Condominium towers surround these central buildings and public spaces, forming the skyline. The major office towers in the area are those at Consilium Place, which was completed in 1991. In a band around the southern side of the city centre are densely forested parklands, between Borough Drive and Ellesmere Road. Outside the immediate city centre is mostly industrial parks and low-density housing.
Prior to the 1940s, the area was mainly agricultural and the closest communities were Agincourt and Malvern. One farm was the farm of George and Lena Bick, who founded the Bick's Pickle brand from pickles grown and processed on their farm. Although the farm was eventually converted to residential and industrial land, the production facility was located on Progress Avenue until 2001. Development in the area had first come in the 1950s when Ontario Highway 401 was built through the area. One early development was the TV studios of CFTO-TV at the intersection of the 401 and McCowan Road.
Scarborough became part of Metropolitan Toronto in 1954. As part of the federation, a planning policy was to build "sub-centres" to the central business core of the then-City of Toronto. Scarborough Civic Centre, built to house the Scarborough and Metro district offices and the accompanying mall of Scarborough Town Centre were built in the 1970s. The area was connected to the core by rapid transit in the 1980s. Under policies to build up the area, office towers and condominium towers have been built to surround the complex.