BACK TO THE FUTURE – SHOPS AT DON MILLS
If you’ve ever visited Lawrence Ave. and Don Mills Rd. you are probably aware of The Shops at Don Mills but what you might not know is the long history behind these shops. The Don Mills area was originally settled in the early 1800s by Europeans. The area remained rural until after the Second World War, in 1950 the area consisted of about 20 farms. As Toronto steadily expanded, Don Mills began its transformation from a rural area to a suburban development, mainly planned and developed by private enterprise. The name Don Mills comes from the Don River and from the fact that several mills were established in the Don Valley in the 19th century.
In 1955, the Don Mills Convenience Centre opened as an open-air shopping center that included a Dominion Supermarket, Koffler’s Drug Store, banks and a futuristic, circular curling rink. It was one of the first Eaton’s stores to open outside a city’s downtown core. Owned by John B. Parkin Associates and designed by Macklin Hancock Landscape Architect, it was well-used by the local people. It was then redeveloped in the 1970s to an enclosed mall and remained the natural meeting space and community hub for the neighborhood. In 2006, the Centre was demolished and in 2009 Ontario’s first “urban village” came to life; the refurbished mall opened as The Shops at Don Mills.
The new commercial property was developed by Cadillac Fairview as an example of an outdoor “lifestyle center” which targets the upscale market. It was a $200 million reconstruction project that reverted the mall back to its original orientation as a pedestrian-friendly outdoor plaza. Today plans to erect residential high rises within the commercial precinct over the coming years are in the works. Why not be a part of this exciting development and live close to The Shops at Don Mills? I have condos and houses listing in this neighborhood.
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