‘The Amazing Don Mills: The Suburb that is to Become Canada’s Most Perfect City’

(Article from Canadian Homes and Gardens, November, 1954. My apologies for the bad photocopied picture – it’s a copy of a copy I found at the library.)

Canada’s newest and most significant suburb is Don Mills, Ont., a fast-growing development on the northeast edge of Toronto proper. At last count, more than 2,500 people – in 700 families – were keenly relishing the thrill of being the pioneers of an inspired experiment in community planning.

Don Mills is scheduled to be completed by 1960. It will then have more than 35,000 residents. It’s population will be as much as that of Kingston, Ont., larger than that of New Westminster, B.C., and twice that of Fredericton, N.B.

But size is not the main reason why Don Mills has been the talk of house-minded Ontarians for the past two-and-a-half years. The significant point about this development is that it will be unlike any other Canadian suburb built to date. In contrast to most postwar developments, Don Mills is not a sprawling fungus growth feeding on a big city. Instead, each house, apartment, lot, street and parkland area in it meticulously follows the dictates of an ambitious master plan. This plan has a long sighted goal: To create the best possible arrangement for happy community living. Neighbourliness – getting Don Mills residents to live, work and play together in harmony – is the foundation on which the plan is built.

Another difference from other suburbs is that Don Mills will eventually become a self-contained town or new Canadian suburb. It is spacious; it has extensive park areas. Its houses to date do not look alike though they were built under a builder operation. Its streets are not monotony Rows. It is far enough from through highways to keep heavy traffic off its streets. Yet it is close enough to the Toronto bypass highway and both the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways and other thorough ways to service the community’s industries and shops. It will eventually be a self-contained community – it’s not a “grow-as-you-go” development on the outskirts of a bigger, older city.

And this new suburb is filled with people who take pride in the Don Mills idea. On Sundays, in good weather, cars loaded down with curious-eyed visitors cruise through its streets. One woman, just six weeks in Don Mills, said irritably, “we should charge them admission for all that staring.” But most Don Mills people don’t mind being stared at. They feel they’re right on top of a unique experiment in living and they can’t wait to see how it will all come out.

-by Frank Moritsugu

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