Garrison Village, new urbanist development, NOTL

Regular readers may recall some previous drop ins — and critiques –to New Urbanist towns. Sometimes these are new new towns, sometimes they are old new towns. Today, Garrison Village, near Niagara on the Lake, On.

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This is a new town that wears that moniker proudly on all its marketing materials. The sales office comes complete with a library of books on Seaside, Celebration, and other notable new urbanist stories.

The entrance street off the highway into Niagara on the Lake has a fine row of red brick federalist/georgian/colonial homes. They are close to the sidewalk, and strongly convey the message to visitors and residents that this is not a typical suburb.

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A number of residents had modified the intensive and extensive landscaping provided by the developer, including putting out sitting benches that were clearly meant to be sat upon, not just to decorate a stage-set.

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If anything, the proximity of sidewalk to semi-private spaces was too close for comfort, since these front porches afforded no privacy and one pretty much felt obliged to acknowledge the person on the sidewalk or porch.

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While some people may live and work in the NOTL area, the development also appeals to empty nesters and retirees looking for the good life amongst the vineyards and theatre of NOTL. To say nothing of the proximity to Buffalo Airport and cheap flights.  There were quite a number of bungalow units, with a master suite on the main floor and a den/study/guestroom(s) upstairs or in a high basement, for visitors from the Big Smoke, or adult children.

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All of the buildings were of traditional styles, colonial, federal-georgian, ontario farmhouse, simcoe urban houses, farmhouses, etc. This is a very common trait of new urbanist towns, a return to traditional small town landscape and house styles. There were no “shoe box” designs or shiny corrugated walls. Most of the homes had rear yard access for parking.

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The project got becalmed by the housing slowdown a few years ago. There are several new developers/builders now involved. Nonetheless, I was surprised to find these incongruously suburban manors at the back of the neighbourhood: traditional style, suburban access, very large garages.

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Over the next few days, there’ll be some views of the commercial development, the street layout, pedestrian mews, etc.