By Mona Jackson
Although only age 5 at the time, I remember 1967 was a great year for Canada and Canadians had much to celebrate and be proud of.
Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of our Canadian Confederation, the World’s Fair held in Montreal from April 27 to October 29, 1967 – (See Expo 67: Montreal Welcomes the World). It was considered to be the most successful World’s Fair of the 20th century, with over 50 million visitors and 62 nations participating. It also set the single-day attendance record for a world’s fair with 569,000 visitors on its third day and my parents were there, their first vacation without us kids.
Still Canada continued to make headlines as Montreal hosted the Summer Olympics, the House of Commons voted to make “O Canada” Canada’s Official National Anthem, the Toronto Maple Leaf’s won the Stanley Cup, Winnipeg hosted the Pan American Games, Toronto’s own Lester B. Pearson was Prime Minister, Lulu‘s To Sir With Love was on the radio, Hair (the musical) was making it‘s debut, ‘Batman’ was the hottest television show and my grandparents (A. Eric Jackson, Sr. & Jessie Jackson (nee McMaster) were hired as the Superintendents (1967-1971) of the ‘Prestigious’ Don Valley Woods Town Houses, Phase I located at 1213-1229 York Mills Road in North York, Ontario.
In the 1960’s, the Don Valley Woods Housing Development, or what we more commonly call Phase I, II and III was referred to as one of mid-town Toronto’s hottest places to live. The mix of renters was very upscale with occupations of many of the tenants ranging from young professionals to judges, lawyers, surgeons and doctors; even the Canadian Military had several units in each of the phases until the late 1980’s.
Unfortunately after the death of my Grandmother and the retirement of my Grandfather in July 1971, I never returned to my beloved second home in Phase I with it’s well-manicured lawns and gardens and where I spent so much time with my sister, brother and many cousins playing on the property and running through park/woods playing such games as tag and hide and seek.
In 1982 and in my 20’s, I once again returned to the old neighbourhood, but this time to Phase II where my sister Deborah rented a unit backing onto the ravine (1982-1985). At that time I had heard that Phase I was starting to become rundown, but Phase II was still well groomed and looked after under the care of the superintendents John and Linda Dineno.
Phase III had always been a mystery to me until recently, as it was a quite a distance away from Phase I and a long way for little legs to travel and in my 20’s I never really bothered to look at Phase III, which backs directly onto Phase II, with the exception of going to the small tuck shop located at the entrance.
In April of this year, my husband and I found ourselves wanting to return to the city after 12 years of living north of Toronto. When deciding where to move to my memories took me back to my childhood years and the Valley Woods neighbourhood. We originally looked at a unit in Phase II where I found myself shocked at the awful condition of property and homes. Disappointed with what we had seen, we decided to look at Phase III where we found a 3-bedroom unit to rent.
A Bit Of History On The Properties
Phase I located at 1213-1229 York Mills Road and 35-53 Valley Woods Road won the 1964 Massey Award (Architects Klein and Sears) and consists of 143 units. Check these links: Massey Medals 1964_1, Massey Medals 1964_2
Phase II is located at 101-113 Valley Woods Road, consists of 102 units and is separated from Phase I by Brookbanks/Valleywoods Park.
Phase III is located at 1-31 Valley Woods Road and was originally named Citadel Village of Don Mills, Ontario. In 1967, Architects Elmar Tampold and J. Malcolm Wells won the National Design Award given by The Housing Design Council.
(Check below for the builders’ promotional brochure and North York‘s Modernist Architecture Article)
All three phases were originally owned by Alex J. Rubin of The Rubin Corporation and were managed by Revenue Properties.
What Has Become of Our Award Winning Don Valley Woods Town Houses !!!!!!