Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Neighbourhood Spotlight - Briargreen

Southeast of Baseline and Greenbank Road in Nepean is the community of Briargreen, which was built during the 1960s. With only 2 access streets, the area has very little traffic with quiet tree-lined streets.

The area was built exclusively by Campeau and Minto, with the exception of a handful of houses on the extreme eastern edge which were built by Falconcrest Homes in the 1980s as a part of the Centrepointe community. The north, west and southern edges are bounded by streets with semi-detached houses, while the centre of the community is filled with detached houses.

I like to think of Briargreen as a sort of 'snapshot' of mid-century architecture in Ottawa. There is great variety in the styles of houses in the neighbourhood - from traditional to modern - often built side-by-side.

Minto-built houses - modern and traditional intermixed.

The different types of house designs found in Briargreen mirror what was popular at the time throughout the city. I will look at selected examples built by both Minto and Campeau.

Minto: Homes built by Minto are located in the southern and eastern part of Briargreen. 

Notice that there is only a 1-car garage - which was not out of the ordinary at the time.

 The facade of this design has a very traditional feeling. Often this design is referred to as the 'cape cod' - even though it was called the Saratoga.

 This design also has a very traditional facade with a centre-hall plan - very popular at the time. Certain areas, such as Guildwood Estates in the East end, are almost exclusively filled with centre-hall plan houses.
 One of Minto's few high ranch, or raised bungalow, designs. The facade has many traditional elements, yet the large picture window over the garage gives it a decidedly modern edge.

 A decidedly modern facade with corner windows and an off-centre chimney.

 This modern bungalow design has a family room overlooking the yard. This is of interest as many bungalows at the time did not have a family room on the main level.

 The Belmont is the most modern design built by Minto in Briargreen. It is based on early plans that were built in areas such as Crystal Beach.

 Two of Minto's Canadian House Design Council award-winning houses were built in Briargreen.

 The other award-winning design is below:

Minto's semi-detached designs in Briargreen included bungalows. While the shuttered facade is a knod to tradition, the large picture windows make a modern statement.

These Minto semi-detached plans have a certain modernity in their facades - especially the one on the left. The same plans were built in Parkwood Hills and Beacon Hill.

Campeau: While Campeau built in the Briargreen neighbourhood, it seems that they marketed it as a part of their established Leslie Park development, which is found on the west side of Greenbank Road. Perhaps they did this to distinguish themselves from the Minto homes.

 Mansard and Gambrel (barn) roofs were very popular in Ottawa during the 1960s and into the 1970s. Campeau built countless houses with such roof lines throughout the city. This particular one is an updated version of the Mansard roof line - which stradles tradition and modernity.

The Bonnechere plan pictured here had many variations that were built over the years. This is an early version with a single-car garage.

 Another example of a design with Mansard and Gambrel roof variations. This version of the Mansard roof (top left) is a more traditional take, compared to the roof on the Bonnechere.

 While this design offered a modern elevation option, only the two traditonal ones were built in Briargreen.

 Various semi-detached and 'Duette' (only attached by the garage) houses were built by Campeau in Briargreen. Notice the design with a Gambrel roof in the above image.

The 'Duette' designs are above and below.

Below is one of the handfull of semi-detached houses by Campeau that has a modern facade. These are by far the most modern houses that Campeau built in Briargreen.

Tradition and modernity coexist side-by side in Briargreen. Campeau homes shown below.


  1. You missed the Campeau Newport one of two similar split-level models. The split-level architecture very much evokes 60s-era style in my mind.

    1. Some of the Campeau plans built in Briargreen - including the Newport - can be found on one of my earlier postings:
      Happy reading!

    2. Any chance you have plans for Campeau bungalows in Carlingwood? We have one very similar to the "Normandie", but ours has no vestibule, the bedrooms are mirror-image and the stairs are in the kitchen.

  2. The Saratoga is more likely based on Quebec Revival than Cape Cod - three dormers and the roof extending over the entrance-way are the giveaways.

  3. Hello!

    first off thank you for publishing this gold mine of info. I own a Campeau Vermont back split, the plan of which you published here. I was wondering if you could produce a higher resolution of the floor plan, or perhaps suggest a place here I could find it.


    1. Hello Pierre,

      If you click on the "about me" link on the right of the page, there is a link to email me. I can then scan and email you higher quality version of the Vermont plan.

      Take care,

  4. Thanks for this great info. We are looking at houses in this neighbourhood and it is great to know the models. Thank you Saul.

  5. Do you have any plans or information on Minto's Algonquin model, built in 1972? What is the name of the subdivision Rivershore Crescent is located in?

    1. Hi there, I actually do not have any information on a Minto-built Algonquin plan...What area was it built in?

      Rivershore Crescent is in the Beacon Hill North area.


  6. Hi, great post! Do you have any information on the minto Sussex model built in the briargreen area. Also I was looking for reviews for minto during this area for quality etc. What was minto known for in the 60's?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks! Unfortunately, I am missing the Sussex floor plan in my collection - it is one of the few from the time that I do not have. I am not sure about the reviews in regards to the quality of construction at the time, but I do know that Minto was known for their award-winning designs in the 1960s.