Markham, Ontario

From Academic Kids

Markham is a town in York Region, directly north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Markham is the largest incorporated town in Canada and is part of the Greater Toronto Area.



Markham was first surveyed as a township in 1793 by William Berzy (Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll 1744-1813), first settled in 1794 and incorporated as a town in 1972. Markham is twinned with Nördlingen, Germany.


Markham is bounded by the Town of Richmond Hill and the City of Vaughan to the west, Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville to the north, City of Pickering to the east and City of Toronto to the south. It is at Template:Coor dm.

Template:Canada CP 2001


Racial make-up One of the only places where Whites are a minority in the country. The other is Richmond, British Columbia.

  • White: 44.3%
  • Chinese: 30.0%
  • South Asian: 12.7%
  • Black: 3.8%
  • Filipino: 2.5%
  • West Asian: 1.1%
  • Korean: 1.1%

Religious make-up


When Upper and Lower Canada were established in 1791, Colonel John Graves Simcoe was appointed the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. Simcoe named the Township of Markham, north of the Town of York (now Toronto), after his friend William Markham, the Archbishop of York.

Markham Township was originally surveyed in 1793-94, but not until 1801 was the township divided into 10 concession road (now numbered line roads) running north and south, with six sideroads running east/west (now numbered avenues).

Here are just some of the concession and sideroads from the survey: [List of concession and sideroads in Markham, Ontario]

Eventually, the boundaries of Markham occupied the area, as follows:

  • NORTH: Whitchurch Town Line (Between 19th Avenue and Stouffville Side Road)
  • SOUTH: Scarborough Town Line (Steeles Avenue)
  • EAST: Pickering Town Line
  • WEST: Vaughan Town Line (Yonge Street)

The boundaries of present day Markham are as follows:

Beginning at the southeastern corner, the boundary stretches northward along the York-Durham Line until approximately one half concession between 19th Avenue and Stouffville Side Road.

The boundary continues westward until it reaches highway 404, where it runs in a southerly direction until intersecting Regional Road Seven, (formerly King's Highway 7.) From this point it stretches westward following Langstaff Road until King's Highway 11, and travels south until Steeles Avenue East.

The Southern border straddles the centre line of Steeles Avenue East until it reaches the town's southeastern corner at the York-Durham Line. All boundaries and concessions are straight lines at slightly more than a right angle to each other, forming a geographical area roughly in the shape of two connected parallelograms.

In 1794, William Berczy led 75 German families from New York State to Markham Township, an area know as German Mills today. Each family was granted 200 acres (0.8 km²). Because of hardships, many returned to York and Niagara and the area became a ghost town. In 1797, because of the revolution in France in 1789, many nobility fled the country and set off for Canada to take advantage of free land grants in Upper Canada. They were totally unprepared for survival under such crude conditions and most of them returned to their homeland.

From 1803 to 1812, the largest group of settlers were Pennsylvania Germans, most of whom were Mennonites. These highly skilled craftsmen and knowledgeable farmers had the best chance for survival because they had already survived harsh conditions in Pennsylvania. From 1830 on, many Irish, Scottish and English emigrated to Upper Canada to escape the famine and overpopulation of their homeland.

Markham's early years blended the rigours of homesteading with the development of agriculture-based industries. The many rivers and streams in the Township soon supported water-powered saw and grist mills and, later, woollen mills. With improved transportation routes, such as Yonge Street and the growing population, urbanization increased. By 1857 most of the Township had been cleared of timber and was under cultivation. Villages like Thornhill, Unionville and Markham greatly expanded and new, specialized industries such as wagon works, tanneries, farm implement and furniture factories sprang up.

In 1871, the Toronto and Nipissing Railway Company, with stations in Unionville and Markham, officially opened its line from Scarborough to Uxbridge. Initially, the railway brought renewed prosperity and rapid development. Farmers and millers had a more convenient means of transporting their products to Toronto. Other merchants had easier access to supplies and business boomed.

The first form of structured municipal government occurred in 1850 when the Township of Markham was created. On November 20, 1872, the Warden of York County signed the By-law of Incorporation, which provided for the election of a Council for the Village of Markham. The Village of Markham grew to a population of 1100 by 1891.

The increased communication with Toronto brought on by the railway and further enhanced by the development of the telegraph, the telephone and the automobile, ultimately led to the demise of the villages in the Township after the turn of the century. Local industries were simply unable to compete with the larger manufacturers and suppliers of Toronto, and Markham soon reverted to a quiet, rural community.

Post War Growth

From 1945 onward, the face of Markham began to change rapidly. It was no longer a community whose inhabitants worked mainly within the area. It evolved into a fast-growing suburb, where the majority of its residents commuted into Toronto. As a result, rural Markham disappeared in the face of tremendous urban growth.

By 1969, the Township of Markham consisted of several villages, including Markham, Unionville, and parts of Thornhill. In 1971, the Regional Municipality of York was established by the Government of Ontario. Northern portions of Markham Township were annexed to the municipalities of Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville, while the balance of Markham Township was incorporated in the Town of Markham and the present town boundaries set.

Modern Growth

In 1976, Markham's population was approximately 56,000. Since that time, the population has more than tripled. Explosive growth in new sub-divisions has lead to a jump in population since the 1980s. Much of Markham's farm land has disappeared, now found well north of 16th Avenue. Concerns from environmentalist and concerns with the future of the Oak Ridge's Moraine will impact the extent of growth of the northern portion of Markham.

At present, Markham comprises seven distinct communities: Markham Village, Cornell, Unionville, Wismer Common, Stouffville, Milliken and Thornhill. Since the 1980s the town has been recognized as a suburb of Toronto, though it has an independent economy. Many high-tech industries have located in Markham for the relative abundance of land, low tax rates and good transportation routes. ATI Technologies, IBM Canada, Apple Computer Canada, Motorola Canada and many other well-known companies have chosen Markham as their home in Canada. Hence, the town has been branding itself as Canada's "High-Tech Capital".


The Markham Town Council consists of the Mayor, four Regional Councillors and eight Councillors each representing one of the town's eight wards (The current Mayor of Markham is Donald Cousens, former PC MPP for Markham and church minister). The Mayor and four Regional Councillors are elected by the community to represent the Town of Markham at the regional level.

The members of council, called councillors, are elected by the municipality's voters. Council members are paid by the municipality for their services, but in many municipalities, members of council usually serve part-time and work at other jobs as well.

Municipal elections are conducted every three years, and members of council are elected by the residents to a three-year term of office. The selection of members for the offices of Mayor and Regional Councillors are made Town-wide, while Ward Councillors are elected by individual ward.

The town offices are located at the Markham Civic Centre at Highway 7 and Warden Avenue. The previous offices on Woodbine Avenue has disappeared, but the historic Town Hall on Markham Main Street is now a restored office building.

Current Town Council (2004): List of Councillors for the Town of Markham, Ontario

Also see Historic list of mayors of the Township/Town of Markham

Provincial Representation

  • Tony C Wong, Liberal MPP for Markham
  • Mario G. Racco, Liberal MPP for Thornhill
  • Frank Klees, P.C. MPP for Oak Ridges

Federal Representation

  • Hon. John McCallum, Liberal MP for Markham - Unionville (and Minister of National Revenue), former Minister of National Defence, Minister of Veterans' Affairs, and Royal Bank Economist
  • Lui Temelkovski, Liberal MP for Oak Ridges - Markham
  • Susan Kadis, Liberal MP for Thornhill

Law and Order

There are no courts in Markham, but is served by a court in Newmarket. Policing is provided by York Regional Police at a station near McCowan Road and Highway 7.

Town Issues

Like most cities and towns in the Greater Toronto Area, Markham has a number of issues to deal with:

Urban Growth

There is a desire by the Town to control urban sprawl by requesting higher density for new development. The town plan calls for more growth along Highway 7 and less towards the farm land to the North. A similar development in Cornell promotes the need for a services to be closer to residences.

Transit Plan

Linked to the concern of urban growth, Markham through York Region Transit (YRT) is developing a new transit plan to ease strain on the region's congested roads. Even with Highway 407 and widening of roads have not lead to less traffic, but encourage residents to drive.

Race Relations

Since the remarks made by then Councillor (and former Mayor) Bell, Markham has strived to improve relations with the visible minorities whom live in the town. A race relations committee set-up by Mayor Cousens has created an opportunity for dialogue for all residents of Markham. Problems still remain due to the reluctance of the new residence to integrated with the others.

Markham's Neighbourhoods and Communities

Markham is made up of many communities, each with a distinctive characater:

  • Armadale
  • Berczy
  • Box Grove
  • Cornell
  • Crosby
  • Markham Village
  • Milliken Mills
  • Unionville


Here is a list of parks in Markham: List of parks in the Town of Markham


Until the 1970s, Markham was mostly farmland and marsh, which is still reflected in events like the Markham Fair ( Markham boasts a very diverse, multicultural population, with large Chinese and South Asian communities.


In the 19th Century Markham out was a vibrant independent community with distilleries and brewerys around the Highway 7 and 48 intersection. The Spate Wagon Works exported products around the world, and it was said that Markham was more active than York was early on.

Today, Markham bills itself as Canada's Hi-tech Capital with a number of key companies.


Markham has retained its historic past in part of the town. Here a just few places of interest:

  • Frederick Horsman Varley Art Gallery
  • Heintzman House - Home of Colonel Crookshank, Sam Francis and Charles Heintzman of the Heintzman Piano Company
  • Markham Museum
  • Markham Museum & Historic Village
  • Markham Village
  • Reesor Farm Market
  • Thornhill

Heritiage streets preserve the old town feeling:

  • Main Street Markham (Highway 48)
  • Main Street Unionville (Kennedy Road)

There are still farms operating in the northern reaches of the town, but there are a few 'theme' farms in other parts of Markham:

  • Devonshire Stables & Country Bumpkins Pony Farm
  • Galten Farms
  • Whittamores Farm
  • Forsythe Family Farms

Performing Arts

While no match to Toronto's arts scene, Markham is home to local oriented performing arts:

  • Markham Concert Band
  • Markham Little Theatre
  • Markham Theatre For Performing Arts
  • Markham Youth Theatre
  • Unionville Theatre Company
  • York Symphony Orchestra

A key arts venue is Markham Theatre, at the Markham Civic Centre.

Annual Events

Events taking place annually include:

  • Markham Youth Festival
  • Unionville Village Festival
  • Markham Village Music Festival
  • Markham Jazz Festival
  • Milliken Mills Children's Festival
  • Thornhill Village Festival
  • Markham Fair
  • Markham Festival of Lights
  • Markham Santa Claus Parade
  • Olde Tyme Christmas Unionville


There is only one major mall in Markham, due to proximity to higher profile malls in Toronto and elsewhere in York Region:

  • Markville Mall (by far the largest, with over 250 stores)
  • Woodside Mall - Outlet type

Markham is also home to a few Chinese theme malls, due in part to a notable Chinese community:

  • Pacific Mall
  • Market Village Mall
  • First Markham Place
  • Peachtree Centre
  • Metro Square

Educational Institutions

Markham has no post-secondary institution, but is served by satellite sites:


Local Media

  • The Liberal ( - serving Thornhill and Richmond Hill
  • Markham Economist and Sun ( - local paper owned by Metroland
  • The York Region Business Times ( - business news
  • York Region News Group ( - Online news
  • North of the City ( - magazine for York Region
  • Rogers Cable 10 - local community TV station for York Region and owned by Rogers Media



  • Major highways include Highway 404 (from Toronto to Newmarket) and Highway 407
  • Rail connects Markham with downtown Toronto through the GO Transit commuter rail service with stops in Unionville, Markham, McCowan and Mt. Joy.
  • York Region Transit connects Markham with surrounding municipalities in York Regional and was created from the merger of Markham Transit with Richmond Hill Transit and Vaughan Transit. There is a plan by YRT to create a link to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) by way of Bus Rapid Transit along Highway 7 and Yonge Street, and construction has commenced to make this happen.
  • The TTC also provides service in Markham on north-south routes.
  • Buttonville Municipal Airport, one of Canada's top ten airports; the airport caters to general aviation and business commuter traffic to Ottawa and Montreal. Operators at Buttonville include:
  • NexJet Aviation Inc
  • Million Air
  • Executive Edge Air Chapter
  • Aviation Limited
  • Canadian Flyers International

External link

North: Whitchurch-Stouffville, Richmond Hill
West: Vaughan, Richmond Hill Markham East: Pickering, Uxbridge
South: Toronto

Template:Communities of Markhamde:Markham (Ontario)


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