Markham is a city characterized by high-tech industry, cultural diversity and a
love for the arts. With more than 300,000 residents, this city just northeast of
Toronto proper is the GTA's fourth-biggest and is home to significant Chinese
and South Asian communities, although it's been called one of just a few cities
with no dominant visible minority group. People who live in Markham work in the
tech sector, or for one of many business services companies located in town; or
they take advantage of great transit access to downtown Toronto. The local
theatres, museums and art galleries attract high traffic year-round, and in the
summer, well-attended festivals pay tribute to the city's farming history. Three
neighbourhoods in Markham – Unionville, Thornhill and Markham Village – offer
some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in the GTA, plus independent
shops and food that runs the gamut of ethnic choices.
Who Lives Here
Everyone including families with kids, young couples, seniors
and singles live within Markham's borders, taking advantage of excellent schools,
transit and a rich culturak scene that arguably tops the list outside of the city of
Young professionals who crave being surrounded by the arts and a
cultural diversity that enriches their lifestyle. Couples with children love
Markham's schools for kids of all ages, and even students living here benefit from
easy access to everything Toronto has to offer, but with rents that are far lower
than what can be found within TO's borders. Then again, the older population will
find their fill of activities geared toward seniors, as well as an excellent dose of
heritage in the architecture and festivals here.
Not-so-perfect for: Steel-and-concrete dwellers, who will find Markham too
residential, suburban and quaint. Transit in this city is decent and while some
neighbourhoods in Markham are great for those who like to get around on foot,
by bicycle and via public transit, others are a little less difficult to navigate without
a car. Markham has some areas with that city feel, but doesn't come close to the
pulse that vibrates downtown.
Life and Style
Shopping comes in two distinct forms in Markham – there are the
quaint heritage districts of Thornhill, Unionville and Markham Village that have
streets lined with heritage buildings that house independent boutique shops and
quiet cafes and delis; on the other hand, Markham has at least four big malls and
an array of shopping centres carrying Chinese-oriented stores, plus any number
of plazas around town. Pacific Mall and Splendid China Mall, near Kennedy at
Steeles, make up the second biggest Chinese shopping area in Canada. Thanks
to a healthy ethnically diverse population, people in Markham enjoy a fabulous
selection of places to eat, including Jewish and Eastern European delis, limitless
Chinese food restaurants, fusion cuisine, fine French dining, Italian eateries,
fantastic Indian food and everything in between. The young generation in
Markham has a pretty good selection of nightclubs, many of which enforce strict
dress codes. One of these is Babyface on Alden Road, an international brand
based out of China. During the summer, there are a ton of festivals that bring
Markham residents out in droves, including Nightitup! Night Market, Taste of Asia
Festival, Unionville Festival, Markham Village Music Festival, Markham Jazz
Festival, Milliken Mills Children's Festival, Markham Ribfest and Music Festival,
Doors Open Markham, Thornhill Village Festival, and the biggest of them all,
Markham Fair, which celebrates the city's agricultural past.
The past decade has brought huge expansion to Markham in terms of population
– areas that were once mainly farmland are now the foundation for brand-new
neighbourhoods with a mix of single-family homes, as well as condos and
townhouses for a fast-growing resident pool. Since little vacant land remains in
Markham, but demand for housing units in this city just outside of Toronto
continues to expand, new development is focused on condo-heavy communities.
The Uptown Markham area is already home to several new condominium
buildings, with several more in the works (thanks in part to the area's proximity to
the city's big tech employers). In the past then years, the average price of buying
a home in Markham has nearly doubled, and will likely continue to increase as
Toronto prices outpace people's incomes and land becomes even more scarce.
For renters, Markham landlords and property management companies still offer
rates that most would consider affordable, although far above the average in the
area. Studio-style basement suites and small apartment units start at around
$800 per month, while the nicer, newer rental condo units have begun to inflate
the average, with a one-bedroom unit coming in at nearly $1,500 per month.
Meanwhile, renters looking for more space will find plenty of detached homes
and townhouses for rent all across the city, including charming heritage homes.
Avg. rent by type and size
1-bedroom: $1,477 31
2-bedroom: $1,488 2
Avg. rent compared to other Toronto-area towns and regions
Markham is 22% higher than GTA average
Typical housing type
A good mix of condos, townhomes and detached houses, with several areas
dominated by heritage homes with manicured yards
A ton of international companies employing over 14,000 people have office
buildings in Markham, including IBM, which is the city's biggest employer. They
and American Express, Honeywell, Motorola and other big companies are
located along the 407 Expressway, on Enterprise Boulevard. The city's
downtown is centred at Warden and Highway 7, where the Civic Centre is
located and surrounded by a 12-hectare park with a big pond. Around here are
most of the city's new condo developments, with businesses on the ground level
and residential units up above. Easy access to the biggest employers, proximity
to some of the city's main traffic arteries and access to transit make this area
very desirable to many. On weekends, Toogood Pond Park attracts tourists and
couples who come out for a stroll, and in winter the pond is converted into an
excellent skating rink. Where schools are concerned, Markham is home to some
of the best in the province of Ontario, including William Berczy Public School,
Unionville High School and Pierre Elliot Trudeau High School.
Markham Civic Centre
Markham Shopping Centre
The neighbourhood of Box Grove transformed in the 1990s from an agricultural
area to a residential community. Most commuters in here travel by car due to
limited bus service by York Region Transit. The famous Markham Green Golf
Club and Box Grove Tennis Club are both located here.
Brown’s Corners is mainly a business hub with few houses but several high-
profile employers including Hyunday and Oracle, as well as Seneca College.
However, there are smaller residential houses in its southeast corner.
Named after the man who established the farmlands that once occupied the
area, John Button, Buttonville is located in the western section of Unionville in
Markham. Residential development started in the 1980s in this region and is
confined to the northern and eastern sections, while the south is mostly
industrial. Residents adore great access to transit on the Viva/YRT lines, and two
major highways and several arterial roads including Highway 404, Highway 7,
407 ETR, York Regional Road 73 and Woodbine Avenue.
Cachet, located within Unionville, is a residential area that replaced farmland that
once differentiated this town from the rest. Today, residents of Cachet consist
mostly of the middle- to upper-income sort and housing consists of large single
family homes, enjoying easy access to Highway 404 through the interchange at
16th Avenue. It’s a short distance from the Buttonville Airport, which is slated to
be demolished soon and replaced with condos.
Cathedraltown is named after the monolithic and abandoned Cathedral of the
Transfiguration. There are several types of housing offered in the neighbourhood
including two- and three-storey townhouses, semi-detached homes and fully
detached homes, all at costs that are higher than many other parts of Markham.
The neighbourhood exhibits elements of New Urbanism, as showcased by its
variety of residential units, especially the traditional Georgian architecture, the
use of rear laneways and as well as the stand out institutional buildings, all which
have made this neighbourhood a place to be.
Dominated mainly by brand-new semi-detached homes and condos, Cedarwood
at the main junction of Steeles Avenue and Markham Road is known to be a
relatively affordable neighbourhood in Markham, with lots of parks and treed
Connected by great road networks, Cornell is a new neighbourhood being
developed in northeast Markham, with access to Highway 407, 16th Avenue,
Ninth Line, and the Don Cousens Parkway. About 12,000 people live here and
most of the homes here are townhomes, semi-detached, or detached houses.
Cornell Village was designed to be a walkable community with medium density
construction, including apartment and condo units on top of retail.
Dollar straddles both Markham and Richmond Hill. This neighbourhood offers a
variety of homes including condos, detached homes, semi-detached houses and
townhomes. The city of Markham is planning to increase development south of
About 10,000 people live in Downtown Markham, which itself is located within the
bigger community of Markham Centre. Downtown Markham is still under
construction as a mixed-use area making up the heart of Markham's business
district, encapsulating entertainment, living and commerce; it's one of the GTA's
premier urban hubs and the largest slated spot for development in the country.
The future of Downtown Markham makes way for mainly condos and apartments
although there are some houses and townhomes available, all of which are well-
connected to public transit.
Dickson’s Hill is still mainly agricultural and borders Whitchurch-Stouffville. The
most notable feature of this estate is the Markham Airport, located just to the
south. The Stouffville-Union Station GO Transit bus route connects Dickson Hill
with Markham, Stouffville, and Toronto which has made this neighbourhood
Initially intended as an agricultural settlement where food was supplied to the
military and residents, German Mills is now a residential backyard community
with mainly single-family homes, most of which were built in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Apart from the bus services offered by York Region transit, most residents here
rely on their cars for commuting. To get outdoors, residents from German Mills
and the surrounding area head to German Mills Settlers Park, Berczy Park and
Bishop Cross Park.
Greensborough's north end remains undeveloped, although construction encroaches every passing year. Still, Greensborough is still a dominantly agricultural region surrounding the heritage areas of Markham Village and Mount Joy. It adopted a "smart growth" model, which encompasses both low- and medium-density residential development alongside low-density commercial and considerable park space scattered throughout. There are many pretty forested areas and parks.
Hagerman's Corners' former farmlands have given way to homes and commercial parks, although a few historical homes still exist and have been refurbished in an effort to beautifying the area. The west side of Kennedy Road is home to a public housing project being developed by the city of Markham.
Langstaff is a small neighbourhood located in both Richmond Hill and Markham. Homes here are concentrated near Langstaff Road and Yonge Street and were built primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. Notable features include he East Don River which runs through the neighbourhood, as well as the Toronto Ladies Golf Course, Shouldice Hospital and Pomona Mills Park.
Despite its unfortunate name, Locust Hill is a pretty, historic community that remains largely agricultural. It's likely that when Rouge Provincial Park is created, Locust Hill will be encompassed within the park's borders.
Markham Village includes the historic and charming area along Main Street called Old Markham Village, which has shops and pretty older homes. A variety of housing is available here including detached and semi-detached houses, bungalows and townhomes.
Middlefield neighbourhood, set between McCowan and Markham roads on Highway 48 just north of Steeles, enjoys easy access to Steeles Avenue, the main route parallel to Highway 401 that allows easy access to Highway 404, leading to downtown Toronto. Great restaurants, schools and parks are part of Middlefield, as well as basketball courts, baseball fields, soccer fields, and picnic tables.
Milliken Mills is home to a large Asian population – 35% speak Chinese. Homes here were mostly built in the 1980s and many are two-storeys with garages. Milliken Mills is connected to
Milnesville is a tiny historic community with just a few homes, located between Elgin Mills, Major Mackenzie and Little Rouge Creek. Parts of the community are under preservation orders from the city of Markham.
Mongolia is essentially an abandoned neighbourhood in Markham, with the last commercial business having closed in in 1974 and very few families making their residence here. Most homes are deserted and boarded up, or have been demolished.
The neighbourhood of Mount Joy is newly under development, with mostly single-family homes planned for the area. GO Transit and York Region Transit operate bus routes through Mount Joy.
Home to good schools and the city's only police station, Quantztown wasn't really developed as a neighbourhood until the 1990s, with the land north of 16th farming. Now, Quantztown has many single-family homes and has a quaint atmosphere that's perfect for families and seniors.
Raymerville-Markville East neighbourhood is so named for Raymerville Drive which snakes through it, as well as forming the eastern border of Markville Shopping Centre. The community is home to Ramer Wood Public School and Saint Edwards Catholic School, as well as four parks: Raymerville Woodlot Park, Raybeck Park, Springdale Park, and Stargell Park. There is another small community shopping centre at the corner of Raymerville Drive and McCowan Road. The neighbourhood's population is one of the few on the decline.
Rouge Fairways is an upscale, planned community with expansive homes on big lots. Its northern boundary runs along the Markham Green Golf Course, which is part of the Rouge River Valley that meanders through the neighbourhood.
Sherwood-Amber Glen is an older neighbourhood with a hot housing market – homes here rarely sell below asking and don't stay listed for long. The neighbourhood has an ancient and charming feel to it, with tall trees lining the streets. There are a few townhouses located along Wootten Way South.
South Unionville has mixed-income housing, including a pocket of townhouses along South Unionville Avenue, and semi-detached homes south of the street and detached houses elsewhere. The population has large Chinese and East Asian, as well as many South Asians, people of Middle Eastern descent and Africans. New construction on the west end includes a condo complex with a retail component.
Underwood is part of Downtown Markham, Milliken and Uptown Markham, but stands alone as the site of many a single-family house. Its northern regions are mainly commercial parks.
Unionville is a very affluent, well-known and oft-desired neighbourhood that attract not only renters and buyers, but also a ton of tourists every year who file in by the thousands to see the historic shops and century-old homes on Main Street, where the Unionville Village Festival and Unionville Heritage Festival are held every summer. Outside of the historic Main Street area are residential tract housing developments and tons of great schools that lure families to the area.
Split between Markham and Vaughan, Thornhill is another of the GTA's most desired neighbourhoods after Unionville. Lovely old trees and green spaces add to its charm, as well as the many character homes in the community. Its residents are affluent and mixed, with many Jewish, Italian, Chinese, Korean and South Asian families living there in rather big homes on large yards.
Uptown Markham is a planned community boasting proximity to Unionville's Main Street and easy access to major traffic arteries and public transit. The community plans to attract families and singles alike with its condo developments that include somewhat affordable two-bedroom corner units and an indoor-outdoor play centre for preschool-aged kids.
Victoria Square's housing stock is mostly expansive executive homes in the Unionville Hamlet, with commuters taking to the regional roads and Ontario Highway 404 to leave the area.