Markham, Ontario Real Estate and Homes for Sale

Markham

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.

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