A condominium? What's that?

It wasn't a house, but it wasn't an apartment, either. The condominium was a new way of living in 1968, and the CBC was there to explain it.

Neither house nor apartment, it was a new style of housing in 1968

From 1968: What is a condominium?

3 years ago
Duration 2:21
A new type of housing has come to Ontario.

It wasn't a house, but it wasn't an apartment, either.

The condominium was a new way of living in 1968, and the CBC's Bill Casey was there to explain it. 

"It looks like row housing. It is row housing, with a difference," said Casey in a report on Aug. 23, 1968. "It's called joint control, or condominium housing."

In a condominium, the purchaser bought a unit, rather than renting it from a landlord. And all owners jointly controlled the surrounding property.

"It's an old idea, but new to Ontario," added Casey, who said the province had allowed the ownership format for less than a year.

Banks were wary 

Peter Langer, a real estate developer, said banks were still catching up when it came to financing condominium purchases. (CBC News/CBC Archives)

It was so new that banks were still figuring out how to finance such purchases.

"The one big problem ... is the apparent reluctance of lending institutions to provide financing for these condominium developments," said Peter Langer, a real estate developer. 

But he said he expected banks would eventually come around, and more condominium developments would follow.

Casey said the appeal of condominiums was their lower price compared with traditional single-family dwellings.

At one such development at Jane Street and Finch Avenue in northwest Toronto, prices started at $19,300 with a down payment of $3,400. (That's more than $155,000 in 2022 dollars.)

'Swarms' of children

"The best you can do in an apartment is have a balcony," said Pat Hunter, who liked having yards in the front and back of her condominium in Bramalea, Ont. (CBC News/CBC Archives)

A renter had told Casey one of the realities of living in a condominium, which he paraphrased as the camera showed residents relaxing outside their units. 

"You have to like children. They travel in swarms," he said. 

For Pat Hunter, condominium dwelling with her children easily beat apartment living.

"The best you can do in an apartment is to have a balcony, and that can be confining for children," she said. "Here, they're out in my backyard. I can look at them." 

But she agreed she still hoped to live in a detached home someday, or even in the country.

With land prices increasing, condominium development wasn't letting up, said Casey. Another developer was even planning to put up "the city's first condominium apartment building." 

"In Metro [Toronto], it seems, the days of the ivy-covered cottage and white picket fence are numbered," summed up Casey.

"The dream of the single-family detached home dies hard," noted reporter Bill Casey. "But ... many builders are betting it will be replaced by the condominium." (CBC News/CBC Archives)

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