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At that time, larger and larger numbers of city dwellers evacuated old neighbourhoods for entirely new communities.
The size of Canada — which includes many imperfectly mapped islands in the Arctic — inevitably produces shockingly low population density levels.
At 3.4 per square kilometer in 2015, Canada ranks slightly ahead of Iceland and Australia among developed economies but behind the rest.
The setting for modernity was urban, but the lives of most Canadians in the 20th century increasingly became defined as something different: suburban.
Beginning in the 1920s, Canadians began a migration away from city centres to the margin.
In places like Don Mills, where the influence of the 1920s Garden City movement and modernist architecture can be seen, the whole design was in fact tightly controlled as a kind of social experiment in creating a livable space. Some industries were relocating to the edges of cities, and population followed.
Housing prices were lower and so were property taxes.Mississauga, Brampton, Surrey, Laval, Markham, Vaughan, and Burnaby are examples drawn from the largest 20 cities in Canada, none of which contained more than a few thousand in 1914, all of which are very near or past the quarter-million mark now.Each of these began as peripheral, spillover, bedroom communities associated with a larger urban centre and, in that respect, they were very typical.There were also new schools that were instantly a step up from the deteriorating facilities in the inner cities.Young postwar baby-boom families were attracted by all of these features.Initially, what was considered “suburban” was merely the outskirts of the original city.Suburbanization faltered in the 1930s and early 1940s and then resumed in earnest in the postwar period.Finally, the baby boom (considered below) was underway and the need for more spacious houses was widely felt.Figure 9.58 Suburbs have been criticized for “cookie-cutter” housing designs.Housing stock in the city centre had grown overcrowded due to the poverty of the 1930s (as mortgage payments were missed and the number of rental units increased) and with the arrival of large numbers of ex-soldiers after the war.Large older homes were converted to rooming houses with less privacy and aging plumbing, heating, and wiring.