Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Dream That Was

Hello readers! In addition to posting on my two blogs, 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 to my blog readers as it begins in the mid-century period and is inspired by real events as well as the development of the new city of 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 to the book: 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Century Manor

This post is a bit of a crossover with my other blog bramaleablog that is about the satellite city/new town of Bramalea, west of Toronto. The company that built the majority of Bramalea grew with time to become one of North America's largest real estate companies, but sadly went bankrupt in 1995.

During its heyday Bramalea Consolidated Developments Limited (later re-named Bramalea Limited) was involved in a few Ottawa condominium projects including The Riviera towers on Riverside Drive near Industrial, as well as the Century Manor towers as featured in this post.

Located at Baseline Road and Clyde Avenue in Copeland Park, these 3 similar buildings were constructed as a joint venture between the local company Aselford-Martin and Bramalea Consolidated Developments Limited. The plans that I have below are for Century Manor; the other two towers on the site are named Manor Square and Manor Garden. They were built between 1974-1976. 

This year (2016) units in the complex have sold from a low of $140,000 up to $250,000 for a large renovated unit.

Courtesy of Google Maps

As was typical of many condominium towers of the time, the buildings have plain facades and the units have straightforward layouts. That said, condominium units from this era are quite large in comparison to those found in newer buildings. In this complex all of the units have very large living rooms, adjacent dining rooms, kitchens with space for a small table, and in-suite storage. The layouts would have been somewhat luxurious at the time with the largest units having ensuite bathrooms and walk-in closets off of the master bedroom. 

A curious aspect of the larger plans is there is a second doorway to the units accessing the master bedroom or bedroom area. Typically a secondary entrance to a condo would be as a service door, but not to a bedroom, so I am not sure why these exist. 

The complex has amenities that include an indoor pool, saunas, workshop, outdoor pools and a tennis court. This "resort-style" condominium complex is something that Bramalea Limited popularized in the Toronto-area market - and expanded upon on a grand scale at the Riviera gated complex in Ottawa. 

As a footnote, I wanted to mention that Ottawa has a history of Toronto-based builders/developers working on local projects. Some have come to stay, while others retreated back to Toronto during harder economic times. Examples that have left the city include Tridel and Great Gulf Homes, while Monarch Homes stayed but is now a part of another Toronto based company, Mattamy Homes, that has entered the Ottawa market. Other Toronto-based newcomers include Urban Capital and Lamb Development Corporation.  

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Costain/Coscan Forestwood Collection

Costain,later renamed Coscan, used the title "Forestwood Collection" (some times spelled as two words: Forest Wood) on many of their plans for decades. At first the plans had names of trees, but this tradition changed with time. In later years it appears that plans included in this collection were all larger, on wide lots, and with two-car garages. I have included many in previous posts, but here are the ones I have from the late 1970s-early 1990s. A series of plans were also built under this banner later in the 1990s, and I will include them in a later post.

Below are the Forest Wood Series of plans from Katimavik in Kanata, c. 1978. This collection of plans has a 1970s contemporary style with wood accents and textures apropos for the look and feel of the architecture built in the area at the time. Some are variations of older Costain plans, but others are new designs. 

The designs below were built during the 1980s and early 1990s. Most of these plans were printed on 11 x 17 card stock and folded over with the plan name on the cover. They were built in a variety of neighbourhoods in Orleans, Kanata and Hunt Club. Some designs were built en-masse, while others are quite rare in built form. I have arranged them in alphabetical order.

Below are documents that I have associated with the Forestwood Collection/Series, including maps, site plans, price lists and standard features. This is far from a complete collection, but it is everything that I have.