The suburbs: The best roast beef in town
From the construction of the first bungalow in Don Mills, Ont. in 1953, the debate went one way or the other. Perfectly planned communities were idyllic for some and unliveable for others. Since then, skeptics have weighed in on suburbia's cookie-cutter qualities — strip malls, two-car garages and endless doughnut shops. Nevertheless, Canadian suburbs continue to grow faster than cities, and now even musicians have claimed them a hub of artistic creativity.
In this CBC Radio clip, Oberdorf explains why menus with copious offerings, and specialty cuisines like Asian, are out of the question in suburbia.
. Attributing this to neighbourhood gentrification in the city, he said increased housing costs had caused new immigrants to seek out cheaper living situations in the suburbs.
. In turn, specialty cuisines like food from Sudan, Yemen or Taiwan had become more available in suburbia. On Lawrence Avenue East in Scarborough there were: Iranian, Afghan, Sri Lankan and Korean grocery stores, along with Piegus, a Polish bakery; Nasr Foods, a middle eastern food market; and Arz, an Armenian bakery-deli-café. In 2004 at Thornhill's T & T Taiwanese supermarket, customers could find rare specialty items, such as marinated baby squid, dried okra and fresh cheese with nigella seeds.
. In this 1970s CBC Radio clip, food critic Charles Oberdorf correlated high population density with an increased number of restaurants. Since the 1970s, the density of the suburbs has declined. A 1997 Maclean's article attributed the change to new environmental laws. The article reported that newer suburbs had fewer homes per hectare, which also meant people used cars more often than public transportation.
. In 2000, Statistics Canada reported that more people owned houses in the suburbs than in the city. The study compared Vancouver and Surrey. In Surrey, 70.3 per cent of homes were owned, compared to 41.9 per cent in Vancouver. Houses in Surrey tended on average to have two extra rooms. Family income and employment rates were also higher for the people of Surrey.
. A 2003 Sierra Club of Canada study calculated the projected outcome of 25 years of urban sprawl as: $12 billion extra spent on roads, sewers and water systems; one kilometre of farmland lost in Ontario each day; and billions extra in government services.
Broadcast Date: March 3, 1970
Guest(s): Charles Oberdorf
Interviewer: Helen Hutchinson
Last updated: February 20, 2013
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
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Appealing to a "broader taste" is the suburban specialty.
No one dances with their own spouse on Saturday nights.
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The suburb beckons more often than the city, according to a new study.
Creativity does exist in the suburbs, say the Barenaked Ladies.
Architect of the first modern suburb created Levittown in 1947.
Suburbia goes architecturally high tech.
Residents say modern home doesn't fit with original Don Mills architec...
Half a century later, housing prices aren't as affordable.
From the construction of the first bungalow in Don Mills, Ont. in 1953...