Skip to main content

Costain in Ottawa - Part One: Blackburn Hamlet (Detached Homes)

Some of my long-time readers may remember that I did a series of posts on Costain a few years ago. For some reason, a few of my older posts have vanished from my blog - for reasons unknown to me. So, I have re-created this post on the builder Costain due to interest from some of my readers. On the positive side, I have been able to get my hot little paws on some new floor plans and marketing material, so there is more material in this post compared to the original (now lost) post!

In the mid-1960s the builder Costain (originally from England, but with an impressive global portfolio) came to Ottawa to develop a new hamlet in the eastern greenbelt called Blackburn Hamlet. 















Today Blackburn Hamlet is very lush with mature trees and extensive parkland, surrounded by the NCC Greenbelt. The west side of Blackburn Hamlet has 3 neighbourhoods separated by parkland, Westpark, Southpark and Centrepark. The Northpark and Eastpark neighbourhoods are located to the east, and I believe that this area was developed after the west side. South of Innes Road is another area that is predominantly townhouses, with detached houses on the east side.




Costain's portfolio of house designs in Blackburn Hamlet grew over the years (they built in the area well in to the 1970s), some of which were also built in their Orleans development. This post will focus on detached houses built in Blackburn Hamlet in particular, but some of the designs were built in Orleans. The older designs are presented first, with later additions below - you will notice a change in the design of the floor plan brochures. I was recently able to get a hold of some Costain plans from Erin Mills in Mississauga from the 1970s and many of the designs are similar to those built in Ottawa during the same time. 

I have collected these plans over a number of years and some are of better quality than others. I may also be missing a handful of plans, so if any of my readers have copies of better quality plans or missing plans, I would love to share them - so please let me know! 

In terms of house prices, Costain-built detached houses in Blackburn hamlet average around $460,000 (based on sales between April 2015-April 2016). Some smaller designs have sold in the $300,000 range and some larger and fully renovated designs selling in the high $500,000s, with premiums being paid for those backing on to the greenbelt.


















































Stay tuned for more posts on Costain, including their townhouse/carriage home designs and their developments in Orleans.




Comments

  1. Hey Paul, great post as usual.

    I thought I'd post a few tidbits from some thesis readings that pertains to Costain. It's about land development and monopolization patterns transitioning from the 1960s to 1970s. The stats at the end are the bit about Costain. Before this I would have figured Costain had grown as a local builder, would not have guessed they came over as an international firm.

    From Peter Spurr's 'Land and Urban Development - A preliminary Study, 1976
    “A regional planning study undertaken in 1958 concluded that new developments would occur outside the greenbelt along major approach roads. By the early 1960's, the regional population approached the 500,000 level Greber forecast for the year 2000, and while vacant land remained within the greenbelt, its price was escalating rapidly.”

    “The east-west expressway had terminated at the Greenbelt's interior edge but it seemed clear that it would extend to leave the greenbelt near the March-Goulbourn boundary to the west, and at the Orleans area to the east. Accordingly, developers began assembling large tracts at these exit points and along the highways immediately south of the greenbelt near manotick on the Rideau River. In 1963 a second planning study showed large scale future growth at the eastern, southern and particularly the western greenbelt limits. In 1964, the NCC produced a population projection which located 65,000, 120,000, and 180,000 people in these respective nodes by the year 2001.”


    “Co-incident with this planning activity, developers had continued to assemble land at the three nodes and by 1965 the major firms had about 20 years supply in hand.”

    “Institutionalized concentration of ownership is evident:
    -In the western node where Campeau Corporation's “Kanata” plan would house 65,000 people on the 3,200 acres, the regional goal is to accommodate 100,000
    -In the eastern node where richard costain (Canada) Ltd's “Convent Glen” is to house 30,000 on 790 acres, the regional target is 35,000.
    -In the southeastern and southwestern nodes would each contain 100,000 people – the former is 4,500 acres owned by the Ontario Housing Corporation while the latter is primarily owned by the Campeau Corporation and Jockvale Reality.”

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,

    I really like your blog! While I was driving around Ottawa yeaterday, I saw a mid century house of Sherbourne Road. I think the address is 638 Sherbourne. Can you tell me anything about this house?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      I suspect that house was built by Teron as a handful of the houses in that neighbourhood were built by the builder. I wrote a bit about this pocket in an older post: http://modernrealtor.blogspot.ca/2011/03/california-modern-in-ottawa.html

      Take care,
      Saul

      Delete
  3. Hi,

    I lived in a Silver Maple and always thought it was the mansard-roofed version of the Mountain Ash but your floorplan of it (same B# as the MA) has an astist's concept that looks identical to the MA. I wonder if the SM could be considered a minor refresh of the MA, like the Sycamore is of the Crimson King.

    Did you ever get a floorplan of Sandbury Homes' "Renaissance" model in Orleans' Fallingbrook area? That 80s house design floored me when I first saw the kitchen and the master bedroom. A realtor created a Youtube video of a Renassiance for sale and it still looks big. 3500+ square feet.

    Thanks.
    Victor

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Victor,

      It is likely that the SM is a minor refresh of the MA.

      I do have the floor plan for the Sandbury Renaissance. If you would like you can email me through the contacts link on the blog and I can email you a copy.

      Take care,
      Saul

      Delete
  4. Hi: Did you find any information on the drainage systems installed in the woods behind Beechmont and Oakhurst Crescents when the houses were built in 1972? These were designed to take winter runoff to the city sewer system thus preventing large pools of stagnant water from forming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting! I have not come across any information on the drainage systems with the floor plans and marketing material I have for Blackburn Hamlet.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for the great blog. We love our Knotty pine, but are hoping to convert it to a Juniper (with MBR shower)...thought the shower was a build option but now I See they called it a new model.

    Anyway, minor typo:

    The west side of Blackburn Hamlet has 3 neighbourhoods separated by parkland, Westpark, Southpark and Centrepark. The Northpark and EASTpark neighbourhoods are located to the east, and I believe that this area was developed after the west side

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have been looking for the plans for my home, which I think is a Linden. Do you have an idea where I should look. You seem to have almost everything else.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello,
    Your information about the Hamlet is delightful. I have inherited my parent's Mountain Ash on Centrepark Drive, which was purchased in the summer of 1970 from Costain. Would you have a price list from that time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just posted the price sheets that I have at the end of the post!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Most viewed posts

Campeau in Alta Vista

One of the biggest builders in Ottawa during the 1950s and 1960s was Campeau Construction, a name still known today, even though the builder is no longer active. Many of the houses in Alta Vista were custom built, but Campeau was one of the first builders to construct tract homes in the area. Beginning in the 1950s Campeau began building houses southwest of Kilborn Avenue and Alta Vista Drive, north of Randall Avenue. At the time, bungalows and one-and-a-half storey houses were most popular. Many of the “Victory Houses” built by Wartime Housing Ltd. for returning veterans after WWII were one-and-a-half stories, and the style soon became very popular for all builders. Below are some of Campeau's one-and-a-half storey plans built in the area:


With time, the one-and-a-half storey house became less popular, and bungalows and split-level houses became the norm. An easy way to determine the age of houses on a street in Alta Vista is to look at the style of the houses. If there are many on…

Modern Mansard - The Neo-Mansard Roof

Throughout the mid-century, the Mansard roof was popular in Ottawa housing design. 
First popularised in France during the 17th century, and then revived in the 19th century, the roof style re-appeared in Ottawa during the 1960s. At first the roof was used on historically-inspired houses, but was eventually altered in a variety of ways to have a more modern take on tradition.
Campeau was the builder who used the roof the most in the mid-century, but other builders also followed suit. A traditional use of the Mansard roof. Playfair Park North/South, Russell Heights, c. 1965. This plan had a traditional Mansard option as well as 2 Dutch Colonial options with a Gambrel roof. Beacon Hill and South Keys, c. 1967.




Here is a great example of a modern take on the Mansard roof. Instead of protruding dormer windows with arched tops, these houses have an inset window and an asymmetrical facade. From the side, the roof actually has more of a Gambrel-style silhouette.
These unique courtyard houses were …

The bungalow staircase

California spearheaded the popularity of the bungalow (or ranch home), in mid-century North America. In California, basements are rare. During WWII and immediately afterward, some Ottawa houses were built without basements to save costs. But, the appeal of having a basement as extra room for storage and expansion space, meant that the basementless house did not last long.

Having a basement meant that California-inspired designs had to be adapted to allow room for a staircase down. The placement of the basement stairs in bungalow design is sometimes a challenge. With a two-story house, often the staircase is located in the front hall, but this is not the case with many bungalows. While a staircase up leads to finished rooms on the upper floor, the staircase down to the basement was historically linked to service spaces. Basements in older houses were more utilitarian, so there was no need to have the basement stairs on display like the stairs to the upper floors. A staircase down also …

California Modern in Ottawa

During the mid-century era, California became the epicentre of modern design. From the architect-designed case-study houses, to the mundane tract house, all eyes were on California. In Canada, books and periodicals on architecture filled with Californian design would have sparked the imagination of Architects and designers.

When one thinks of Mid-Century Modern (MCM) California tract housing, the name ‘Eichler’ often comes to mind. Perhaps one of the most famous MCM tract builders, Joseph Eichler, defined MCM design in the United States. His widely-published designs even captured the imagination of Canadians. Any designer/architect in the know would have seen an Eichler plan. In Ottawa, there are a few examples of houses built in the 1960s with floor plans that could have been influenced by those being built by Eichler. The most famous Eichler-built designs are those with an open-air atrium at the centre.
One of the floor plans built by Teron in Beaverbrook during the 1960s features wha…

CMHC house designs from the mid-century

Between 1947 and 1974 the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), formerly Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, published regular floor plan books of small houses suitable to be built in Canada. Blueprints could be ordered for the architect-designed plans, and examples of the built houses can be found throughout Ottawa.

There are so many interesting plans that were available through the CMHC, so this is only the first posting with some of my favourites.
If you recognise any of these designs that have been built in Ottawa (or elsewhere in Canada), please feel free to share the location with me!
I have always been a fan of the butterfly roof!


Although there are no front facing windows on the above design, the cedar shake cladding makes for a very interesting facade. The architect was based out of Kanata, and I could easily see this house fitting into the natural landscape of Beaverbrook - although I don't think it was actually built there.
 The central atrium hints at the E…

Campeau in the late 1950s and early 1960s

Below is a collection of floor plans that Campeau built in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
I quite like the first plan with its blank front facade to the right of the front door. It gives the house a modern take on the Cape Cod-inspired 1 1/2 story style. I do not believe that many of this design were built, though.

I also quite like this design below, with its blank facade and large wall of windows in the Living Room. Too bad my only copy of the plan is cut off at the top.

MCMC - Mid-Century Modern Condos

Do you love MCM design, but are looking for a condominium apartment to call home? Ottawa has a good selection of MCM buildings where your Eames chair will feel at home.


While some may find the plain exteriors of many MCM condos too severe, they usually have very spacious units inside - especially compare to the tiny condos built today. The simplicity of some of the plans may seem boring, but upon closer inspection, the well-proportioned rooms and abundance of natural light is quite appealing.


MCM condo apartments were built in the later half of the period, as the first ever high-rise condo building in Canada was built in 1967. The Horizon House is located in Ottawa, and was built by Minto in Parkwood Hills. There were buildings built earlier in the mid-century, but they are rental apartment buildings. This particular posting will focus only on condo buildings.


Horizon House - located at Meadowlands Drive and Chesterton Drive in Parkwood Hills.


Built in the mid 1970s, the Queen Elizabeth …

Amberwood Village - Stittsville

Another blog post by request! Located south of Hazeldean Road east of Stittsville Main Street is a very special "adult-lifestyle" neighbourhood begun in the late 1970s. The original phases of Amberwood Village consist of a series of houses built in clusters along the edges of the Amberwood Golf Course. The development was originally built by a company called Jaric Developments Ltd. The architect of this original portion of the area was W.G.Mohaupt - who also designed the "courtyard singles" in Hunt Club (see my old post Favourite Plans South and scroll down to see these designs) - and also used to design houses for Minto. The clusters of attached houses are grouped on dead-end lanes and units are attached is a variety of arrangements. Some designs have an attached garage, while others have detached garages clustered together with others. The result is a very interesting streetscape with a lot of open space between units. Image courtesy of Google Maps.
Some phases of the…

How the car changed the suburban house

A few years ago, while completing my Master’s Degree, I wrote a paper on how the car changed the suburban house. I subsequently turned it into a lecture taught to Urban Planning students, and have now adapted that same research piece for this blog.


Living in the suburbs and owning a car have gone hand in hand ever since the advent of the automobile suburb. The two coexisted comfortably, until a turning point when the shelter for the car (the garage) became so important, that it negatively impacted the design of the shelter for people (the house). To show this change, I will start with housing built early in the mid-century.

During WWII, and for a while afterward, “Victory Houses” were built for returning veterans as a means of affordable yet comfortable housing. These straightforward houses were usually 1 1/2 stories and had an almost square footprint. In Ottawa, the area south of Carling Avenue, between Fisher and Merivale is an excellent example of such housing. To cut costs the hous…