A History of Streetscaping

This is a timeline history of Streetscaping in Canada.  It is meant as a very general overview of some of the key influences creating our modern view of city building and the street.

This is an on-going work and any suggestions or additions are welcome!

Streetscape Canada

7500 BC
Catalhoyuk, Turkey site of Neolithic city. There were no streets, people walked across top of houses and entered from the roof

Catalhoyuk artist rendering Dan Lewandowski.

  Artist rendering Dan Lewandowski.

451 BC Completion of Greek Grid plan for Piraeus by Hippodamus of Miletus considered the father of urban planning


Piraeus Map 1908

80 BC-15 BC Roman Architect, Engineer and Author Marcus Vitruvius Pollio famously declared in his book De architectura that a structure must exhibit the three qualities of firmitas, utilitas, venustas – that is, it must be solid, useful and beautiful.

79 AD Pompeii Street before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius


1377-1446 Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for his development of linear perspective and for engineering the dome of the Florence Cathedral.

1450 The importation of gun powder from China and the perfection of casting techniques for better cannon balls made mediaeval city walls obsolete. Thus were created the “Boulevards”, french version boloard of the Dutch word “Bolverk”. The boulevards became treed linear spaces that surrounded European cities.  They were welcome open air green spaces versus the narrow city streets infested with disease, vermin and feces.

1470 The Ideal City attributed to Fra Carnevale is painted in Urbino, Italy.  It depicts the Renaissance vision of order and urban planning as well as appreciation of classical architecture.  The painting depicts a mastery of newly invented perspective.  This vision would influence city building for many centuries to come.


Painting: The Ideal City, Fra Carnevale, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

1497 John Cabot discovers Newfoundland and Cape Breton for England

John Cabot Painting

1534 Jacques Cartier discovers Canada for France

Jacques Cartier

Painting: Théophile Hamel, 1844

1535 October 2, Jacques Cartier visits Hochelaga the future site of Ville Marie and Montreal.


Image: La Terra De Hochelaga Nella Nova Francia, circa 1535

1585 Pope Sixtus V creates a new vision for Rome where he unites the great Basilicas across the city with avenues terminating on piazzas with Egyptian Obelisks as focal points. This follows Renaissance ideals of space and perspective first depicted in paintings from 1470. His vision is implemented over next 200 years and formed the basis for the layout of modern Rome.

See attached video from 1952 Philadelphia Planning Commission which features an excellent review of Pope Sixtus’ plan. This 7 minute segment starts at 3:02 and ends at 10:00.

Video: Published to YouTube by Philadelphia Planning Commission, 1952

1573-1632  British Architect Inigo Jones was first to utilize Vitruvian principles and introduced Palladian design to England.

1600 King Henry IV and the Duke de Sully introduced the game of paille – maille. It was a ball and mallet game played on large tree lined allees. Paris began transition from Mediaeval village to grand Baroque City with the clearance and creation of the Champ Elysee and the opening of a new river view.

1604 June, 24 Samuel de Champlain arrives in Saint John, New Brunswick.  Names the river Fleuve Saint-Jean in honour of Saint John the Baptist on his feast day.

Samuel-de-champlain Theophile Hamel

Painting: Théophile Hamel, 1870

1608 July 3, Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City

Champlain_Habitation_de_Quebec 1608

Image: Samuel de Champlain, 1608

1612 Map of New France, Samuel de Champlain


Carte geographique de la Nouvelle France, Samuel de Champlain, 1612

1643 – 1715
Start of building of Versailles. It’s planned gardens influenced Pierre L’Enfant’s planning for Washington D.C.


1661 The Mall in London was laid out by Charles II as a tree lined allee. It was previously the Pall Mall field at St. James Palace and derived from the game ‘paille-maille’ which was a ball and mallet game played on a grass tree-lined allee. A court was laid out in 1630 in St James’s Fields (later Pall Mall Fields), and possibly along the line of the present street.

Bradshaw’s Hand Book to London


Peter Berthoud

1666 Great fire of London. New Baroque Plan created by Sir Christopher Wren but never implemented.

London fire

1666 Wren’s Plan for London never implemented

Wren's London Plan

1696 Rennaisance Grid Plan created for Mannehein, Germany

1740 Creation of first streetscape plan in France

Tree lined road plan France 1740

1749 Establishment of Halifax, Nova Scotia by Governor Edward Cornwallis as a key British Naval Base (Incorporated as city in 1842) It followed British colonial grid design.

Halifax 1750 MapHalifax 1750 Map NS Archives

Halifax and Harbour 1750 Map

Halaifax and Harbour 1750

1750 The Marquis de Tourny created grand tree lined streets in Bordeaux France. This became the home of Baron Haussman who would 100 years later in 1850 transform the streets of Paris and influence city building throughout North America

1753 Establishment of Town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia based upon British Colonial Grid

Lunenburg Grid paln 1770 65280_Large

Luneburg Plan 1770

1758 Montreal

Montreal Map 1758

1759 British General James Wolf defeats the Marquis de Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham, Quebec City

Death of General Wolf Benjamin_West

Image: The Death of Wolf, Benjamin West

1759 Map of Quebec City

Quebec City 1759

1763 Treaty of Paris, France seeds Canada to Britain

1776 American Revolution

1783 Treaty of Paris, End of the American Revolution

American Revolution Treaty_of_Paris_1783_-_last_page_(hi-res)

1783 Arrival in Saint John, New Brunswick of 14,000 British Loyalists after American Revolution


Painting: The Coming of the Loyalists, Saint John, Henry Sandham

1785 Establishment of Saint John, New Brunswick as first incorporated city in Canada. Laid out to British Colonial Grid design.

Saint John Map 1788

Map of Saint John and Saint John River Loyalist Settlements 1788

1787 The Toronto Purchase. Site of Toronto purchased from First Nations by British Crown to be new home of thousands of British Loyalists after American Revolution.



1788 Plan for Toronto Harbour, Town and Settlement

Toronto 1788-Collins-NMC22815x


1790 Napoleon wanted to create a “New Rome” in Paris

1791 Pierre L’Enfant of Paris brings Baroque planning to America with Washington Plan. Creates series of tree lined boulevards linking and radiating from various monumental structures and buildings. Plans include a mall and civic center.

Washington Plan, L'Enfant 1791

1796 Toronto’s (York) Yonge Street opens between Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe

1811 The Commissioners Plan for New York and creation of the New York grid including tree lined boulevards.

The Commissions Plan New York Grid_1811

1815 Saint John continues to grow

Saint John King St early 1800 drawing NB Achives P37-31

Drawing of Saint John Street, early 1800, NB Archives

1818 Lieut. Phillpots survey of York (Future Toronto)

toronto 1818Phillpotts_mt-109x

1822 Birth of Frederick Law Olmstead

1832 Pavel Schelling invents Electromagnetic Telegraph

1830 City Parks first introduced through Rural Garden Cemetery Movement in North America

See link below to article in American Forests Magazine Spring/Summer 2014 by Tate Williams.


1837 Samuel Morse and Alfred Vale invented Electrical recording Telegraph and Morse Code

1838 Tree-lined streets in Paris

Old photo of Pairs 1838 Daguerre

Photo:  Old photo of Paris, 1838 Daguerre

1844 St James Cemetery created as park like space by John G. Howard

1848 “Air and space, wood and water, schools and churches, shrubberies and gardens, around pretty self contained cottages in a group neither too large to deprive it of country character, nor too small to diminish the probabilities of social intercourse.” (Edinburgh Magazine. Dec. 1848.)

1850 Frederic Law Olmstead toured England.  He and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park in New York.

1853 Under Napoleon III Baron Georges Eugene Hausseman redesigned and opened Paris with grand tree lined boulevards, new axis and vistas.

1854 Sir Patrick Geddes, Scottish father of urban planning born. (1854-1932)  Supported Garden City Movement and expanded to include urban region, ecology and nature preservation.

1857 Frederick Law Olmstead becomes Superintendent of Central Park, New York


1858 Olmstead and Architect Calvert Vaux win competition for design of Central Park

See link to pbs.org documentary Frederick Law Olmsted Designing America


1859 Map of Montreal, Boston Public Library

Montreal Map 1859 F.N. Boxer Boston Public Library

1859 Ildefonso Cerdá creates new plan for Barcelona with 20m streets to reduce spread of disease and rounded intersections to reduce collisions. Cerdá focused on the need for sunlight, natural lighting and ventilation in homes, the need for greenery in people’s surroundings, the need for effective waste disposal including sewerage and the need for seamless movement of people, goods and information.

Cerdaès Ensanche Barcelona

1861 Overland telegraph cable connected East Coast to West Coast USA

1867 Halifax Public Gardens established along Spring Garden Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

1870 Park and Boulevard Movement established by Frederic Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. He planned one for New York but was never implemented. Great influence on other cities over next 50 years. Created new park and boulevard system in Buffalo and Niagara Falls New York.

Video published to YouTube on Jan 21, 2014 From the Library of American Landscape History

Buffalo: America’s Best Designed City directed by John Paget and published to YouTube on Oct 1, 2013.

1873 Copp, Clark and Company Map of Toronto

Toronto 1873 Map Copp, Clark & Co Boston Public Library

1874 Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto part of Cemetery Park Movement

1874 New plan of Mount Royal Park, Montreal by Frederick Law Olmstead (1822-1903)

1874 Creation of the Red Coat Trail through Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

1876 Park Legislation in BC

1876 Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone

1877 Great Fire of Saint John.  Photograph of Saint John Market Slip before the disaster.

Saint John Market Slip Pre 1877 Fire NB Archives P37-53

Photo: Saint John Market Slip, pre 1877 Great Fire, NB Archives

1879 Edison patents his electrical distribution system, Pearl St Generating station and direct current lights. Direct current only transmits a few thousand yards from generating station and requires numerous generating stations.

Thomas Edison

1879 New Year’s Eve, Edison introduces the world to Incandescent Light at his Menlo Park Laboratory. 20 electric lamp posts wired underground lit the path from the train station to his fully illuminated Lab. Large numbers of press came and it was a huge sensation.  It was the launch of the modern electric world on the eve of the new decade.

1880 City Parks Movement underway and Chicago established a Park and Boulevard System

1880 Brush Electric Light Co. created high voltage Arc Lighting in New York City. The phrase “The Great White Way” came from the bright white light of this system.

1880 Date of Edison’s first underground electrical cable

Edison first underground cable

Photo of display at Edison Museum, Fort Myers, Florida, AJG

1880 Frederick Law Olmstead moves to Brookline Mass. and sets up the first Landscape Architecture practice.

1881 Edison moves to Manhattan to begin to electrify the great Metropolis

See link to website pbs.org and the excellent PBS Series American Experience documentary Edison


1881 Westinghouse founded Union railway switch company.

1882 Thomas Edison developed the first power distribution system in 1882 at Pearl Street station in New York City. He used copper rods wrapped in jute and placed in rigid underground pipes filled with a bitimous compound. Although vulcanized rubber had been patented by Charles Goodyear in 1844, it was not applied to cable insulation until the 1880’s. Rubber-insulated cable was used for 11,000 volt circuits installed for the Niagara Falls power project in 1897..

1882 September 4, Thomas Edison switched on power at JP Morgan’s office in New York

1882 Saint John “Bird’s Eye Map” (Source: Boston Library)

Saint John Birds Eye Map 1882 Boston Library

1883 Park Legislation in Ontario

1884 Nicola Tesla arrives in NYC. Worked for Edison redesigning DC currents.

1885 George Westinghouse was interested in Gaulard and Gibbs Transformers and AC power and purchased American rights to the AC transformer patent.  He envisioned electrical generation, stepping up voltage by transformers, transmitting over long distances and then stepping down for local distribution. Transformer was the “reducing valve” for electricity similar to the idea he created for gas distribution.

1886 Start of Westinghouse Electrical company March 6, 1886.

1887 Tesla creates brushless AC motor and got patents on polyphase AC currents, motors, distribution, transformers etc. Westinghouse bought Tesla patents.

1887 LeCorbusier born, founder of Radiant City Movement. Died 1965.

1888 The Great Blizzard of 1888 caused the undergrounding of utility lines in New York City.


Great blizzard 1888

Interestingly, the vast, ugly and unsafe nest of wires and cables strewn along New York streets only became a concern to the powers-that-be when the lights went out for several weeks.  It took mother nature’s wrath to convince the “money men” as Thomas Edison called them, to demand utility lines be undergrounded.  Men like J.P. Morgan called the shots and their electrical lights, telephones and ticker tapes were deemed too valuable to fail.  The fact that many workers, line-men, pedestrians even children had been electrocuted in the past couple of years was not sufficient to make them improve the system.  It took power outages due to a storm to bring the wires underground.

1890 Daniel Burnham and John Root designed first all-steel frame building. 10 stories tall. They began work on the Chicago Exposition plans.

1892 Westinghouse won contract for Chicago world fair over GE (former Edison Electric, saved $500K) Westinghouse went in low to use fair as promotion of AC, GE went in to make profit from fair.

1893 Establishment of Saint John, New Brunswick Horticultural Association and creation of public gardens. They also managed Rockwood Park designed by Calvert Vaux the co designer of New York’s Central Park.

1893 Establishment of Park and Boulevard system in Minneapolis.  George Kessler designed system for Kansas City and Charles Eliot in Boston

1893 Frederick Law Olmstead appointed chief Landscape Architect at Chicago Exposition

1893 Daniel Burnham was chief architect for Chicago Exposition and birth of the City Beautiful Movement.Neo Classical architecture style chosen for principal buildings and painted white. The main elements were grand monumental buildings in a civic center concept. Tree lined streets with buried utility lines were also part of vision.

Chicago ColumbianExpo

A slide show of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago otherwise known as the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair uploaded to YouTube on Apr 15, 2011 by MrBryant004

1893 May 1, Opening of The Chicago Exposition also called “The Columbian Exposition” celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of new world.  Opened with Westinghouse AC electricity and Westinghouse stopper lamp incandescent light bulb. Fair attracted 28 million visitors over 6 months. The fair is said to be the final battle in the war of the currents and AC was victorious. “People came to the fair knowing the name Edison, they came away from the fair knowing the name Westinghouse.”  Niagara falls power generation could now move forward now that the battle of the currents was over.

1893 Oct 24 Westinghouse was awarded contract for 35,000 horsepower generators for Niagara Falls.

1894 Halifax Map


1895 Testing of first hydroelectric generators.

1895 Ottawa “Bird’s Eye” Map

Ottawa 1895 Birds Eye Map il_570xN_675224727_h763

1897 The Toronto Guild of Civic Art was formed as an advisory board to promote and encourage the highest standard of excellence in public works of art and also proposed plans for Toronto.  (See 1908)

1898 Publication of “Tomorrow: A peaceful path to Real Reform,” by Sir Ebenezer Howard and creation of Garden City Movement in Britain.

Garden City Wheel

Garden City Wedge

Garden City Plan

1898 Children planted trees in Halifax Public Gardens to honor Boer War dead, including London Plane Trees

1899 Establishment of Ottawa Improvement Commission. Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier wanted Ottawa to be “the Washington of the North” and to create a Park and Boulevard system for the capital

1900 Westinghouse had 40 companies. By 1910 he was associated with 60.

1902 Daniel Burnham creates the Washington Plan to general acceptance. He was requested to design a new plan for Montreal by Sir William Van Horne President of the CPR and Chairman of the Montreal Plan commission but he was not able to undertake this plan.

1901 Improvement of Towns and Cities published by Charles Mulford Robinson considered to be Bible of the City Beautiful Movement. Streets were of primary concern and undergrounding of overhead wires was of course mandatory. The Civic Center with more monumental buildings was also of concern.

”There can be only one successful civic art. This will be one which joins utility to beauty. Cities are not made to be looked at but to be lived in. “

“A city is now held most progressive when it shows the fewest wires, not when it presents their greatest network” Improvement of Towns and Cities p.57

1903 Completion of the Ottawa Park and Boulevard Plan by Frederick G. Todd. System included the riverside parkways, urban parks and the link between Rideau Hall and Parliament Hill. Also special attention was paid to Rockcliffe Park and Chaudier Park.
Paris may spend a fortune on her grand avenues, Washington and Chicago may spend millions on constructing boulevards but none of them can equal in grandness or impressive beauty a boulevard constructed along the bank of the Ottawa River.”

1903 Frederick Law Olmstead dies at age of 81

1905 May 16 Westinghouse launched electric locomotives and trains on east coast. Westinghouse invented air shock absorbers for the car.

1906 First limited access motorways appeared in New York with the Long Island Motor Parkway (1906–11) and the Bronx River Parkway (1906–23).

1906 The enormous growth of Canadian cities at the turn of the century resulted in uncontrolled and unplanned growth. Inspired by the City Beautiful movement, Canadian planners sought to link all aspects of the urban fabric for greater coherence, visual variety and civic grandeur.

1906 The Province of Quebec Association of Architects created a Municipal Improvement Committee.

1907 Financial crisis of 1907 caused Westinghouse’s many loans to be called and he lost control of his electrical company. Bankers took Edison’s company away from him in 1888.

1908 October 1, Henry Ford introduces the Model T

1908 Toronto Guild of Civic Art present plan

1908 Toronto Guild of Civic Art map

1908 Quebec Association presented five ambitious plans to resolve traffic congestion, create broad boulevards and reclaim urban parkland in Montreal.

“In eastern Canada, the implementation of bold new civic plans often demanded the costly undoing of past errors, but out west, without an existing infrastructure, it seemed that anything could be accomplished. The flurry of urban plans in the years before the First World War were sideswiped, first by the recession of 1913, and then by the outbreak of war.” http://www.gallery.ca/aaa/en/index.htm#sthash.qkBbJPSp.dpuf

1909 Burnham creates new plan for Chicago considered finest of the City Beautiful and birth of City Efficient

burnhams plan chicago

1909 Assinbone Park, Winnipeg Opens

1911 Winnipeg City Beautiful Plan

Winnipeg City Beautiful Plan

Published to YouTube on Sep 3, 2014 by The Winnipeg Free Press

The Winnipeg Free Press launches a three-part series on architecture and how it shaped Winnipeg’s DNA. City Beautiful includes hundreds of archival images, documents and videos, along with interviews with architects and historians.


1913 Westinghouse became ill. Died March 12, 1914.

1913 Establishment of Federal Plan Commission, the precursor to National Capital Commission (NCC) and commissioning of Edward Bennett to create new civic plan for Ottawa.

1913 Outbreak of First World War put all urban plans on hold.

1914  250,000 Ford Model T’s sold

1915 Ottawa City Beautiful Plan completed by Edward Bennet leading City Beautiful Architect who had helped design the Chicago Exposition.

HOLT com 1915


1916 Jane Jacobs born, critical of all major planning movements.

1916 472,000 Ford Model T sold

1923 Founding of Regional Planning Association of America by Lewis Mumford, lived in Sunnyside Gardens in New York.

1925 LeCorbusier at International Exposition, (Art Deco came from this exposition), Voisin Plan introduced. Radiant city movement introduced. Separation of functions, commercial, residential etc. advocated large apartment slabs, separated by parks etc. This concept spread around world in large housing developments and implemented in 1950’s.

1925 Photo of tree-lined Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto taken.  Elegant street lights were wired underground, new trees planted and water-front boardwalks built as part of this “City Beautiful” inspired parkway created at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Toronto Lakeshore_Boulevard_Winter_1925

1930 LeCorbusier visits South and North America, influences US planning

1930s New York municipal official, Robert Moses, developed the Henry Hudson Parkway down the western side of Manhattan

undergroud conduit_universite_et_sainte_catherine_tgp

Photo: Underground utility conduit installation circa 1930, Ville de Montreal

1930  Montreal is soon to become Canada’s leading streetscape city.  This film from 1930 shows Montreal’s fabulous tree lined streets although most are still diminished by the unsightly utility lines.  This film shows work crews repaving streets under work programs during the Great Depression. Uploaded on Apr 18, 2010 by Archives de Montreal cette vidéo est le premier extrait de la série « Montréal. La cité du progrès » réalisée par lAssociated Screen News pour la Commission industrielle du chômage durant la grande crise économique des années 1930. Elle a été probablement diffusée en 1932 dans les cinémas montréalais. On y présente le pavage ou lélargissement de rues telles que De Bullion, Melrose, Hôtel-de-ville, Côte Saint-Luc, Notre-Dame,

1932 New York Times publishes LeCorbusier critique of American Cities, Suburbanism and Garden City Movement. Frank Lloyd Wright opposes with his suburban Broadacre City example (1 acre per family), and believes the future is spread out into large homes and lots with technology allowing this.

1935 Broadacre unveiled to public. Very low density, 1 acre lots, no central town core. Wright designed Usonians (Ranch bungalows) and influenced the American dream over next 30 years.  He died 1959. Although rejected by urban planners, this vision came to reality in suburbanism and 1950-1960 house design. Post war cities like Phoneix and Dallas all went out not up following Wright’s ideals.

1935 Traffic becoming intolerable along Toronto’s Yonge Street.

Yonge St 1935

Photo: Yonge Street, Toronto Archives, 1935

1938 The Culture of Cities, The City in History by Lewis Mumford

1949 September 8, Construction began on Canada’s first subway line under Toronto’s congested Yonge Street

Canadas first subway line

1952 Establishment of Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the beginnings of Urban Renewal Plans for Philadelphia. The YouTube video link below is an interesting study of urban renewal ideals in the 1950’s and 60’s. This is the era of the automobile.  “We treat the automobile as an honored guest and cater to its needs”  The architects seem to be more interested in establishing vistas and monumentality than concerning themselves with the lives of the people on the street.

Video: Published to YouTube by Philadelphia Planning Commission, 1952

1954 Canadian national housing act

1954 March 30, Official Opening of Canada’s first subway under Toronto’s Yonge Street.  Street reconstruction included streetscaping and the undergrounding of utility lines.

Yonge St Subway token 1954

Image:  March 30, 1954 Yonge St Subway Opening Token, Toronto Archives

1955 Arthur Erikson’s famous sketch introduces the idea that is today called Vancouverism.  Key elements were slender towers with large “podium” bases.  The key benefit was preserving views of beautiful Vancouver as opposed to the large concrete “slab” apartment blocks of LeCorbusier’s “Radiant City”.

Arthur Erickson 1955 sketch is birth of Vancouverism

1956 U.S. Federal Highways Act creates Interstates and commuter highways permitting suburbanization, commuting and the rise of the car.  This was foretold by Frank Lloyd Wright in his Broadacre vision.

1956 Urban renewal study Potvin Report completed. Over 4000 homes in Saint John, New Brunswick were in such disrepair that demolition was only solution.  8000 were rated fair to poor in south end, north end and Waterloo Village.

1957 Montreal has by now taken the lead in streetscaping and undergrounding utility lines in Canada.  In the attached film Montreal’s modern cityscape has been established with beautiful tree lined streets and buried utility lines!  The film is in two parts.

Uploaded on Mar 28, 2010 by Archives de la Ville de Montréal.  The English version of a promotion movie produced by Associated Screens News for the City of Montréal in 1957

1958 Act of New Brunswick Legislature to create the Urban Renewal Commission of Saint John.  Community planning review was completed and decided to renew east end (Crown Street area).

1960 Cost sharing agreement signed in May.  57 acres along the new Crown Street redeveloped including Courtney Place.

1960 Beginning of urban renewal in Saint John, NB which included tree planting along streets and utility line undergrounding as key initiatives

1961 Jane Jacobs published The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Her most famous victory was the opposition to the “Urban Renewal” plans of New York Commissioner Robert Moses and his plans for an expressway through Greenwich Village. Jacobs was a defender of the street and the multitude of life and vibrancy found on traditional mixed use streets.

Youtube video posted by Vince Graham including excerpt from Ric Burns’ PBS documentary about New York City and the “David and Goliath story” of the battle for human scale neighborhoods between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. The various subtitles inserted for exclamation are by Graham and uploaded to YouTube on Feb 13, 2012.

Link to http://www.pbs.org American Experience Series Site


1965 September 16, The City of Saint John, New Brunswick invoked the Athenian Pledge, “Pass on this City, greater, better, more beautiful than it came to us”.  Urban Renewal,  page 164

1965 44 cities across Canada initiated urban renewal schemes.

1967 Montreal welcomes the world to Expo ’67.  A decade of urban renewal, innovative architecture and design are all on display helping to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday.

Vidéo d’introduction Expo 67 – L’héritage culturel Introduction video Expo 67: Cultural Legacy uploaded to YouTube on Oct 26, 2011 by CBC/Radio Canada

Video:  Montreal in the 60’s by Jimmy Deschenes, Published on YouTube Oct 18, 2012

1968 North end Saint John renewal started.  “New community facilities will include new streets, widened sidewalks, tree planting, new street furniture such as lights, seats and litter containers, and the removal of overhead wiring.” The Evening Times Globe, 22 July, 1968 p. 11, cs. 1-8 page 202, 203 Urban renewal

1969 From CBC TV’s “The Way It Is” program, circa 1969, urbanist and author Jane Jacobs comments on late 1960s Toronto and Montreal on how they have been planned and built, while condemning major highways planned for GTA like the Spadina Expressway.  Uploaded to YouTube on Jul 31, 2011 by Michael Klassen

1969 Urban Renewal News talks about Main Street renewal and undergrounding… “utility services which will all be underground” July 1969. Vol. 1 No.3

1979  Heritage Canada Foundation started the Main Street Canada program with the goal of revitalizing Canadian downtowns.  Streetscaping was an integral part of this program, however it was a holistic approach to planning, heritage preservation and downtown business development.

Main Street Past and Present

1982 Completion of King Street, Saint John under Urban Renewal and the “Mainstreet” program. Greenspire linden trees were planted and “we insisted that the trees to be planted were of mature stock, of a size and shape to register immediately with the public. Also I would like to assure the public that the hydro and telephone poles still standing on King Street will be removed next spring”. Mr. Fletcher contractor for King Street reconstruction
ETG 1 Nov 1982 9.11 cs. 1-8

Saint John King Street Winter 2014

1983 Saint John’s Charlotte Street and King Square streetscaped. “Once again all power lines are underground and there is a definite Victorian flavour to the sidewalks and lanterns.” ETG 6 Nov 1984, p. 2. cs.1-6

Since the 1980’s and the Urban Renewal Program and the Main Street program, very few streetscape programs have been completed in Atlantic Canada.  Saint John, NB has continued to be the leader in streetscaping and undergrounding utilities over this period.  Wentworth Street, Water Street, Princess Street, Waterloo Row, Peel Plaza, portions of Union Street and in 2014-2015 Prince William Street were streetscaped.

2007 Streetscaping of the Bloor-Yorkville shopping district began. City officials were undertaking watermain replacements along Bloor Street and the Bloor Yorkville Business Improvement Area Association proposed the idea of a streetscape transformation. The $20 million project got underway on July 9, 2008 and work spanned over 2.5 years. The Bloor Street section was completed in October of 2010.  “Fully funded by the Bloor Street BIA members, the $20 million project boasts 134 beautiful London Plane trees, planted in innovative and sustainable soil cell systems, to promote optimal growth, along with widened, pedestrian-friendly granite sidewalks and curbs, seasonal flowerbeds and attractive up-lighting for each tree. 80 bike rings and 27 granite benches have been installed, along with all the trees and plantings.”


bloor street plaque



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