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Heritage Fire Truck

Markham's Fire & Legacy banner

This past year, the City of Markham and Markham Fire and Emergency Services launched a fundraising campaign to restore two heritage fire trucks, a 1932 Rugby and a 1936 Chevrolet that had once been a vital part of Markham’s fire fleet.

The City is planning three phases of the fundraising campaign:

Phase 1) Full restoration of 1932 Rugby Fire Truck

Phase 2) Construction of the Markham Fire Heritage and Education Centre, as an addition to Station 97, 209 Main Street, Markham, which will house both heritage vehicles.

Phase 3) Full restoration of 1936 Chevrolet Fire Truck

The goal of the campaign is to raise funds for the restoration of both fire trucks and the construction of the Markham Fire Heritage and Education Centre. Once restored, the fire trucks will be displayed in local events and parades to showcase and celebrate Markham’s historical firefighting equipment for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

How You Can Play a Part

A considerable amount of work has been done by community partners and by the Markham firefighters, but we need your help to raise the funds needed to support this campaign and restore these historical pieces of fire history. All donations to this campaign are greatly appreciated. Corporate and individual sponsorships are also available. Tax receipt will be issued for donations of $25 or more.

If you would like to donate, please complete this secure donation form. You will be receive an email with your tax receipt (donations $25 or more) once the donation is submitted.

DONATE NOW

For more information, to make a donation by phone or a donation larger than $5,000, please call Deputy Chief Chris Nearing at 905 477-5960.

History of our Fire Trucks

1932 Rugby

1932 Rugby Fire Truck

The Rugby was constructed in Leaside, Ontario by Durant Motors, later renamed Dominion Motors. There were less than 300 of these Model 615 stake trucks built at the time. The Rugby came equipped with single rear wheel drive, powered by a six cylinder engine. The original engine is still a working component of the Rugby today.

In 1946, the Village of Markham purchased a fire pump from W S Darley & Co. Darley pumps have been around since 1908. In the late 20's Bill Darley cut a deal with Henry Ford to supply trucks so that he could sell North America's first commercial fire truck. The pump was installed in the Rugby with intent to “rework” it into the Village’s first motorized fire engine. The rework included using parts of a 1921 Model T, which the Village had purchased from the Forest Hill Fire Department in 1928 for $700. The Rugby was also given an updated vehicle suspension system to give it a 1.5 ton load capacity, as well as adding a water tank and hose, fire pump and of course a brass bell, which was rung by hand to alert motorists and pedestrians of the fire truck’s approach. The truck was officially converted into a fire truck in 1949. The Rugby remained in service as a second run apparatus until approximately 1962.

The Rugby has since remained with the Markham Fire and Emergency Services as a proud reminder of the tradition and history surrounding the Village of Markham and the Fire Department.

The Rugby was an often used as a parade vehicle, including the Markham Santa Claus Parade with the Fire Chief driving the truck while local music store owner Del Mott played Christmas carols on a piano loaded into the hose bed for parade watchers to enjoy.

1936 Chevrolet

1936 Chevrolet Fire Truck

Information on the Chevrolet fire truck is limited. It was purchased and put into service for the Village of Unionville Fire Department, the year is unknown. There is some speculation that the truck was purchase as an already converted fire apparatus from the Mount Forest Fire Department.

This fire truck at some point would have responded to emergencies in the Village of Unionville from the fire station on Main Street Unionville. The Unionville Fire Station has remained a cherished part of the Markham’s heritage of Main Street Unionville and blends into the current streetscape as what is now known as The Old Fire Hall Confectionery.

Markham Fire Heritage and Education Centre

Markham Fire Heritage and Education Centre Rendering

Markham Fire Heritage and Education Centre Rendering

Phase two of the campaign, focuses on raising funds for the construction of an exciting new 2,200 square foot Markham Fire Heritage and Education Centre. The Centre will be built as an addition to Station 97, 209 Main Street, Markham, to house both heritage vehicles. It will also serve as a hands-on facility for children to learn about the history of fire services, fire safety and offer community educational programming.