Today it might be enough to buy a new car, but in 1977, a brand-new Minto garden home could be yours for $38,000. At the time, Minto’s semi-detached houses in Barrhaven started at $57,400, and their detached houses began at $76,200, so this was a very enticing price. When new, these were Minto’s best-selling homes in our entire history.
What did you get for $38,000? A two-storey, 3-bedroom house with such noteworthy features such as “luxurious wall to wall carpet” (remember, shag was en vogue at the time), an eat-in kitchen, as well as one full bathroom and a powder room. Minto’s garden home designs also included split-level models and even some unique layouts with a main-floor bedroom.
So, what exactly is a garden home? Garden homes are enclaves of townhouses designed in clusters around common greenspaces. The units do not have garages, but footpaths link the houses to parking areas nearby. The houses are laid out in picturesque clusters throughout the complexes. Staggering of houses and having different designs in a row also creates visual interest and avoids monotony — something Minto still gives careful consideration to when it comes to community design to this day.
Likewise, façade variations using wood, brick, siding and pebble dash add variety. By not having attached garages, main floor front windows allow for a visual connection to the neighbourhood and footpaths, and many of the designs have a kitchen overlooking the front yard.
Minto built garden homes in Orléans, Barrhaven, Beacon Hill, Pineview and Tanglewood. The heyday of the Minto garden home was during the 1970s and into the early 1980s. Forty years later, these houses are still a great affordable option in established areas of the city.