The so-called Cloverleaf Community in southern York region has earned a reputation as one of the most daring and unique suburban designs in North America. The 200 or so homes in the enclave are completely hemmed in by three major arterial roads: Dufferin Street, Langstaff Road and Highway 7. The community is surrounded by cars, and, in fact, has been defiantly designed as a living celebration of 21st century car culture.
According to Melinda Armistice, a resident of Yellowood Circle, “We’ve learned to enjoy the sound of those 18-wheelers, grinding their way around the neighbourhood at 3 A.M. “ As she spoke, a pair of Harley’s with modified pipes rumbled up Dufferin, turned right on Langstaff, and right on Highway 7, creating a marvelous din that blanketed the entire neighbourhood. “Kinda like living in a sub-woofer”, she added.
Most of the residents aren’t actually home much, really. The neighbourhood was carefully designed to be devoid of schools and central parks. However, there is a small parkette on the north east corner . Residents happily drive to grocery stores, the library, public pools, barber shops and other day-to-day destinations, or walk with ease across Dufferin Street to patronize nearby industrial tool companies and various warehouse operations. Some residents occasionally cross the 6-lane Langstaff off-ramp to enjoy scenic walks around the storm water management pond on the north side.
When the enclave’s only exit was blocked by snow this winter, some families were forced to subsist on Tim Hortons and Harvey’s foods, by making overland snowshoe treks across Dufferin. Fortunately, generous York Region residents stepped up to pass hundreds of frozen dinners over the massive 10-foot snow banks to hungry Cloverleaf residents.
What the future holds for Cloverleaf Community is unknown, but area anthropologists believe residents are creating a unique subculture and have even detected the beginnings of a new spoken language in the area.
Next week: replicating the familiar. A look at the integration of commerce on the fringes of large suburban development.