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culture

Historicist: Living the Towne & Countrye Square Life

Checking in on the 1966 opening of Centerpoint Mall's predecessor.


Following the opening of Lawrence Plaza in 1953, North York went shopping plaza mad. As the once-rural township transformed into postwar suburbia, farms gave way to large retail structures and their accompanying parking lots. From small neighbourhood strip malls to major shopping centres like Don Mills and Yorkdale, North York residents could do most of their shopping near home.

Among the participants in this boom was the oddly spelled Towne & Countrye Square. When it opened at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue in June 1966, it touted itself as “Sophisticated ‘Downtown’ Shopping in a Country Club Atmosphere.” Although one would be hard-pressed to find any resemblance between a genteel golf course and the shopping centre’s present-day incarnation as Centerpoint Mall, credit the opening day ad writers for their imagination. As was typical of the era, the mall was greeted with several advertorial pages in the community newspaper, the Enterprise.

Don your finest shopping clothes and step inside the photo gallery to experience the opening of Towne & Countrye Square.

Additional material from the June 1, 1966 edition of the Enterprise, the October 19, 1966 edition of the Globe and Mail, the December 9, 1999 edition of the New York Times, and the March 28, 1991 edition of the Toronto Star.

Every Saturday, Historicist looks back at the events, places, and characters that have shaped Toronto into the city we know today.

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/marshall.sean Sean Marshall

    “Among the participants in this boom was the oddly spelled Towne & Countrye Square.”
    Today, Centerpoint is oddly spelled, having rejected using the proper spelling of “Centre”

    I’m curious as to whether Centerpoint [sic] was anything more than a rebranding of Towne and Countrye Square, as I remember the old name lasting well into the 1980s.

    • edmundcjoconnor

      The last photo shows the changeover being announced in November 1990, complete with that very same complaint regarding the spelling.

  • TomLuTon

    There’s a weird coincidence about image 8 of the community newspaper ‘The Enterprise’

    The newspaper is using the exact font that the art department at Paramount chose in 1979 for the lettering on the rebuilt USS Enterprise for the first (and all subsequent) Star Trek movie. That’s13 years in the future from the date on the newspaper. I wonder if there’s a connection (Someone in the art department was from North York?) or if it’s pure coincidence