Newmarket (2021 population 87,942) is a town and regional seat of the Regional Municipality of York in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is part of Greater Toronto in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario. The name stems from the fact that the settlement was a "New Market",in contrast to York as the Old Market.
The town was formed as one of many farming communities in the area, but also developed an industrial centre on the Northern Railway of Canada's mainline, which was built in 1853 through what would become the downtown area. It also became a thriving market town with the arrival of the Metropolitan Street Railway in 1899. Over time, the town developed into a primarily residential area, and the expansion of Ontario Highway 400 to the west and the construction of Ontario Highway 404 to the east increasingly turned it into a bedroom town since the 1980s. The province's Official Plan includes growth in the business services and knowledge industries, as well as in the administrative, manufacturing and retail sectors.
Landmarks include Upper Canada Mall, Southlake Regional Health Centre, the Main Street Heritage Conservation District, and Wesley Brooks Conservation Area (locally called "Fairy Lake Park" or "Fairy Lake").
Main Street Heritage Conservation District
For over 100 years, the town's downtown area, centred around Main Street, has acted as a hub of commerce and cultural activity. This area contains numerous early 19th century buildings worthy of preservation, and in October 2013, this area was recognized as a Provincial Heritage Conservation District. This status serves to protect and officially recognize many of the heritage sites and buildings along this historic thoroughfare and its many side streets.
Recent investments have been made to improve the aesthetics and function of the historic area. These include:
- In 2003, Newmarket completed approximately $3 million of streetscape and infrastructure improvements along Main Street South.
- In 2010, construction began on the Davis Drive Rapidway. The project was finished in 2015. The buildings comprising the Union Hotel, dating from 1881, at the intersection of Main Street and Davis Drive were moved as an alternative to being demolished.
- In 2011, an urban park called "Riverwalk Commons" was created east of Main Street South, north of Water Street at a cost of $10 million.
- In 2011, extensive renovations were completed to the Newmarket Community Centre & Lions Hall, located in the Riverwalk Commons.
- In 2016, extensive $10 million renovations were completed on Old Town Hall, off Main Street.
Architecture and heritage
Numerous buildings and sites located in Newmarket possess a high degree of architectural and/or historical significance; most of these are concentrated in the historic Main Street area. The following is a list of some of these sites; many of the below-listed buildings located along Main Street are within the Main Street Heritage Conservation District:
- Charles Hargrave Simpson Building, 184 Main Street South
- Wesley Block (origin of the 1837 Rebellion), 200 Main Street South
- Robert Simpson Store (first Simpson'sStore in Canada), 226 Main Street South
- King George Hotel, 232 Main Street South
- Cawthra House, 262 Main Street South
- Roadhouse And Rose building, 157 Main Street South
- Charles E. Boyd Building, 240 Main Street South
- William N. Starr building, 189 Main Street South
- Old Newmarket Town Hall and Courthouse, 460 Botsford Street
- Canadian National Railway Building and former Station, 470 Davis Drive
- Christian Baptist Church, 135 Main Street South
- Doane House, 17100 Yonge Street
- Quaker Meeting House and Cemetery, 17030 Yonge Street
- Hicksite Cemetery, 16580 Yonge Street
- Elman W. Campbell Museum (formerly the North York Registry Office), 134 Main Street South
- Pioneer Burying Ground, Eagle Street
- Al Casale Ristorante (Rogers House), 17766 Leslie Street
- St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 484 Water Street
- St. Paul’s Anglican Church and Rectory, 227 Church Street
- Trinity United Church, 461 Park Avenue
- Union Hotel, 425 Davis Drive - The two buildings comprising the Union Hotel were relocated to the back of the former site due to construction of the Davis Drive Rapidway> In 2018, the buildings were designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.