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The Rise of the Shopping Center

MEADOWVALE NEW TOWN / Macklin Hancock 

Macklin Leslie Hancock (1925-2010), the son of Leslie and Dorothy Hancock, was born in Nanking, China. He settled in Cooksville, Ontario and was the man who revolutionized urban planning in the second half of the 20th century. Only in his twenties he made his mark by designing the ‘new town’ of Don Mills between 1952 and 1956. The former World War II fighter pilot had just graduated from the Harvard School of Design when he got the assignment. In 1956 Hancock formed his own company, Project Planning Associates Limited, Toronto. He was president for 43 years, and was involved in the planning and construction of Ontario Place and the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67.  Hancock and his team also created the master plan and the main campus design for the University of Guelph in addition to many other projects across the globe.

Hancock would eventually design two major towns in Mississauga in the 1970s: Meadowvale and Erin Mills.

“Meadowvale was ‘the’ place when we designed it,” says Macklin Hancock. “People came from Australia and around the world to see it. It was the cat’s meow.” He helped build modern-day Mississauga. The Meadowvale development took up 11,000 acres of fields and was designed to house 70,000 people. Macklin Hancock designed Lake Aquitaine as a recreation area which cost $2 million when it was created.

Meadowvale Town Centre, located at 6677 Meadowvale Town Centre Circle on 40 acres, opened on 25 January 1978. This deluxe shopping mall was built by Markborough Properties, the company that built Meadowvale West, where the Town Centre is located, South and North subdivisions. There were 21 stores in the indoor mall, which included the largest Dominion Supermarket in Canada. On the first anniversary a three-dimensional 40-foot clock tower was unveiled in January 1979.

Phase two took place in 1980 when the Centre was expanded to 51 stores, clothing outlets, a bakery, Woolco, an Appleby’s Restaurant and Fast Food Court. This section was opened in 1980. The next redevelopment took place in 2002 and the existing mall was converted into a dominate retail centre that boasted 387,000 square feet. In December 2003, the Town Centre was acquired by First Capital (Meadowvale) Corp.  Today Meadowvale Town Centre is home to 88 stores and almost 400,000 square feet of retail space.

The Macklin L. Hancock/Project Planning Associates Collection, consisting of over 100 project files, is housed at the University of Guelph Library Archives.

Hancock was a visionary, raised with a love of horticulture and the environment. He dedicated his life to living with beauty in an urban setting.