What makes a neighbourhood? Scarborough has long been recognized as a desirable place to live, with evidence of human population dating from 8,000 BCE, Indigenous settlements from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the first British occupation in the 1790’s. The 20th century brought many distinct landmarks reflecting the modern, optimistic and international point of view of Canada’s dynamic post-war growth.
“We have all walks of life here. We are your typical diverse Scarborough neighbourhood, and this resonates with everyone. It’s been amazing to watch this unfold. It’s now become it’s own force. Everyone wants to be part of it.”
In 1959, developer Curran Hall and architect Edward Ross created a residential development that integrated contemporary ideals of family living space, design, and nature. So successful was this distinctive planned community that more than 50 years later, Midland Park retains its original character and neighbourhood optimism. The vibrancy of the 600-home community is sustained by an active residents’ association, and protecting the special nature of the built environment is promoted by the Midland Park Modernism Alliance and its founders Lisa and Garnet Duperreault.
Lisa, an artist and web-designer says, “We started wanting to share information about just how special it is, so it’s not just two people talking about it. This neighbourhood deserves to be preserved for future generations. It’s a statement of its time. Once people understand, they are proud of it and do want to preserve it.” A grassroots movement grew from meetings with neighbours, who range from original owners to recent purchasers. The Alliance has acquired a treasure trove of documents, drawings and brochures from the original development. Even the children of original owners have helped via social media. Through Lisa and Garnet’s efforts, Midland Park Modernism Alliance is one of nine nominees for the Toronto Heritage 2017 community award, and Midland Park is now the first district in Scarborough since amalgamation to be considered for designation as a Heritage Conservation District by the City of Toronto, one of the first mid-century modern districts in Canada.
“We have all walks of life here. We are your typical diverse Scarborough neighbourhood, and this resonates everyone. It’s been amazing to watch this unfold. It’s now become it’s own force. Everyone wants to be part of it,” she says.
Lisa was nominated by Carol Baker, proud member and supporter of Midland Park.