Markham Real Estate
Markham is a city in the Regional Municipality of York, located within the Greater Toronto Area of Southern Ontario, Canada. The population was 301,709 at the 2011 Canadian census. The city is the fourth largest community within the Greater Toronto Area after Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. Markham changed its status from town to city on July 1, 2012.
The city gained its name from the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe, who named the area after his friend, William Markham, the Archbishop of York at the time. The first European settlement in Markham occurred when William Berczy, a German artist and developer led a group of approximately sixty-four German families to North America. While initially planning to settle in New York, disputes over finances and land tenure there would eventually lead to Berczy to negotiate with Simcoe for 64,000 acres (260 km2) in Markham Township. Throughout much of Markham’s history, the community has been described as an agricultural community. A turn towards a more urbanized community within the township began after World War II when the township had began to feel the effects of urban encroachment from Toronto. The completion of Highway 404 during the mid 1970s further accelerated urban development in Markham.
Markham today is mainly driven by its tertiary industry. Business services is currently the number one employer in Markham with nearly 22% of its labour force employed in it. The city also currently has over 900 technology and life sciences companies, with IBM being the city’s largest employer. A number of multinational companies also have their Canadian headquarters located in Markham including Honda Canada, Advanced Micro Devices, American Express, Johnson & Johnson, Apple Inc., Avaya, IBM, Motorola, Oracle, Honeywell and Toshiba.
Markham was first surveyed as a township in 1793 by William Berczy, who in 1794 led 75 German families including the Ramers, Reesors, Wheters, Burkholders, Bunkers, Wicks and Lewis from Upstate New York to an area of Markham now known as German Mills. Each family was granted 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land; however due lack to roads in the region many opted to settle in York (now Toronto) and Niagara. German Mills later became a ghost town. Between 1803 to 1812, another attempt at settling in the region was made. The largest group of settlers were Pennsylvania Dutch, most of whom were Mennonites. These highly skilled craftsmen and knowledgeable farmers were able to settle the region and founded Reesorville, named after the Mennonite settler Joseph Reesor. In 1825, Reesorville was renamed to Markham having taken the name of the unincorporated village (see Markham Village, Ontario). By 1830, a large influx of Irish,Scottish and English families began immigrating to Upper Canada, many settling in Markham. Markham’s early years blended the rigours of the frontier with the development of agriculture-based industries. The many rivers and streams in the township soon supported water-powered saw and gristmills and later wooden mills. With improved transportation routes, such as the construction of Yonge Street in the 1800s, along with the growing population, urbanization increased. In 1842 the township population was 5,698; 29,005 acres (117.38 km2) were under cultivation (second highest in the province), and the township had eleven gristmills and twenty-four sawmills. By 1850, the first form of structured municipal government formed in Markham. By 1857, most of the township had been cleared of timber and was under cultivation. Villages like Thornhill, Unionville, and Markham greatly expanded. In 1851 Markham Village “was a considerable village, containing between eight and nine hundred inhabitants, pleasantly situated on the Rouge River. It contains two grist mills … a woollen factory, oatmeal mill, barley mill, and distillery, foundry, two tanneries, brewery, etc., a temperance hall and four churches… .” In 1871, with a township population of 8,152, the Toronto and Nipissing Railway built the first rail line to Markham Village and Unionville, which is still used today by the GO Transit commuter services.
In 1972, Markham was incorporated as a town, as its population skyrocketed due to urban sprawl from Toronto. In 1976, Markham’s population was approximately 56,000. Since that time, the population has more than quintupled with explosive growth in new subdivisions. Much of Markham’s farmland has now disappeared, but is still found north of Major Mackenzie Drive. Controversy over the development of the environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine will likely curb development north of Major Mackenzie Drive.
As of 2006, Markham comprises six major communities, which include Buttonville, Cornell, Markham Village, Milliken, Thornhill, and Unionville. Since the 1980s, the city has been recognized as a suburb of Toronto. Many high-tech companies have head offices located in Markham for the relative abundance of land, low tax rates and good transportation routes. Broadcom Canada, ATI Technologies (now known as AMD Graphics Product Group), IBM Canada, Apple Computer Canada,Motorola Canada, Honeywell Canada and many other well-known companies have chosen Markham as their home in Canada. Hence, the city has been branding itself as Canada’s “High-Tech Capital”. An Ontario Historical Plaque was erected in front of the Markham Museum by the province to commemorate the founding of Markham’s role in Ontario’s heritage.
Town council voted on May 29, 2012, to officially change Markham’s legal designation from “town” to “city”; according to councillor Alex Chiu, who introduced the motion, the change of designation merely reflects the fact that many people already think of Markham as a city. Some residents objected to the change because it will involve unknown costs without any demonstrated benefits. The designation officially took effect on July 1.
Markham covers an area of 212.47 km2 (82.04 sq mi) and Markham’s City Centre is at 43°53′N 79°15′W. It is bounded by 5 municipalities; in the west is Vaughan with the boundary along Yonge Street between Steeles Avenue and Highway 7 and Richmond Hill with the boundary along Highway 7 from Yonge Street to Highway 404 and at Highway 404 from Highway 7 to 19th Avenue and Stouffville Road. In the south, it borders Toronto with the boundary along Steeles Avenue. In the North is borders Whitchurch–Stouffville with the boundary from Highway 404 to York-Durham Line between 19th Avenue and Stouffville Road. In the East it borders Pickering along the York-Durham Line.
Markham’s average altitude is at 200 m (660 ft) and in general consists of gently rolling hills. The city is intersected by two rivers; the Don River and Rouge River, as well as their tributaries. To the north is the Oak Ridges Moraine, which further elevates the elevation towards the north.
Markham borders and shares the same climate as Toronto. On an average day, Markham is generally 1 °C (1.8 °F) cooler than in downtown Toronto. Under the Köppen climate classification, Markham has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with generally cold, damp, and snowy winters with mild periods exceed 5 °C (9.0 °F). The highest temperature recorded was 37.8 °C (100 °F) on August 8, 2001, and the lowest temperature recorded was −35.2 °C (-31.4 °F) on January 16, 1994.
Markham City Council consists of Frank Scarpitti as mayor, four regional councillors and eight ward councillors each representing one of the town’s eight wards. Scarpitti replaced Don Cousens, who was a former Progressive Conservative MPP for Markham and a Presbyterian church minister. The mayor and four regional councillors are elected by the community to represent the City of Markham at the regional level. Councillors 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. The current members of council were elected by the residents to a four-year term of office, in accordance with standards set by the province. The selection of members for the offices of mayor and regional councillors are made town-wide, while ward councillors are elected by individual ward.
Markham Civic Centre
Markham Civic Centre
The city council is located at the Markham Civic Centre at the intersection of York Regional Road 7 and Warden Avenue. The site of the previous offices on Woodbine Avenue has been redeveloped for commercial uses. The historic town hall on Main Street is now a restored office building. The Mayor’s Youth Task Force was created to discuss issues facing young people in the city and to plan and publicize events. Its primary purpose is to encourage youth participation within the community.
The city is permitted to create and enforce by-laws upon residents on various matters affecting the town. The by-laws are generally enforced by City By-Law enforcement officers, but they may involve York Regional Police if violations are deemed too dangerous for the officers to handle. In addition the by-laws can be linked to various provincial acts and enforced by the town. Violation of by-laws is subject to fines of up to $20,000 CAD. The by-laws of Markham include:
- Animal Control (see Dog Owners’ Liability Act of Ontario)
- Construction Permits
- Driveway Extensions
- Fencing and Swimming Pools
- Heritage Conservation (see Ontario Heritage Act)
- Home-Based Businesses
- Property Standards
- Registration of Basement Apartments and Second Suites
- Site Alteration
- Waste Collection
- Water Use
There are no courts in Markham, but the city is served by an Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket, as well as an Ontario Small Claims court in Richmond Hill. The Ontario Court of Appeal is located in Toronto, while the Supreme Court of Canada is located in Ottawa. Policing is provided byYork Regional Police at a station (5 District) at the corner of McCowan Road and Carlton Road and Highway 7. Highway 404, Highway 407 and parts of Highway 48 are patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police. Toronto Police Service is responsible for patrol on Steeles from Yonge Street to the York – Durham Line.
Markham Fire and Emergency Services was established in 1970 as Markham Fire Department and replaced various local volunteer fire units. There are 9 fire stations currently serving Markham. Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport is also served by Markham’s Fire service.
The main healthcare facility in the city is Markham Stouffville Hospital, located in the far eastern end. Markham is also home to Shouldice Hospital, one of the world’s premier facilities for people suffering from hernias. For those living near Steeles, they sometimes will be able to receive treatment at The Scarborough Hospital Birchmount Campus in Toronto/Scarborough.
Seneca College’s Markham Campus
Markham currently does not have any universities itself, but Seneca College has campuses at Highways 7 and 404 and at Buttonville Municipal Airport. Most high school graduates continue to post-secondary education in universities across Ontario. There are local transit services that connect to various post-secondary institutions in the Greater Toronto Area.