CMHC model house designs, 1947–1978

Almost any part of suburban Toronto brings a sameness of houses. Many neighbourhoods were built as a block, in the same year, in the same style. In order to encourage solid and financially-sound building design, the government agency Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (initially Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation; but always CMHC) sponsored house design competitions and paid architects a royalty for use of their designs in return for making the plans available inexpensively to all.

(I should note that that “available … to all” came with a fairly heavy dose of colonialism. As with credit to Francophone Canadians in the 19th century, mortgage finance was denied to First Nations people in Canada until very recently. Just part of the conciliation we have to do before there’s a hope of useful reconciliation.)

So many suburban neighbourhoods come straight out of the CMHC catalogues. CMHC houses are featured in Douglas Coupland’s Souvenir of Canada. They’re not part of the the whole “majestic” Canada thing, but they are as Canadian as _____.

I came across a tweet the other day about the CMHC catalogues:

I went to the site and there were loads of catalogues there, all languishing unbrowsably in boring old FTP folders. So I decided to put up all the CMHC Small House designs that I could find on archive.org. Here’s a sampler from each of the decades that are available:

Plan 47-10: 700 sq ft. (1947)
Bungalows and split-level houses: designs 112 and 132 (1954)
Modèle 762 Architecte: JOHN BIRD, Westmount, Qué.    Il s’agit ici d’une grande maison en brique sur bois, à mi-étages, à  trois chambres. Le garage est au niveau du sol, et sept marches  conduisent à la porte avant. Le living-room est à l'avant de la maison.  Derrière celui-ci et sept marches plus bas, sont situées la salle familiale  et la cuisine. Les chambres sont à huit marches au-dessus du niveau  du living-room. Le plafond du living-room est à la même hauteur que  le plafond des chambres. Il y a une salle de toilette en bas, près de  Pentrée latérale. Le sous-sol qui contient le chauffage et l’entreposage,  est situé sous le living-room seulement. La meilleure orientation    serait de placer le côté gauche face au nord.
Modèle 762 — Architecte: JOHN BIRD, Westmount, Qué. (1965)
Design 1.09M: 97.7 m² (1977)

So many houses. So many neighbourhoods. So many families. So many stories.

These are all of the CMHC design catalogues that I put up on Internet Archive:

  1. 67 Homes for Canadians (1947)
  2. Small House Designs: Bungalows (1949)
  3. Small House Designs: 1½-storey (1949)
  4. Small House Designs: 2-storey (1949)
  5. Small House Designs: Bungalows (1950)
  6. Small House Designs: 1½-storey (1950)
  7. Small House Designs: 2-storey (1950)
  8. Modèles de Maisons: Région de Québec (1950)
  9. West Coast House Designs (c.1950)
  10. Small House Designs: Bungalows (1952)
  11. Small House Designs: 1½-storey (1952)
  12. Small House Designs: 2-storey (1952)
  13. DND Small House Designs (1954)
  14. Small House Designs: Bungalows and split-level houses (1954)
  15. Small House Designs: Two-storey and 1½ storey houses (1954)
  16. Modèles de Maisons: Région de Québec (1954)
  17. Small House Designs (1957)
  18. Modèles de Petites Maisons (1957)
  19. Small House Designs (1958)
  20. Small House Designs – Supplement (1958)
  21. Modèles de Petites Maisons (1958)
  22. Modèles de Petites Maisons – Supplément (1958)
  23. Small House Designs (1962)
  24. Small House Designs (1965)
  25. Small House Designs Supplement (1965)
  26. Modèles de Petites Maisons (1965)
  27. House Designs / Modèles de Maisons (1968)
  28. House Designs / Modèles de Maisons (1968; Supplement 1)
  29. House Designs / Modèles de Maisons (1968; Supplement 2)
  30. House Designs / Modèles de Maisons (1971)
  31. House Designs / Modèles de Maisons (1972)
  32. House Designs / Modèles de Maisons (1974)
  33. A Selection of Small House Designs (1976)
  34. Modest House Designs 1977
  35. Modest House Designs 1977 (Metric edition)

They’re all downloaded from CMHC’s FTP site (ftp://ftp.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/chic-ccdh/HousePlans/). A dedicated urban architecture archivist could have a field day there.

CMHC link via Elie Bourget – thanks!

The Real Change that Canadians* want

We’ve just had an election in Canada. You probably didn’t know.

The (now) majority Liberal Party of Canada ran a set of 106 issues pages, and their stance on each. Visitors could vote on how they felt on these issues. The overall results aren’t tabulated there yet, so I took the liberty of scraping the data (harder than it looked) and ranked it.

Here are the top ten issues from the website, ranked by popularity:

  1. Marijuana
  2. Guns
  3. Electoral reform
  4. International students and temporary residents
  5. Middle class tax cut
  6. Helping families
  7. Ending unfair tax breaks
  8. Canada Post
  9. Science and scientists
  10. Post-secondary education

I have no idea how objective this information is. I suspect some attempts were made to game the system, looking at the vote counts for the top two.

Here’s the data: liberaldotca-realchange-poll-data-2015-10-20-183923. All the columns after Five Stars were derived by me.

I’m very disappointed that the issue of Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls wasn’t even in the top twenty. C’mon Canada; for once, don’t let me down.

*: english-speaking Canadians who visited» Real Change and voted on issues there before 2015-10-20 18:39:23 EDT, that is.

Stephen still a novice glove puppeteer, confirms Laureen Harper

harper_fuzzy_sharkpuppet
(image lifted from Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes another northern tour – Politics – CBC News)

Man, those Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press pictures from last year just keep giving! It’s a shame that the Sharky hand-puppet didn’t catch on (via fFOIA request: “… a tool to embed Capitalist values into younger children. Catchphrase: ‘It's okay to take, kids! …”) but he didn’t test well with the pre-school crowd.

Ten years in Canada

A decade ago today, Catherine and I landed in our adopted home. There was snow on the ground. Late in the day, we checked into the Holiday Inn at Martin Grove and Dixon. We hadn’t brought clothes for snow.

The next day we went to stay at the meeting house. The day after I braved slush and the Warden bus for a job interview at Warden and Alden in Markham. There were still farms at Warden and Steeles.

Until we moved in here in late June, we house sat, couch-surfed, whatever you want to call it. We relied so much upon the kindness of then-strangers. So thank you to: Don and all the Bowyers, Jane Orion, Brett & Nancy, Lynn & Tam, Brydon & René; to Les for the first job at Gandalf, to Dave and the TREC crew for being there at the start of a new industry.

I didn’t blog back then, kept no journal, and took few photographs. The first few years were tough — early 2003 might be a special low point, with a bitter winter, a dreadful job and a flooded basement. Every tiny detail of the immigration process seemed so important at the time, but now barely registers. Getting a SIN card up on St Clair? Biggest deal ever, then.

So, thanks to everyone, here’s home now. I think it was the right move.

A bit too much Randy Bachman

Richard “Friendly Rich” Marsella noted that CBC Radio’s Vinyl Tap with Randy Bachman features a lot of music by … Randy Bachman. If you’ve got your own radio show “to play [your] favourite songs and tell stories from [your] life on the road and in the studio“, you might want to be a bunch heavier on your influences than your own actual work. It doesn’t seem that way with Randy Bachman, though.

In the 49 unique editions of Vinyl Tap broadcast in the last year, 27 of them feature his own music and/or performances. So in addition to his CBC pay for the show, he’s getting royalties, too. Rich puts it a little better, if a lot more invective filled:

Bring back quality broadcasting from people behind the scenes who are hard-working and informed…not merely has-been rock stars with egos larger than Winnipeg.

Given that Mr. Bachman constantly plays his own music on this show, receives royalties for the theme song, and might also be receiving ACTRA payments for incessantly wanking on his guitar between songs, CBC should consider whether or not this is a conflict of interest, as a public broadcaster.

Richard’s started a petition: Let’s petition to remove Randy’s Vinyl Tap from the CBC: No more BTO on the CBC! I’ve signed it, and I hope you’ll consider signing it too.

I ran some stats on the show’s playlists (thanks, CBC!), and Richard sure has a point. Here’s a list of all the shows from the last year, showing just the first Bachman-item on the show:

Broadcast Song Performer Album/Concert Randy Bachman credit
2011/03/04 Takin’ Care Of Business Bachman-Turner Overdrive Best Of Bachman-Turner Overdrive Live Composer
2011/03/05
2011/03/12
2011/03/19
2011/03/26 When Friends Fall Out Guess Who American Woman Composer
2011/04/02
2011/04/09 Undun Kurt Elling Nightmoves Composer
2011/04/16
2011/04/23 We Gotta Change Playlist For The Planet Composer
2011/04/30 Repo Man Repo Man Composer
2011/05/07 I’m Happy Just To Dance With You Bachman Cummings Jukebox Guitar
2011/05/14 Who Do You Love Bachman Cummings Jukebox Guitar
2011/05/21
2011/05/29
2011/06/04 Laughing Guess Who: Anthology Composer
2011/06/11
2011/06/18
2011/06/25 Undun Kurt Elling Nightmoves Composer
2011/07/01 Raise A Little Hell Trooper Hot Shots Producer
2011/07/09 Takin Care Of Business Randy’s Vinyl Tap – Guitarology 101 Composer
2011/07/16 Blue Collar Bachman-Turner Overdrive Anthology Producer
2011/07/23
2011/07/30
2011/08/06
2011/08/13
2011/08/20
2011/09/10
2011/09/17
2011/09/24
2011/10/01 Closing Time Closing Time Composer
2011/10/08 Lenny’s Warmup And Improvisation Of Autumn Leaves Lenny Breau Cabin Fever Producer
2011/10/15 Suite Theam Composer, Performer
2011/10/22 No Time Guess Who American Woman Composer
2011/11/05
2011/11/12 Undun Kurt Elling Nightmoves Composer
2011/11/19 Shotgun Rider Bachman-Turner Overdrive Freeways Producer
2011/11/26 Blue Sky Day Lindsay Ell Consider This Composer
2011/12/03 Day Off Michael Carey Composer
2011/12/10
2011/12/17 Geh Zoag Ma Doch Die Ding Spider Murphy Gang Geh Zoag Ma Doch Die Ding Composer
2011/12/23 Takin’ Care Of Christmas Takin’ Care Of Christmas Composer
2011/12/30 You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet Bachman-Turner Overdrive Anthology Composer
2012/01/14
2012/01/21 Any Road Randy Bachman Any Road Composer
2012/01/28
2012/02/11 Walk Bachman Cummings Jukebox Guitar
2012/02/18 Who Do You Love Bachman Cummings Jukebox Guitar
2012/02/25
2012/03/03

Of course, when anyone mentions BTO, I can’t help but think of

… which is a whole heaping helping of morissettian irony unto itself. The whole Smashie and Nicey thing was supposedly a factor in Matthew Bannister’s decision to fire the ageing and irrelevant DJs from BBC Radio 1 in the 1990s. I wouldn’t dream of making any inference from that …

help help I’m being harassed by the New Democratic Party

You’d think that Canada’s New Democrats would be a bit more respectful and techno-savvy, but for the life of me, I can’t get them to stop sending me e-mail. I donated last year, but I don’t want to get updates any more.

I’ve hit the unsubscribe page five times, and received confirmation each time:

  • on Fri, 12 Aug 2011 17:18:04
  • on Fri, 11 Nov 2011 11:57:58
  • on Thu, 26 Jan 2012 08:07:21
  • on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 14:25:09
  • on Sun, 29 Jan 2012 11:35:33

I’ve now sent something via the contact form. Do I have to fax them, too?

Only in Canada …

Pink Snow in June
Pink Snow in June

A pile of candy-coloured snow on a hot day in June is no surprise to many Canadians. The photo location may help those outside the country, though it helps to know what a “community recreation centre” is.

 

Why I didn’t vote for George Smitherman

I didn’t vote for George Smitherman because I fundamentally disagree with the secret deal he initiated with the Korean consortium (including Samsung and Kepco). A feed-in tariff is all about equal access to the right to connect. The consortium, with its guaranteed grid capacity, sidesteps this equal access.

To make things worse, the consortium may have access to a price adder on top of the FiT prices. This is supposed to recognize the consortium’s expertise in the supply chain, and its consequential creation of jobs through local manufacturing.  There are many other companies — some of which actually have supply chain experience in the renewable energy sector — who would bring the same number of jobs for the same number of megawatts.

So, ixnay on the Ithermansmay for that. There’s no way I’d vote for the glistening oaf (a phrase coined by Catherine after seeing this picture), so Joe Pantalone it was.  Joey Pants’ campaign was, well, a bit pants, but he was the most appropriate of the candidates.