John Bentley Mays in Oakville

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From: S. B. Banerjee
Date: 03 Nov 2003
Time: 10:54:10 -0500
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I enjoyed the series of articles about Oakville by John Bentley Mays, but I could not disagree with him more. One cannot use an urban metric for what is essentially a town or small city. Oakville downtown still maintains its small town charm and did not resort to the "Eaton Centre" downtown of many similar sized cities in the 1970s. Many of its suburban street scapes are actually quite pleasant as a result of all the additional trees and natural trails. Similar neighborhoods in Mississauga and other suburbs have not aged as gracefully. I am personally not a fan of the crowded "New Urbanism" parts of the town. There always seems to be more houses for sale there than in the 20 year old part of town where I live. Yes public transit could be improved, and slowing down development in environmentally sensitive areas might be a good idea, but I feel this is a nice place to raise a family and there is lots to do if you are active in the community. While critics are often quick to dismiss suburbia and its architecture, I am always keenly aware of the "sameness" of houses in most parts of Toronto, which in many cases are nearly identical. The ever prominent square-plan pervades every corner of the city and even the houses in tony Yorkville's streets often have the same elevation but in semi, townhouse or detached form. Leaside's houses look like those in many other parts of the city and everyone is familiar with the ubiquitous East York bungalow. The only attractive parts of the city (Forest Hills, Rosedale etc) are not affordable, even for most two income families. I love living in Oakville - it's a great town. I also like that it is close to Toronto, one of the most liveable, if not particularly attractive, cities anywhere. Rather than badmouthing "suburbia", I think we need to appreciate what we have and look at other similar communities who are doing things better so we can improve.

Last changed: 04/02/04