Newmarket (2016 population 84,224) 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. Many Newmarket residents commute to Toronto, about 45 minutes transit time south of the town.
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 ran through what became the downtown area starting in the 1850s. 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, however, includes growth in the business services and knowledge industries, as well as in the administrative, manufacturing and retail sectors.
Some of Newmarket's most noticeable landmarks are the Upper Canada Mall, Southlake Regional Health Centre, the Main Street Heritage Conservation District, the Fairy Lake Conservation Area, as well as many other parks and recreation areas. In 2013, MoneySense magazine ranked Newmarket 10th out of 200 cities in Canada, and 4th out of the "Top 10 Small Cities" in Canada in its "Canada's Best Places to Live in 2013". The same magazine rated Newmarket in the top 25 of 219 communities in 2016 and as the 14th among best small cities. In 2017, Amazon Canada ranked Newmarket as number 20 of the top 100 most romantic cities in Canada.
|Town of Newmarket|
Newmarket's Old Town Hall – Situated in the historic Main Street area.
Location of Newmarket within York Region.
Location of Newmarket in Canada
|Regional municipality||York Region|
|• Type||Seat of York Region|
|• Mayor||Tony Van Bynen|
|• Regional Councillor||John Taylor|
|• Total||38.45 km2 (14.85 sq mi)|
|Elevation||239 m (784 ft)|
|• Total||84,224 (Ranked 69th)|
|• Density||2,190.5/km2 (5,673/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Forward Sortation Area||L3X to L3Y|
|Area code(s)||905, 289, and 365|
Newmarket's geographical coordinates are 44.05°N, 79.46°W, and its elevation above sea level is 239 m. It has an area of 38.33 km². The town is bounded on the south by Aurora, on the west by King, on the north by East Gwillimbury and on the east by Whitchurch–Stouffville.
The main river in Newmarket is the East Holland River (known locally simply as "The Holland River"), and all other streams in the town are tributaries thereto. These include; Bogart Creek, a brook that weaves its way into the Town from the Oak Ridges Moraine by way of Bogarttown, emptying into the Holland River in north-central Newmarket; Western creek, another brook rising just west of the Town, and reaching the Holland River in the Town's north end; Tannery Creek, a stream that joins the Holland River in south Newmarket after flowing through Aurora; and a number of other small watercourses.
There are two reservoirs in Newmarket; Fairy Lake (which is managed by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority), a favourite recreational area in the centre of town, is a former mill pond on the East Holland River; and Bogart Pond, also a former mill pond, is fed and drained by Bogart Creek in Bogarttown. Furthermore, the water level in the reach of the East Holland north of Davis Drive is controlled from an unfinished Newmarket Canal lock, now used as a weir.
Newmarket also lies south of and above the Algonquin Shoreline, where elevations suddenly drop off from the gently rolling hills that characterize much of Newmarket to the much flatter, lower land down below in the Holland Marsh.
The land is characterized mainly by glacial deposits from the last ice age, known as "Newmarket Till". The town is underlain mainly by sand and gravel, ground by the icesheets that covered the area until about 10,000 years ago. No outcrops are to be found anywhere in Newmarket, so deep are the glacial deposits.
Newmarket has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with four distinct seasons featuring cold, somewhat snowy winters and warm, humid summers. Precipitation is moderate and consistent in all seasons, although summers are a bit wetter than winter due to the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes.
|Climate data for Newmarket|
|Average high °C (°F)||−3.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−7.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−11.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||58
Newmarket's location on the Holland River long ago made the area a natural route of travel between Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe. A major portage route, the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail ran one of its two routes down the Holland, through the Newmarket area, and over the Oak Ridges Moraine to the Rouge River and into Lake Ontario. A more widely used route ran down the western branch of the Holland River, over the moraine, and down the Humber River. In 1793, John Graves Simcoe travelled the trail, northward along the main route to the west, and south to York (now Toronto) along the lesser used eastern route though Newmarket. Selecting the eastern route as the better of the two, Simcoe started construction of Yonge Street along the former trail in late 1795, starting in York in Toronto Bay, and ending at the newly named St. Albans (Holland Landing), north of Newmarket.
Some of the United States Quakers were interested in moving northward, disturbed by the violence they were expected to take part in during the American Revolution. In June 1800, Timothy Rogers, a Quaker from Vermont, explored the area around the Holland River to find a suitable location for a new Quaker settlement. He, Samuel Lundy and their group of Religious Society of Friends received the grant of a large amount of land. In 1801 Rogers returned along with several Quaker families who had left their homes in Vermont and Pennsylvania. They settled here in 1801-1803.
In 1801, the Quaker families acquired 8,000 acres around the Holland River. Joseph Hill constructed a mill on the river, damming it to produce a mill pond that is now known as Fairy Lake. The settlement of "Upper Yonge Street" sprouted up around the mill, which explains why its primary downtown area was centred on the Holland River, and not on Yonge Street which is some distance to the west. Hill also built a tannery just to the north of the mill, and the first general store and house, as well as additional mills.
By 1802, Elisha Beman, who owned a great deal of land in the area, had begun to establish businesses. A mill was first and other businesses (including a distillery) soon followed. Mordecai Millar also built mills and Joseph Hill opened a tannery. During the War of 1812 a resident, William Roe, was able to hide gold that was in the settlement's treasury, saving it from invading American troops. The war also helped bring some prosperity as the army purchased goods and food and hired locals to build structures.
By 1814, the settlement had two frame and several log buildings used as residences. The town continued to grow through the early 19th century, along with the formation of Aurora and Holland Landing, and a market held in the current downtown location gave rise to the name "Newmarket".
Newmarket played a central role in the Rebellions of 1837–1838. The town was a focal point of discontent against the manipulations of the governing Family Compact, of whom it was said "were robbing the country". Rebel leader William Lyon Mackenzie organized a series of meetings leading to the Rebellion. During the first of these meetings, on August 3, 1837, Mackenzie delivered his first campaign speech from the veranda of the North American Hotel at the corner of Botsford and Main Streets. This speech is largely credited for being the spark to the rebellion as it was heard by about 600 farmers and others sympathetic to Mackenzie’s cause, who later that year armed themselves and marched down Yonge St. to take the capital. A number of leaders from this area were attainted for high treason, convicted and hanged.
By 1846, the population was about 600. Much of the settlement was built on the south side of the village. Many farms surrounded the village. There were six churches or chapels, a post office, five stores, three taverns and tradesmen of various types. Industry included two grist-mills, two breweries, a distillery, one tannery, a foundry, a carding machine, and a cloth factory.
In June 1853 the first train pulled into Newmarket on the Toronto, Simcoe & Lake Huron Union Railroad, the first railway in Upper Canada. It was later called the Northern Railway of Canada and carried passengers and also shipped agricultural products and manufactured goods to markets. The line eventually linked Toronto to Collingwood on Georgian Bay, a major shipbuilding centre. Today, this line is the "Newmarket Subdivision" of the Canadian National Railway system, running north out of Newmarket towards Bradford, and south towards Toronto.
Newmarket was incorporated as a village in 1857 with a population of 700, with Donald Sutherland as the first reeve. In 1858, Robert Simpson co-opened "Simpson & Trent Groceries, Boots, Shoes and Dry Goods" in downtown Newmarket, the first store in what would become the Simpsons department store chain. In 1880, Newmarket became a town with a population of 2000. William Cane was elected as the first mayor. Some years later, his sash and door factory would become the first Canadian manufacturer of lead pencils, the Dixon Pencil Company.
In 1869, the population was 1500 and a gazetteer described Newmarket as one of the most flourishing villages on the Northern Railway line. In addition to the train, stage coaches were available to nearby communities. By the time of the 1871 census, the population was 1,760 and by 1881, it had increased to 2,006; an elementary school and a high school were already in operation by then.
The Toronto and York Radial Railway arrived in Newmarket in 1899. This service operated along Yonge Street south of Newmarket, but turned east to run through the downtown area along Main Street; it would later be extended north to Sutton. At the time, it brought significant numbers of day-trippers to Newmarket to shop at the market. Automobile traffic on Yonge Street, and the already existing mainline railway, had a significant effect on ridership, and the Radial was discontinued in the early 1930s.
North of Davis Drive in Newmarket, the East Holland River was straightened to prepare it for use as a commercial waterway to bypass the railway, whose prices were skyrocketing around the turn of the 20th century. Sir William Mulock, the local Member of Parliament, proposed a canal system running down the Holland River through Holland Landing and into Lake Simcoe. This would allow boats to connect from there to the Trent-Severn Waterway for eventual shipment south. The Newmarket Canal was almost complete by the summer of 1912, when it was cancelled by the incoming government of Robert Borden. Today, the locks are still visible and are known as the "Ghost Canal". The turning basin in downtown Newmarket was filled in and now forms the parking lot of The Old Davis Tannery Mall, on the site of the former Hill tannery.
For much of the 20th century, Newmarket developed along the east-west Davis Drive axis, limited to the area between Yonge Street on the west and between Bayview and Leslie Street in the east, and running from just north of Davis on the north to the Fairy Lake area on the south. By the 1950s, Newmarket was experiencing a suburban building boom due to its proximity to Toronto. The population increased from 5,000 to 11,000 between 1950 and 1970.
The Regional Municipality of York was formed in 1971, increasing the size of Newmarket with land from the Township of East Gwillimbury, from the Township of King and from the Township of Whitchurch.  The construction of Upper Canada Mall at the corner of Yonge Street and Davis Drive in 1974 started pulling the focal point of the town westward from the historic Downtown area along Main Street.
By the early 1980s, the historic Downtown area suffered as most businesses had built up in the area around Upper Canada Mall, with additional strip malls developing directly across the Yonge Street/Davis Drive intersection to the south and southeast. A concerted effort to revitalize the historic Downtown area during the late 1980s was successful. More recently, a $2.3-million investment was made by the town in 2004 in streetscaping and infrastructure improvements to roads and sidewalks in the historic Downtown. The historic area of Downtown's Main Street is once again a major focal point of the Town.
The arrival of Highway 404 reversed the westward movement, pulling development eastward again, and surrounding the formerly separate hamlet of Bogarttown at the intersection of Mulock Drive and Leslie Street. Since then, Newmarket has grown considerably, filling out in all directions. The town limits now run from Bathurst Street in the west to Highway 404 in the east, and from just south of Green Lane to just north of St. John's Sideroad, taking over the former hamlet of Armitage at Yonge Street south of Mulock Drive. The southern boundary of the Town is contiguous with Aurora to the south.
Armitage was the first settlement of King township, named in honour of its first settler Amos Armitage. He had been recruited by Timothy Rogers, a Loyalist from Vermont, who in 1801 had travelled along Yonge Street and found the area appealing, and so applied for and received a grant for land totalling 40 farms, each of 200 acres (0.8 km2).
Other defunct communities once located within the modern boundaries of Newmarket include Garbut's Hill, Paddytown, Petchville, Pleasantville, and White Rose.
In 2005, the average household income in Newmarket was $96,680.00, exceeding the provincial average for the same year of $77,967.00
According to the 2016 census, the town's population was 84,224. The York Region Planning Department projects a population of 98,000 by 2026. Newmarket's population density is just over 2000 inhabitants per square kilometer, ranking the census subdivision it third in Ontario and 33rd in Canada.
English is the mother tongue of 77.4% of Newmarket residents, according to the 2011 Census. Italian is the mother tongue for 1.8% of the population, followed by French at 1.4%, and Russian and Spanish, each at 1.3%.
The following are some of the Town's major public sector employers:
The following are some of the town's major private sector employers:
Notwithstanding these major employers, a large percentage of Newmarket's population commutes to Toronto for employment.
Local public transit is provided by York Region Transit, which operates the Viva Blue bus rapid transit route from the Newmarket Bus Terminal to the Finch Bus Terminal in Toronto. YRT/VIVA has built a Rapidway along Davis Drive between Yonge Street and Southlake Regional Health Centre, with fully separated bus only lanes and center street station platforms for their Viva Yellow service. The bus travels in mixed traffic between Southlake Regional Health Centre and Highway 404. The Project was completed on November 29, 2015.
Commuter rail is provided by GO Transit through the Newmarket GO Station with service south to Toronto and north to Barrie, with five trains each direction during rush hour. Regular bus service is also operated by GO Transit, with service operating between 5am and 2am.
The town has many trails, the most useful of which is the Tom Taylor, which extends from the border of Aurora on St. John's side-road all the way North through downtown and up into Holland Landing in the Town of East Gwillimbury.
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. In 2016, the Canadian Institute of Planners awarded Newmarket’s historic Main Street as the winner of the 2016 People’s Choice "Best Street" award, as part of the institute's Great Places in Canada contest.
Recent investments have been made to improve the aesthetics and function of the historic area. These investments include:
Numerous buildings and sites located in Newmarket have a high degree of architectural and/or historical significance, most of which 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:
Public elementary and secondary education in Newmarket is overseen by York Region's two school boards: the York Region District School Board (YRDSB), and the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB).
The YRDSB operates four secondary schools in Newmarket: Dr. John M. Denison Secondary School, Huron Heights Secondary School, Newmarket High School, and Sir William Mulock Secondary School, in addition to 15 elementary schools.
The YCDSB operates one secondary school in the town: Sacred Heart Catholic High School, and six elementary schools. There is also a Christian private elementary school named Newmarket District Christian Academy ("NDCA").
Tony Van Bynen became mayor in December 2006, and was re-elected in 2014. He will serve in office until 2018. He succeeds Tom Taylor, who was the mayor from 1997 to 2006. (See list of previous mayors)
The Town's Council includes the Mayor, seven Councillors elected on the basis of one per ward, and a Regional Councillor who is elected to join the mayor at meetings of York Region Council. The members of council elected in 2014 are:
Provincially, Newmarket is part of the riding of Newmarket—Aurora represented by Christine Elliott, a member of the PC Party of Ontario, and elected in 2018. The province realigned its ridings to match those of the federal government in 2004.
Federally, Newmarket is part of the riding of federal riding of Newmarket—Aurora. The riding is represented in the House of Commons of Canada by Kyle Peterson, a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, who was first elected in the 2015 federal election.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police North Toronto Detachment is located in Newmarket.
The part of Newmarket built before World War II surrounding Main Street is very typical of a small Ontario city, in terms of walkability and mixes of use. Other areas of the Town are typical of post-war development commonly found throughout many suburban areas.
Newmarket is identified as one of the Golden Horseshoe's 25 Urban Growth Centres in Ontario's Places to Grow Growth Plan.
Four areas of Newmarket have been selected to absorb the majority of planned population growth and accommodate mixed usages on sites well served by transit. These are the Yonge-Davis intersection, Yonge Street (south of Green Lane), the Regional Healthcare Centre (Southlake Regional Health Centre) and Historic Downtown Centre (surrounding Main Street South). Further construction of big box retail stores in the Yonge Street corridor will not be permitted and the long-term objective of the town is redevelopment or the addition of new buildings to these areas through controlled intensification.
Located in the historic Downtown area, the Newmarket Public Library provides residents with free access to 175,000 items, including books, audio books, magazines, multilingual materials, DVDs, CDs, video games, e-books and online databases. The library also runs the York Info service, which provides information about local organizations, groups and services, and helps develop a stronger volunteer presence in the community by connecting people who would like to volunteer with non-profit agencies looking for assistance. The library also produces a quarterly newsletter called "Off the Shelf" to inform patrons of its programs, services and events. The Library is a founding member of the Shared Digital Infrastructure (SDI) project, an initiative to plan for an Intelligent Community in Newmarket.
Newmarket is represented in the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League by the Newmarket Hurricanes (originally called the "87's"), whose home rink is currently the Ray Twinney Complex. The "'Canes" have an ongoing rivalry with the nearby Aurora Tigers.
Newmarket was previously home to the following teams:
One golf course is located within Newmarket's town limits; St. Andrew's Valley (a public club), which straddles the Aurora/Newmarket border. Glenway Country Club was a private club with a course within Newmarket's boundaries, but it was closed before the 2012 season and is slated for redevelopment.
There are also several courses in the surrounding communities and countryside.
Three public swimming places exist throughout Newmarket: Ray Twinney Complex, Gorman Pool, which is open only in the summer, and the Magna Centre.
Newmarket is home to the York Curling club.
Local print media is provided by "The Newmarket Era" (formerly the Era Banner). The Newmarket Era traces its lineage back to 1852, when English immigrant printer G.S. Porter first published The New Era in Newmarket. Today, it is published two times a week (Thursday and Sunday).
Newmarket is well served by radio stations from Toronto.
Newmarket's coat of arms is actually taken from the town's old corporate seal. The Town flag is a navy blue field with this same design in the middle. The beehive and bees are said to represent industry. There are nine bees, representing the Town's first nine businesses. The latest form of the seal was introduced in 1938 with the arms somewhat altered from – but very similar in concept to – one that was earlier used. The arms' origin is something of a mystery, however. It is unknown what artist created the current version – or indeed the earlier version – and the town has no official record as to the purchase or redesign of the arms.