LOCAL FOCUS: Markham
by Gale Beeby
Canada’s high-tech capital
What was once considered a suburb of Toronto, Markham’s housing options were primarily single-family detached homes, both in new subdivisions and heritage villages. But the city has grown up and is now offering any number of condominium and townhouse developments. The revitalization of Downtown Markham includes expansive retail shops, a Marriott Hotel, a Cineplex, as well as a variety of condo buildings and townhomes.
The Markham Museum offers a variety of buildings representing the continued growth of the city, including mills, businesses and family homes. There are 30 buildings on the 25-acre site.
The Flato Markham Theatre offers over 300 live performances each year, showcasing the wide cultural diversity of the city. The Varley Art Gallery encompasses the historic Kathleen McKay house (1840), which was the home of Group of Seven member Frederick Horsman Varley for the last 12 years of his life. Now measuring 15,000 square feet, the gallery is the second most popular tourist attraction in York Region.
PARKS & REC
Markham has dozens of parks with baseball diamonds, soccer pitches and childrens’ play areas and splash pads. The city also boasts over 22 kilometres of scenic pathways with 12 bridges that provide recreational activity for joggers and cyclists.
The largest park in Markham is the Milne Dam Conservation Park. Measuring 305 acres, it is bordered by thick forest on the south and east and the Rouge River runs through the middle. The park is a stop-off point for many migratory birds. Mount Joy Park is over 16 acres and has an outdoor ice skating rink adjacent to a community centre.
Toogood Pond is an 82-acre park that features a partially naturalized pond and marsh. The pond recently underwent revitalization, including sediment removal, restoration of the shoreline and the planting of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.
Downtown Markham offers some of the best shopping in the GTA, with great little restaurants, cafés and boutique stores. Markville Shopping Centre features over 160 shops and services. But the Pacific Mall – the largest Chinese indoor mall in North America – is a must for anybody looking for a bargain with over 500 shops and services.
Public transit in Markham is provided by York Region Transit/Viva, which connects with all nine York Region municipalities, as well as connecting with transit services in Toronto and the Region of Peel. GO Transit also serves Markham with train and bus service, taking riders to a variety of locations in the GTA and beyond. The city also has easy access to Highways 404 and 407 and the DVP.
BY THE NUMBERS
Walk Score: 47
Nickname: Canada’s High-Tech Capital
Partner City: Eabametoong First Nation, Ojibway, Kenora, Ont.
Sister Cities: Cary, N.C.; Las Piñas City, Philippines; Nördlingen, Germany; Pearland, Texas; Huadu, China; Wuhan, China
Motto: Leading While Remembering