The city of Markham is located in the Regional Municipality of York, about an hour's drive north of Toronto. It has an area of 212 square kilometers (82 miles). More than 300 thousand people live in the city, with the biggest portion of the population (21 percent) of Chinese origin. This is more than twice the percentage of white Canadian living in the city. In fact, the population is made up of numerous Asian and European ethnic groups, something which gives the town an atmosphere all its own. Christians make up about 46 percent of the residents, comprising mostly of Roman Catholics and Protestants.
Since Markham is part of the Greater Toronto metropolitan area, it is not surprising that the city enjoys a large population with technology-driven industries and many modern conveniences. Household income in the town averages at $80,000 making Markham one of the richest communities in Canada.
What would surprise you is that the whole town of Markham is making a conscious effort to preserve the town's historical roots, as well as to foster a sort of small-town ambiance to encourage a feeling of intimacy and personalized touch to all transactions which happen there.
Markham enjoys a location filled with rich soil suitable for agriculture. However, the town's residents’ main livelihood is centered on technology-driven business services, a trend which began after the Second World War when the urban way of life in Toronto grew rapidly and influenced the way of life in Markham. If you are into modern, high-tech gadgetry, you should know that the town is sometimes referred to as Canada's Hi-Tech Capital since many international companies, such as IBM, Toshiba, Honeywell, and Motorola, have offices there.
HOW IT BEGAN
Markham was officially designated as a town in 1972 but already had settlements in the late 18th century. Its first settlers came from Germany. These first villages did not thrive, however, probably because of the lack of roads in the area so the villages were abandoned only after a few years.
In the early 19th century, another batch of settlers went to the same location and had another go at it. Many members of this batch were Mennonites, a very conservative Christian sect made up of immigrants originally from the southwest Germany. These settlers were more successful at establishing a flourishing village. The settlement was first named Reesorville but were later known as Markham – yes, that is also the name of the village. The village of Markham still exists today, but is now a part of the Markham city proper. In the middle of the 19th century, the village became the home of many European immigrants, such as those from the British Isles. Agriculture and homesteading are the main basis for living in these early years.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK OUT...
╣the village of Markham, located at the city's downtown area. The highlight is Main Street Markham located at the village's downtown. It features small restaurants, book stores, galleries, and various shops. What is unique about this community is that the city has given a lot of effort to give all the buildings and structures a 19th century look and atmosphere to them. It reflects the city resident's insistence to retain the historic appearance in many of the city's enclaves, despite the town's designation as one of the suburban residential communities in the Greater Toronto metropolitan area.
╣Markham Festival of Lights and Markham Santa Claus Parade held in Main Street Markham every Christmas. These events feature a giant Christmas tree and a fireworks display. Tourists, as well as people living in other places in Canada, go to these events, so don't be surprised if you also find vendors of various food stuffs and other items there. How's that for bringing magic to a holiday you won't soon forget?
╣the Markham Fair, an annual four-day event usually held in late September. It reflects the town's farmland roots and has become a well-known fair in the entire Canada. You can find all sorts of things at the Markham Fair – exhibits, stalls selling unique items, live musicians, small zoos. You name it; you can probably find it in this event.
╣other events held in the Markham Fair Grounds. The city holds events throughout the year at its wide fair grounds from dog shows to home furniture exhibits and sales. Check out the schedule of events on their calendar at www.markhamfair.ca.
╣the Markham Village Music Festival, a two-day event held every June. The festival features performances from professional and amateur musicians from the town, as well as the whole Greater Toronto metropolitan area. The event also features jugglers, dancers, clowns and other entertainers.
╣Barkham, a gathering of vendors of pet-related items and equipment also held during the Markham Village Music Festival. There are also booths for organizations involved in pet adoption. The event also features games and competitions for pets and their owners.
╣Markham's many large malls, such as Market Village and Markville Shopping Center. Please be aware that many stores and shops in Markham cater to Asian customers, particularly those with Chinese origin.
╣Markham-Milliken Mills Children's Festival, especially if you are bringing children during your visit to the country. This is an annual one-day event usually held in September where you can purchase an all-day pass to take advantage fun activities in the play area, where there are wheel and boat rides, a small petting zoo and a wall for rock climbing. It is the biggest children's event in the whole York Region and it attracts families from other towns near Markham.
TOURISTS SHOULD KNOW
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has services on several Markham routes. If you are planning to visit Markham, do not forget to buy a day pass from TTC so you can check out many of the town's interesting buildings and views. You should know, though, many of the town's residents go around in their private vehicle rather than use public transportation.
Shops in the Greater Toronto metropolitan area usually accept payment through credit cards or debits from cards or ATMs. Canadian stores usually accept credit cards like MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. You can be charged up to $2 per ATM transaction, but you should clarify with your home bank on other fees it may charge you.