It's not always easy to find a neighbourhood that supports your individual balance of live/work/play, but we think the Don Mills neighbourhood comes pretty close. Whether it's walking your dog along the paths of the Charles Sauriol Conservation Area, teeing off at Flemingdon Park Golf Club, strolling through the architecturally magnificent Aga Khan Museum, or discovering new exhibits at the Ontario Science Centre, this community allows you to enjoy a widespread of recreational past times - each within walking or cycling distance from one another. Even the Don Mills branch of the Toronto Public Library is a great place to pick up a Spring read! And all of these will be even more easily accessed when the Eglinton Crosstown opens next year!
Don Mill is accessible. If you're needing to head downtown, the DVP is a couple of minutes away, while, if a weekend getaway is your purpose, you can also easily access the 401 and leave town for a weekend up north at the cottage! Transit options are abundant, with the Sheppard Line subway to the north, and Don Mills and Lawrence bus routes easily accessible. Don Mills is literally at the centre of it all and represents the perfect balance of a suburban community and downtown pedestrian convenience.
And if shopping is your favourite pastime, in your quest for the perfect outfit, accessory, or gift - then Shops At Don Mills could be your next preferred playground! The entire area - not just the complex itself - is being developed to become an upscale community, reminiscent of Beverly Hills, California, and their world-renowned shopping district, Rodeo Drive. (In fact, that's the direct inspiration behind the Lanterra Developments and CF Cadillac Fairview’s iconic condominium in Toronto: Rodeo Drive Condominiums at CF Shops at Don Mills! Appropriately, their slogan announces: "From The Hills To The Mills!")
What developers of the neighbourhood are promoting is an urban lifestyle, where everything is at one's fingertips. But unlike the unapproachable boutiques of Rodeo Drive, the Shops At Don Mills - part of the Cadillac Fairview family of malls - manage to find a sustainable balance between upscale and affordable, offering stores that appeal to a wide range of shoppers and fulfill a plethora of needs. And we think that makes it even better!
Like so many other retailers in the city, COVID-19 has impacted operations. At the writing of this piece, we are under lockdown, with these retailers operating by curbside pickup and/or delivery. As we gravitate towards returning towards normal life, another bonus is the open-air quality of this retail therapy experience.
(Click for interactive map!)
"CF Shops at Don Mills is a European-inspired walkable plaza complete with a central Town Square, beautiful landscaping, and a Douglas Coupland clock tower surrounded by popular shops, restaurants, offices, and residences. It’s the perfect place to connect with the community, whether to sip a gourmet coffee or enjoy an event like outdoor yoga or music festival!" - CF
*Image courtesy of Shopping Mall Museum, with thanks
Retail Therapy Destination With History
This area has served the community for generations of shoppers in one form or another.
In 1955, Don Mills Convenience Centre opened. It started its retail life as an open-air shopping centre, that offered a grocery store, banks, and a circular curling rink. In the 1970s, the mall was redesigned to be enclosed from our extreme climate, as was the vogue of the day. It was a popular hub of this community for years. This posh promenade of retailers today was built atop the ruins of the old Don Mills Shopping Centre. Once thriving, when the anchor tenant Eaton's closed, it wanted in popularity. In 2009, Cadillac-Fairview built the Shops at Don Mills, which is aimed at an upscale market as an outdoor “lifestyle destination”, including residential buildings.
While change often marks progress, it doesn’t come without controversy, and the demolition of the shopping centre and the rebuilding of a new and different retail opportunity was met with its share of community critics.
As this piece from Blog TO The Shops at Don Mills discusses, there were some staunch critics of this new development. Don Mills is a historic area on many levels, most notably as a pioneer community in urban planning, as one of the first suburbs, post-WW II. Their model of development became the standard for suburban development throughout North America for the emerging popularity of bedroom communities.
*Photo courtesy of Rediscovering The Suburban Dream, with thanks
This mall served as a meeting place for a generation who grew their families and lives around this edifice. It was also an architectural example of a post-war suburban building.
The architect Harry Pellow was sensitive to the mood of the community with the development of the Shops at Don Mills, with nods to its 1950s roots, with a retro design vibe. Keeping the retro vibe with the angles and appearance of the storefronts also helped the new development blend well into the area housing stock of the era.
*Photo courtesy of the Toronto Public Library, with thanks.
And, as happens with a change in neighbourhoods, the new is eventually embraced and made an integral part of the next level of evolution. The Shops at Don Mills accomplishes that by being a sought-after shopping destination for a new generation - and one worth traveling to from other parts of the city.
Some of our favourites? Well, when we're hungry, Bier Market, Joey, or Rockn Deli are always popular choices! When clothes shopping, there's Eddie Bauer for quality 'basics', or Frank & Oak and Guess for reliable seasonal twists on standard ensembles. And, of course, as lovers of design, we like to stop into Structube as well!
Given the COVID-19 restrictions, these retailers are offering curbside pickup. And you can grab food to go!
A neat little point of interest: once winter comes around, in pre-pandemic times - and hopefully again late this year - the promenade is transformed! Lace up your skates and take a twirl on CF Shops at Don Mills’ very own skating oval. Forgot your skates? They’ve Skate Shack has you covered, with skate and helmet rentals and skate sharpening!
How convenient to have Shop At Don Mills in your 'hood, and be part of the urban lifestyle this north Toronto community has built!! Enjoyable retail therapy awaits the owner of this 2 bedroom suite at 75 Wynford Heights Crescent, which we call: 'Easy, Breezy Living On Wynford Heights Crescent In Reputable Wynford Place' - NOW SOLD!
Questions? Want to book a private viewing? Contact James Ormston at email@example.com!
And thanks for reading!
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*Photos courtesy of Rodeo Drive Condos, CF Shops at Don Mills, and Toronto4kids.com