The Don Mills-Banbury area was settled first by Europeans in 1817 and although it was a considerable distance from the town of York, the Don River provided an easy means of transportation and a source of power for the many mills along its length. As Toronto expanded, the Don Mills area stayed rural until after the Second World War as it was cut off from the city by ravines to the south, east and west with only two roads connecting it: York Mills Road and Don Mills Road. In 1950, the area was still comprised of about 20 farms. Don Mills was planned as a model community between 1952 and 1965, with land use, architectural design and building materials being carefully regulated. Many of the aspects of its design have been imitated in suburban development across Canada, with planners giving people priority over industry and transportation.
The aforementioned planning took into account the separation of pedestrian and vehicle traffic which gives Don Mills its safe and comfortable streets. This planning also presented the opportunity to promote modernist architecture and the modern aesthetic. The architectural design, colour, and materials of all the buildings were controlled by Don Mills Development. Only company-approved architects who were educated according to the Bauhaus principles were used so as to prevent the project from deteriorating into a typical post-war subdivision. Don Mills is a mixed-use neighbourhood and one can see many examples of post-war housing from the 50's and 60's with that period's modernist architectural flourishes all present. Many of the original ranch-style examples are still present but a lot of those have been taken down in favour of larger mansions.
Behind many of the houses in the Don Mills area, runs a paved walkway that connect many of the smaller local parks. Another path leads to Edwards Gardens and its botanical centre and many public gardens. Bond Park, is Don Mills largest park and it has baseball facilities and organized leagues and it is also home to the North York Winter Tennis Club. Three Valley Park, located next to the school of the same name has tennis courts and a large children's park. Don Mills Civitan Arena has a house leagues program for children and pleasure skating times reserved throughout the week. Don Mills Public Library on Lawrence Avenue East has activities and programmes for the whole family and the Ontario Science Centre is on Don Mills Road and has a state-of-the-art IMAX theatre and enough interactive displays and shows to fascinate any science nerd in the family.