so, the majority of the houses retain their quirky exteriors.

[1] “Home in Brampton for $750 down payment,” The Toronto Star,1 January 1972, p.43.

[2] “Ease rigid municipal standards to cut costs, builders ask,” The Toronto Star, 3 June 1972, p.25.

[3] Toronto Star12 September 1972, p.67.

[4] Toronto Star18 April 1974, p.A6.

[5] Toronto Star11 July 1974, p.A21.

[6] Saulius Svirplys, Bramalea: The History of its Architecture and Built Environment (Gatineau: Saulius Svirplys, 2005).

Addendum May 7, 2017:

I recently found these pages in my files on Bramalea:




Pickwick Village

When: Built circa 1972

Where: Grassmere Cresent and Glenforest Road (parts). Possibly Greendale Place and Glenforest Road (parts).

Who: Derrydown Developments

What I Know: The designs in this area appear to be based on best-selling layouts from the time. Similar plans were built in and around Peel Village in Brampton by other builders. It is interesting to note that every plan is a split level design (back-split, side-split and split level entry). In all cases, this allows for the basement level to be partially above ground, with larger windows to bring in light.

It appears that Greendale Place and the adjacent parts of Glenforest Road are another phase of this neighbourhood, with slightly different facade options.


Toronto Star, April 8, 197272apr21

The Globe and Mail, April 21, 1972


002 003 (2) 004

The “temporary entry” on the site plan became the location of a hydro sub-station and the blank portion on the site plan was eventually filled in with houses. Also, the builder constructed houses on the east side of Glenforest Road as well, even though this site plan does not show them.006 a b c d e f g h i j

Anatomy of a Plan: A Trendsetter Before its Time


At the end of the 1990s, there began a major change in the way that many suburban houses were designed in the Greater Toronto Area. This was a change from the type of houses which started to be built in the 1980s characterized by a protruding garage. By the late 1990s the so called ‘wide lot’ houses with the garage recessed into the massing of the structure became popular. This allows for the house itself to be closer to the road. The builder Mattamy Homes was one of the first to promote such ‘wide lot’ designs for whole subdivisions starting around 1997, but almost two decades earlier, Bramalea Limited began building these trend-setting houses in many Bramalea communities.

Beginning at the end of the 1970s Bramalea Limited offered 1 or 2 such recessed-garage designs in certain communities. These plans were built next to houses with protruding garages, but were effective in breaking up what could otherwise be a monotonous streetscape.

The first series of houses presented below are the most common type built by Bramalea Limited, and have a completely flat front. Since the second floor is smaller than the main level and pulled to the front of the house, there is a ‘tail’ where the main floor sticks out at the back. The facades are almost symmetrical and reminiscent of a Georgian centre-hall plan – although one side of the main floor is the garage.

There are two main plans from this particular series, one at 1774 square feet, and another at 2040 square feet, built on 36 or 38-foot wide lots. They were built in various parts of Bramalea –  sometimes with slight tweaks in the plan and facade, while in other cases the exact same plan was built in various areas.

1774 1774p

Sunset, N-Section, c. 1983-19851774g


Sunset on Greenmount, G-Section, c. 1984



Manorcrest, M-Section, c. 1984



Sunset on Greenmount, G-Section, c. 1984

2040S 2040sp

Sunset, N-Section, c. 1983-1985 2040t 2040tp

Trail Ridge, N-Section, c. 1985-1987

It is interesting that the Bramalea versions of these houses were all quite similar. The company commonly built identical houses in Pickering, but in a few of Bramalea Limited’s other neighbourhoods the houses had very different facades for the same plans. Below is their plan for a development in Unionville, which is completely different from those at Bramalea:

001 002

Fairfields, Unionville, c. 1986

There are wider variations of the houses with a recessed two-car garage and flat fronts. The asymmetry is sometimes offset with a split facade, where the portion with the garage is recessed.

g h

Sterling Ridge, N-Section, c. 1980-1981W4


Sunrise Estates, M-Section, c. 1979-1980


The Strand by the Lake, J-Section, c. 1981-1982 and The Strand by the Park, N-Section, c. 1982-1983

Other narrow variations of recessed-garage houses were also built, but in these examples the front facade is not completely flat. As such, some have the ‘tail’ of the main floor sticking out behind, while others have the main floor protruding out in front of the house.



Sunrise Estates, M-Section, c. 1979-1980


Professor’s Lake South, J-Section, c. 1979-1980023

Super Singles Sale, M-Section, c. 1979



Showcase 2000, M-Section and section without a letter, c. 1982 


Highland Park, H-Section, c. 1984

Today, houses with a recessed garage the norm in new subdivisions. Some of the most recent additions to Bramalea – namely the infill pockets of houses on New Hampshire Court, Locksley Place/Hillside Drive – all have recessed garages. Perhaps the inspiration for such plans came from those that Bramalea Limited started building 35 years ago.

The G-Section

g logos

Community Spotlight: the G-Section

The G-Section is spatially broken up into 4 quadrants, each centred on a school and a greenspace. Central Park Drive bisects the area, with Grenoble Boulevard and Glenvale Boulevard completing the segmentation of the area. Furthermore, a ring road – with 4 different names – circles the area and has crescents and cul-de-sacs leading off of it.


By far the majority of the G-Section was built in the 1970s, with only a couple of in-fill pockets completed later.


1958 Master Plan

According to the original Master Plan, the G-Section would have been the M-Section, and the southern portion was zoned for prestige industries. Instead, the T-Section which was proposed to the east, became the location of industries and the south end of the area was built as residential.

Below are two versions of the 1969 Master Plan map. The darker version is missing portions, but the other copy is complete.

G cut

legend G

In general, the plan was followed, with schools, shopping and places of worship built in the locations as proposed. In total, there are 5 schools, 3 places of worship, 1 recreation centre (which was not proposed on this plan), 2 neighbourhood shopping plazas, and 1 gas station.

There are a few differences as follows:

– The zero lot line houses were built on land that was planned to be developed with townhouses. Most of the H-Section was also supposed to be townhouses, but the high density of the zero-lot line houses was deemed appropriate and more desirable.

– The townhouses at 900 and 1020 Central Park Drive were built on land slated for low-rise medium density housing (apartments).

– The Sunset on Greenmount area (Greendust Court and Granby Court) built in 1984 was on land originally set aside for a public school.

– The northeast corner of Central Park Drive and Grenoble Boulevard was planned as commercial and high-density housing. A shopping centre was built, but the high-density housing was not. Instead the Graham Court townhouses were tucked in behind.

–  I am not sure why Griselda Crescent was not completed as planned (it was supposed to link up to what is now Glen Echo Court). The Salvation Army Community Church fronting on Bramalea Road was built on land originally planned as residential.

Below is a map showing the various developments in the G-Section:

G neighbourhoods

I have a few lingering questions about the G-Section, that perhaps my readers can answer:

– I know that the zero lot-line houses in the H-Section were marketed as the Villages of Central Park. Were they also sold under that banner in the G-Section? (I know that the houses with garages on Gailwood, Garland, Gailgrove were marketed as Greenmount Gardens and originally rentals).

– My map shows most of the east side of the G-Section as Cumberland Manor. Was that whole area sold under that title?

– I believe that most of Portland Estates is in the J-Section, but was part of the area also in the northeast G-Section?

– Was Greendale Place and the adjacent part of Glenforest Road sold as another phase of Pickwick Village by Derrydown Developments, but with different facade options?

Sadly, I am missing a few key plans for the G-Section, which I would love to get copies of and post them on this blog. So, if you have them, please let me know! ( They are as follows:

– Plans built by Del-Zotto

– Bramble Tree Hamlet (built by Coventry): Gatwick Lane, Greenwich Circle, Gloucester Place

– Semi-detached houses built by Coventry

– Greenmount Gardens: Gailwood Court, Garland Court, Gailgrove Court

– Cumberland Manor

– Zero lot-line houses and adjacent townhouses

The Village(s) in Bramalea

When: Built circa 1975-1976

Where: 900 and 1020 Central Park Drive. Similar plans on Morley Crescent (houses facing Mackay Street N).

Who: Built by Bramalea Consolidated Developments Limited

What I know: The Village in Bramalea was built in two phases in the G-Section. In 1977 The Village Three was begun in the M-Section which appears to have the same plans along Mackay Street N, with houses with garages on Morley Crescent. The houses in the Cedar Glen complexes (McMullen Crescent and Guildford Crescent) also appear to have similar plans on the outer edges of the areas, but with different facades.

Often called “garden homes” these houses without garages are interspersed throughout common green spaces with parking lots clustered in certain areas. In The Village Three, the fronts of the houses face the arterial road and the parking is behind the backyards. 

The rows are made aesthetically interesting with the various different styles of each house.

Each complex has an outdoor pool and children’s play area. Nearly all of the condominium townhouse complexes built around this time in Bramalea have an outdoor pool.


Toronto Star, November 1, 1975. 


Toronto Star, December 6, 197675dec13

Toronto Star, December13, 1975


Toronto Star, January 3, 1976


Toronto Star, February 7, 1976

77jn4 M

Toronto Star, June 4, 1977 (M-Section)


Toronto Star, September 3, 1977 (M-Section)


Toronto Star, September 24, 1977 (M-Section)


Toronto Star, October 29, 1977 (M-Section)

001 002 003 0041020 Central Park Drive site plan.

The 1958 Master Plan for Bramalea


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.


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?

017 018 019

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.

Anatomy of a Plan – The raised bungalow in Bramalea

Starting in the late 1970s a design was premiered in Bramalea that was essentially a re-imagined version of some of the very first houses built in the area. This design was of a raised bungalow with an L-shaped living and dining room layout. This plan appeared in various incarnations across Bramalea over the following decade.


The main level layout (the top floor) shown below has an L-shaped living and dining room and intersecting kitchen, with three bedrooms and a bathroom behind.


The roots of this room arrangement can actually be traced back to the Victorian era, but became most popular with the foursquare designs built en-masse beginning early in the 20th century. These square or rectangular designs often had an L-shaped living and dining room layout on the main floor (although some had the two back to back). The Foursquare can be seen across the continent, including the historic downtown of Brampton. (For more on the foursquare please visit my other blog:


Aladdin mail order house, c. 1930

The foursquare design became the basis for many of the 2-storey houses in Bramalea – with an L-shaped living and dining room arrangement.


Southgate Village, c.1965-1967. D-Section (also built in the B-Section).


Northgate, c.1970-1972. G-Section.

The L-shaped living and dining room layout was also very common in bungalow designs in the mid-20th century in North America. It can be said that these designs were an adaptation of the Foursquare by essentially putting the upper and lower floors side-by-side, and removing the 4th bedroom. In some cases a bedroom was next to the kitchen, while in others the bathroom or stairway abutted the kitchen.


Bramalea, c.1959-1960. A-Section.


Bramalea, c.1959-1960. A-Section.


Westgate, c.1964-1965. B-Section.


Bramalea, c.1959-1960. A-Section.

The Windsor plan above is very similar to the later raised bungalow designs in Bramalea, except for the placement of the stairs. It was unique in that the narrow side faced the road. With the luxury of wide suburban lots, builders maximized the sense of a sprawling house with the long side commonly towards the street.



Southgate Village, c.1965-1967. D-Section.

The plan above is of a raised bungalow, and the two car garage on the lower level foreshadows the raised bungalow designs which became popular later.

The general layout of these bungalows could be adapted to the split-level house – both detached and semi-detached.


Bramalea, c.1959-1960. A-Section.


Twingate, c. 1962-1965. C-Section.

Beginning in the late 1970s, this bungalow layout was rotated to fit a narrower lot width, and then the plan was raised up a level so that at two-car garage could be placed under the main living level. It was acceptable to build houses without garages in the early years of Bramalea, but by the time the raised bungalow appeared a garage was a must.

The front section shown below is similar to the main floors common in a Foursquare plan and early Bramalea bungalows:


The back of the house has a layout similar to the upper levels of 3-bedroom Foursquare plans, or the bedroom wing of a bungalow:


The resultant design was built in many Bramalea communities by Bramalea Limited, each time with subtle variations.

There are two general versions of the main (upper) level. One is larger with an ensuite bathroom and walk-in-closet off the master bedroom, plus a breakfast area off the kitchen. The other version has one bathroom on the main level. In all versions one of the bedrooms is behind the kitchen.

There are a handful of ground level layouts all with a family room, but some have a bedroom and full bath as well. It appears that only one version has a basement below this ground level. Below are the various incarnations of the plan:

W1 W1P

Sunrise Estates and Sunrise Estates West, c. 1979-1980. M-Section and L-Section.W9W9P

Sunrise Estates and Sunrise Estates West, c. 1979-1980. M-Section and L-Section.

005 005a

The Heritage Series, c.1980-1982. N-Section.


Showcase 2000, c.1982. M-Section, section without a letter.

006 007

Sunset in Bramalea, c.1983-1985. N-Section.



Sunset on Greenmount, c.1984. G-Section.

008 009

Trail Ridge, c.1985-1987. N-Section.

The L-shaped arrangement of living and dining room also became common for other plans in Bramalea, including some townhouses, where these rooms were located across the back of the house with the kitchen in the centre of the house (often behind the garage). It was also the arrangement of the 1970s semi-detached house I lived in as a child in the L-Section.