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Social Science Human Geography

Corner Windows and Cul-de-Sacs

The Remarkable Story of Newfoundland's First Garden Suburb

by (author) C.A. Sharpe & A.J. Shawyer

Memorial University Press
Initial publish date
Dec 2021
Human Geography, Historical Geography, Urban & Land Use Planning
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

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At a distance, Corner Windows and Cul-De-Sacs is a study of urban growth, planning, and household reform; up close, the study reveals a much more human story. In 1942, while Newfoundland was in an active war zone, the death rate in St. John’s was higher than anywhere else in the colony. Overcrowded and dilapidated tenements, huddled on a maze of narrow lanes, fell prey to rampant tuberculosis, shockingly high infant mortality rates, and infectious disease. In 1944, under crippling debt, the St. John’s Housing Corporation was formed, with a mandate to build a new garden suburb north of the city that would lead to the abandonment and demolition of the derelict housing. Churchill Park became the core of this residential development, and between 1945 and 1947 more than 200 houses and nearly 100 apartment units were constructed, laying the groundwork for the orderly post-war expansion of the city.

About the authors

Chris Sharpe is Professor Emeritus of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. During his 40-year career at MUNL, he pursued an interest in urban landscapes and housing. He is co-author of Sweat Equity: Cooperative House-Building in Newfoundland, 1920–1974.

C.A. Sharpe's profile page

Jo Shawyer is a retired Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Throughout her career she has explored the dynamic character of cultural landscapes — their creation, maintenance, and change. Employing both field work and archival research, Jo has studied landscapes personal and public, urban and rural, historical and contemporary. She is co-author of Sweat Equity: Cooperative House-Building in Newfoundland, 1920–1974.

A.J. Shawyer's profile page


  • Winner, The Honourable Edward Roberts History Book Award

Editorial Reviews

Corner Windows and Cul-de-Sacs remains a significant work that will aid in promoting the study of postwar planning and architecture in Newfoundland, a topic overshadowed by public and scholarly interest in the island’s colonial fishing heritage. [This] book stands as a powerful reminder of the classist dimensions of postwar planning as well as the urgent relevance of these issues today.

Dustin Valen, The Canadian Historical Review

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