Watson Properties Since 1879 Limited is a privately held, third generation real estate development company. Its founder, Charles F. Watson was a true real estate visionary.
The company’s roots trace back to when he was a co-founder of Peel-Elder Limited. In 1959, Peel Village Developments Limited becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Elder Mines and Developments Limited, a $100 Million industrial and residential development. The initial development consisted of 400 acres of farm fields in Brampton located just north of Steeles Avenue and Highway 10.
Peel Village, Brampton was the first-ever entirely planned community, which included industrial, commercial and residential development which spanned over 1,100 acres. It consisted of 5,000 houses, seven schools, churches, shopping malls, the American Motors Company auto plant and a high rise apartment building.
With the overwhelming popularity of the Peel Village residential development, Charles then purchased land on the West side of Highway 10 and began work on Shoppers’ World Brampton (he had already developed Shoppers’ World Danforth, Toronto). By the early 1970’s, it was Canada’s top selling mall per square foot, which was anchored by Simpsons. The 1970’s also saw Watson go on to develop high-rise residential buildings on Graydon Hall Drive in Toronto.
In 1973, due to health reasons he resigned from his positions of Officer and Director of approximately 40 publicly traded companies listed on the American Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange and the former Canadian Stock Exchange. They included Peel-Elder Limited, Canadian Goldale, Tokar, Marriott Hotels, the predecessor to Cara Foods and Ontario Trust which was the predecessor to Canada Trust.
Following his brief retirement from corporate life, Charlie’s love for real estate development led him to Southern Florida where he exclusively developed waterfront properties in Palm Beach County, Marco Island and Boca Raton. Beginning in 1977, Charlie and daughter Shirley purchased 6 acres of oceanfront/intracoastal front property on Millionaire’s Mile in Hillsboro Beach. It was here that Charlie introduced a revolutionary oceanfront ownership structure which allowed owners to purchase large single family homes on the water, as opposed to a small condo. The development, which he named Hillsboro Beach and Yacht Villas was so well received that the concept was soon duplicated by other developers in Southern Florida. It was at this time that Shirley became very involved with the Watson developments throughout Florida and transitioned into the President’s role.
Today, Watson Properties continues to own and develop real estate across Ontario and Southeastern Florida. It is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.