Markham, Ontario is the expansive north eastern suburb of the GTA that includes both a dense urban centre and more rural peripheral communities.
Known as “The High-Tech Capital” for being host to numerous multinational corporations and over 1,000 technology companies, Markham nevertheless maintains a quiet and comfortable atmosphere for a city of its size.
Read on to learn everything you might need to know if you’re thinking of buying a home, selling your property to move elsewhere in the city, or simply interested in one of Ontario’s largest population centres.
Markham’s history begins in the 1790’s with the arrival of William Berczy, a German artist who first surveyed and led settlers into what is today the northern GTA. Although Berczy’s scheme eventually crumbled the settlement continued under the domestic supervision of John Graves Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor who named it after his friend the Archbishop of York, William Markham.
The early 19th century in Markham was characterized by the difficulties of homesteading, but by 1871 the arrival of the Toronto & Nipissing Railway – a line still in use to this day – brought prosperity to the area. By the turn of the century, Markham was officially incorporated into a village and had grown to a population of 8,152.
It wouldn’t be until the 1970’s that Markham would outgrow it’s agricultural origins and enter a period of rapid economic and population growth, largely resulting from the urban sprawl of neighbouring Toronto.
Explosive growth and industrialization towards the end of the 21st century has transformed much of Markham’s farmland into housing and commercial space, yet natural landscapes are preserved north of Major Mackenzie Drive and in Rouge National Urban Park.
When technology companies began moving into Markham in the 80’s and international immigration took hold, the population skyrocketed nearly 40% in under a decade. Still, it wasn’t until 2012 that Markham was officially labelled a city despite a population over 300,000 residents.
Located in Southern Ontario’s York Municipality, Markham is one of the largest cities in the Greater Toronto Area that’s famously known for a thriving local industry, award-winning city planning, and a strong sense of community.
Like most larger Canadian cities, cultures of all kinds have made a home in Markham – especially following the population boom in the latter decades of the 20th century. Markham is the self-described “Most Diverse Community” in Canada, making it an ideal place to call home.
While the southern stretch of the city is brimming with dense suburban life, the northern stretch of Markham is practically rural with quieter country roads and sleepy communities stretching up to Whitchurch-Stouffville.
As a large and relatively modern suburban city, Markham’s residential real estate is predominantly in the form of single-family detached homes and high-rise condominiums. With the vast majority of residents living in single detached homes it’s no surprise that Markham is an appealing place to settle down for young families and immigrants alike.
Much of the residential housing is concentrated around the transit corridor created by Highway 407 & Highway 7. These neighbourhoods exemplify modern urban design with curving streets and cul-de-sacs to make safer, more pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods.
Large condo developments are clustered around major intersections, particularly to the south-west, closer to Toronto. Regardless what type of dwelling Markham residents live in, they can count on an abundance of greenspace thanks to the city’s award-winning urban design. It’s never too far to the park in Markham.
Interested in learning more about Markham real estate? Review real estate listings & homes for sale in Markham or reach out to one of our representatives for expert advice. We’re here to answer all of your real estate questions.
The main shopping fare available in Markham comes in the form of large shopping malls, plazas, & big box stores. A more boutique, local-business shopping experience can be found on Main St. in the historic part of Markham, but the area’s rapid development into a suburb led to a reliance on large-scale commercial centres to serve the quickly growing population.
Markham’s primary shopping centres include:
There are numerous other small shopping malls and plazas in Markham, many of them hosting businesses which cater to the large Asian community.
Markham residents enjoy an extensive range of recreational opportunities and facilities both publicly and privately run.
The city runs a Recreation Department with 12+ community centres scattered throughout the Markham area, each offering a unique range of programming, activities, and facilities. Most facilities run seniors clubs, intramural sports leagues, fitness classes, and swimming lessons where facilities allow.
Markham’s Sports & Recreation Department runs the following facilities, each with its own individual amenities in addition to the multi-purpose spaces found in all municipal community centres:
Markham also has 2 French language boards, both Catholic and secular, known as Conseil Scolaire Viamonde MonAvenire and Conseil Scolaire Viamonde, respectively. The French boards operate relatively few schools because of the predominantly anglophone population of Markham.
True to its history as a city made possible by the railroad, Markham remains highly connected to the rest of the Greater Toronto Area as well as neighbouring regions.
As a suburb, the primary method of transportation for most residents is by roads but rail transit is highly accessible & convenient for intercity travel.
Public Transit in Markham
The city of Markham is serviced by York Region Transit, an amalgamation of several former transit systems in the area. Prior to 2001 Markham Transit managed municipal public transport, but today the neighbouring Richmond Hill, Newmarket, and Vaughan are all covered by the one transit system. This amalgamation makes getting around the northern GTA highly convenient for residents.
Connections to the TTC are available primarily through the Viva Bus system, a series of rapid transit routes running along Yonge St. from Finch Station as well as from Don Mills Station to Markville Mall through Unionville.
There are also several non-express TTC connections to Markham on main north-south streets like Warden Ave., McCowan Rd., & Markham Rd. These TTC routes require an additional fare after crossing Steeles Ave. in either direction.
Intercity travel is also made possible by GO Buses departing from Markham’s 3 main stations – Unionville GO Terminal, Cornell Terminal, and Markham-Stouffville Hospital Bus Terminal.
Travelling By Rail
The very same rail transit line which once brought prosperity and spurred growth in Markham is still transporting commuters back and forth to all corners of the GTA & beyond. GO Transit’s Stouffville line stretches from Union Station in Downtown Toronto all the way to Lincolnville, passing through Markham on the way.
Recent transit expansions have brought expanded service hours and destinations to this leg of the GO Transit network. With 4 stops within the municipality of Markham, commuters working in Toronto have ample opportunity to make their connections to the city centre.
Langstaff GO Station grants Markham residents access to another north-south GO Train Line, although the station is located at the extreme edge of Markham’s boundaries.
No VIA Rail service is available directly from Markham but travellers can take the GO Service to Union Station where trains depart to destinations all over Ontario and Canada.
Travelling By Car
Markham is not as well connected as other parts of the GTA when it comes to highways although drivers won’t be struggling to get around. The major highway which passes through Markham from east to west is Highway 407, a toll road that connects to Burlington and Oshawa.
York Regional Road 7, also known as Highway 7, is another east-west arterial road although it is often congested with drivers seeking to avoid paying tolls on the 407.
On the north-south axis is Highway 404 which starts in the core of Toronto and extends all the way up to Lake Simcoe. Markham Rd. also turns into a 2-lane highway once it clears the hustle and bustle of Markham’s main residential & commercial zone.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling real estate in Markham or you’re seeking advice about real estate in the area don’t hesitate to reach out to Frank Leo & Associates.
We have over 30 years of real estate experience in the GTA at your disposal. You can also get started taking advantage of our Guaranteed Home Selling System with a Free, no-obligation Home Evaluation.