The Town of Newmarket is a town of 84,000 people (2016) in the centre of York Region in Ontario. It is halfway between Toronto and Barrie along Highway 11/Yonge Street. The surrounding towns include Aurora (south), Bradford (northwest), East Gwillimbury (north), Schomberg (west), and Uxbridge (east).
Newmarket covers about 38 km2 and is approximately bound by St. John's Sideroad (south), Bathurst Street (west), Green Lane (north), and Leslie (east).
Newmarket's main tourist feature is its Main Street Heritage Conservation District.
Many Newmarket residents commute to Toronto, about 45 minutes 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 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 of Ontario Highway 400 to the west and the construction of Highway 404 to the east has 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.
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. Several Quaker families who had left their homes in Vermont and Pennsylvania 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.
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. 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 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.
By the early 1980s, the original 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 intersections to the south and southeast. A concerted effort to revitalize the historic Downtown area during the late 1980s was successful. The historic area of Downtown's Main Street is again a major focal point of the town.
Newmarket has a humid continental climate 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.
There are two major highways serving Newmarket- Highway 400 to the west of the town and Highway 404 to the east.
From north or south, take Highway 400 to Exit 55 (Davis Drive) and drive about 7 km east.
From the south only, take Highway 404 north. Newmarket is accessible from the last 3 exits: Mulock Dr., Davis Dr., and Green Lane. Turn West from any of these exits.
Davis Drive is the main east-west business road in Newmarket.
- Toronto Pearson International Airport - approximately 1 hour drive from the town of Newmarket, all major airlines service this airport.
- Holland Landing Airport - private airport about 5 km north of Newmarket.
By public transit
- York Region Transit operates bus service in York Region including the Viva Bus Rapid Transit routes. (Viva routes are identified by the name of a colour while regular YRT bus routes have a number.)
- GO Transit, commuter bus/train system, connects downtown Toronto to York Region.
The simplest way to get to Newmarket's Main Street from Toronto is to take the Viva Blue bus from Finch Station (subway line 1) to Newmarket Bus Terminal and transfer there to Viva Yellow getting off at the Davis Dr/Main St stop. The trip will take about 90 minutes.
GO train service is more useful for commuters rather than visitors. Stopping at the 1 Newmarket GO Station, trains run either inbound Toronto trips in the morning rush hours or outbound in the afternoon rush. On weekends in summer, train service is better for visitors; however, outbound service from Toronto does not start until around noon. Newmarket GO Station is near the intersection of Main Street and Davis Drive.
2 Newmarket Bus Terminal (also known as Newmarket GO Bus Terminal) is different from Newmarket GO Station (sometimes abbreviated as Newmarket GO on schedules). They are about 2 km apart. Both are along Davis Drive with the former being just west of Yonge Street and the latter just east of Main Street.
The Main Street South is only 1 km long and is thus quite walkable.
If you wish go between Main Street and Upper Canada Mall (about 2 km distance along Davis Drive), then you can use either Viva or YRT bus routes. Otherwise, driving is the easiest way to get around the town.
Heritage buildings: A number of buildings in Newmarket have been designated as Heritage Sites. These sites have plaques to designate when they were constructed and the purpose the building served. Most of these sites are either on or close to Main Street. The document Municipal Register of Properties Designated under the Heritage Act and the webpage Registry of Canada's Historic Places provide a summary of heritage buildings in Newmarket.
Main Street South runs through an attractive, small-town commercial centre between Water Street at the south end and Davis Drive at the north end. There are heritage buildings, along Main Street, of which ten are identified by Heritage Sidewalk Markers. Some others are:
- 1 Luesby Memorial Co. Ltd., 93 Main St S (at Queen St). A very quaint store with late 19th-century “Boom Town” style of architecture.
- 2 Elman W.Campbell Museum (Former Registry Office, North York), 134 Main Street South. Tu-Sa 10AM–noon, 1–4PM. Occupying a building built in 1884, the museum has artifacts related to the history of the Town of Newmarket.
- 3 Christian Baptist Church, 135 Main St S. Built in 1874; embellished High Victorian Gothic Revival architecture.
- 4 Newmarket Federal Building (Newmarket Post Office & Clock Tower Inn), 180 Main St S (at Park Ave). Italianate style with bell tower constructed 1914-15. Now a retirement residence.
East of Main Street
Here are sites of interest east of Main Street:
- 5 Former Newmarket Grand Trunk Railway Station, 450 Davis Dr (South side of Davis Dr east of Main St). Built in 1900 by the Grand Trunk Railway using a late 19th-century standard station design.
- 6 Radial Arch, 505 Queen St (east of Main St, north side of Queen St along Tom Taylor Trail). Concrete arches built in 1909 by the Toronto & York Radial Railway. One of the earliest reinforced concrete arches in Canada. Remains of a bridge that carried an interurban tram line from Toronto to Sutton until 1930.
- 7 Isaac Silver House, 220 Prospect St (just south of Timothy St). Private residence. Built in 1896, this 2½-storey residence is a mix of Queen Anne and Four Square styling and has a gable dormer within a verandah roof.
- 8 House, 587 Lydia St (east of Main St S, N of Gorham St). Private residence. 1½ storey house with centre gable and balanced openings.
- 9 Mary Ann Wilken House, 588 Gorham St (east of Main St S). Private residence. 19th-century Gothic Revival residence built circa 1875.
- 10 Stickwood Brickyard and Wetlands, 642 Srigley St (east of Lorne Ave at Mary St). A small lot with a marsh.
West of Main Street
Here are sites of interest west of Main Street:
- 11 Old Town Hall, 460 Botsford St (just west of Main St). Built in 1883, this two-storey buff brick building was designed in the Italianate style, with a projecting frontispiece, a crested central square bell-tower, tall narrow windows and a heavily bracketed cornice.
- 12 Liberty Hall, 438 Botsford St. Private residence. Georgian architecture with elements of Classical Revival style, built in the late 1830s. The owner, J.B. Caldwell, sympathized with the rebellion of 1837 thus explaining the building's name.
- 13 Robert Simpson House, 384 Botsford St. Private residence. The house built in 1861 has a medium-pitch gable roof. It belonged to Robert Simpson who later opened a large department store at Yonge & Queen in Toronto.
- 14 House, 367 Botsford St. Private residence. Gable roof house with symetrical front facade.
- 15 Kinark King George Aim (formerly King George School), 400 Park Ave (at Victoria St). This square, 2-storey brick building has entrances on both corner streets. Built 1912-1913, this is Newmarket's oldest functioning elementary public school.
- 16 St Paul's Anglican Church, 227 Church Street (at D'Arcy St). Constructed in 1883-1884.
- 17 Thomas Dales House (a.k.a. Walter Playter House), 182 Church Street (Just N of Botsford St). Private residence. Built in circa 1880, this 2½-storey picturesque Italianate villa house is very fanciful.
- 18 Hollingshead House, 449 Eagle St (at the corner with Church St). Private residence. Farmhouse from early 1800s.
- 19 Pioneer Burying Ground, Eagle Street (just west of Stanley St). Established circa 1820, the cemetery is the burial place remains of about 120 early Newmarket pioneers.
- 20 Brooks Howard Millard House, 310 Eagle St (east of Lorne Ave). Built in 1892, the house has both gothic revival and Italianate styling.
- 21 Stuart Scott Public School, 247 Lorne Ave (at D'Arcy St). Active school. Square, two-storey brick building constructed in 1923-24.
These heritage buildings are not within convenient walking distance of Main Street.
- 22 Doane House Hospice (Eldred King Gardens), 17100 Yonge St (at Eagle St W). This two-storey Quaker-style home was built in 1845 and used over 100 years by generations of the Doane family. The building is located in a public park.
- 23 John Rogers House (The Sociable Pub), 17380 Yonge St. This two-storey farm house was built in 1870 by John Rogers, and has a pitched gable roof and three three gables on its east facade. Today, it is a pub in a oasis surrounded by strip malls.
- Newmarket Ghost Canal, Bayview Park (just south of Newmarket). Ruins of a 19th-century canal that was never finished - construction stopped in 1911.
- 1 Fairy Lake (South of Main Street). A large park in the middle of town, this is home to many festivals and fairs, including the annual Shakespeare-In-The-Park put on by a local group called the Resurgence Theatre Company. Locals flock to Fairy Lake on nice days, and even on the not-so-nice days.
- There are several trails in and around Newmarket, and there is a Trail Guide with maps of these trails including the Nokiidaa Trail.
- 2 Nokiidaa Trail (Trail runs on the east side of Fairy Lake and east of Main Street). A section of this trail system runs through the heart of Newmarket connecting to the nearby communities of East Gwillimbury and Aurora. This trail is excellent for hiking or biking. The trail system follows the Holland river which at one time was home to a historic plan to build a canal system. Although never operational, the locks that were being built can still be seen at various points along the trail system.
Main St. has a range of shops which all appear to be small local independent businesses rather than the chain stores seen at malls.
- 1 Newmarket Farmers' Market, 538 Timothy St (half block east of Main St). Saturday mornings from early May to late October.
- 2 Upper Canada Mall, 17600 Yonge St (NW corner of Yonge St and Davis Dr). Large mall
- 3 The Home Depot, 17850 Yonge St (north of Upper Canada Mall). Big box store; home improvement retailer.
- 4 Walmart Newmarket Supercentre, 17940 Yonge St (north of Upper Canada Mall). Big box store.
There are a number eateries on Main Street mostly at the southern end of the street.
- 1 [formerly dead link] Cachet Restaurant + Bar, 500 Water St (at south end of Main St), ☏ . Restaurant with bar atmosphere and seasonal patio. Nice sandwiches such as Chicken Club and Reuben; the bread used almost a pastry.
- 2 Nutmeg Bakeshop, 256 Main St S, ☏ . Closed Mondays. Handcrafted baked goods such as cookies, cakes, tarts, and croissants.
- 3 The Maids Cottage, 223 Main St S, ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-5PM. Cafe & bakery featuring pies & buttertarts plus light meals.
- 4 Little Caesars Pizza, 17730 Leslie St (north of Davis Dr.).
- Lil' Brew Hops, 209 Main St S, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight. Wine bar with Share plates and mixology. Whatever that means.
- 1 [dead link] Unika Lounge (The Goulash House), 200 Main St S (entrance on Botsford St), ☏ . Bar with seasonal sidewalk patio at rear of the Goulash House.
- 2 [dead link] Sneakers Sports Bar & Grill, 18025 Yonge St (1.35 km north of Upper Canada Mall).
- Holland Marsh Wineries, 18270 Keele Street, ☏ . Tu-Su 9AM-5:30PM. Hand-picked grapes and earth-friendly practices maintain the integrity of our soil, water and surrounding area to produce premium boutique-style wines.
- 1 Newmarket Inn, 18667 Yonge St, Newmarket (3 km north of Davis Dr and Upper Canada Mall). Two-storey motel about 5 km from Main St Newmarket.
- 2 Comfort Inn, 1230 Journey's End Cir, Newmarket (at Davis Dr & Hwy 404). 3.5 km east of Main Street Newmarket
- 3 Voyageur Inn (Best Western), 17565 Yonge St, Newmarket (just north of Davis Dr across from Upper Canada Mall). About 2 km from Main Street Newmarket
Newmarket has a hospital: Southlake Regional Health Centre. It is located on Davis Drive and Prospect Street (Bayview Avenue).
- Newmarket is relatively close to Toronto, Barrie, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, and Markham.
- Residents also enjoy day-trips to Wasaga Beach and Collingwood.
- Unionville also has a historic Main Street that rivals Newmarket's in charm.
|Routes through Newmarket|
|END ← East Gwillimbury ←||N S||→ Aurora → Toronto|
|Barrie ← East Gwillimbury ←||N S||→ Aurora → Toronto|