Celebrate Our Heritage

residentsEducation and celebrations are effective tools to help conserve our heritage in addition to policies and legislation. Markham heritage resources are brought to life through different forms of interpretation which encourage learning and enjoyment. Celebrating our heritage resources not only benefits Markham residents, but also draws visitors to our community seeking out new cultural experiences.

Interpreting Heritage Sites

Heritage Designation Interpreting PlaqueWithin Markham, there are a number of plaques on properties that help interpret our local heritage resources. Markham designation plaques are placed on individually designated properties to celebrate their importance. A more in-depth analysis of a heritage site can be provided using a Markham Remembered interpretive plaque.

In the Thornhill area, the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill (SPOHT) has erected many interpretive plaques celebrating local Thornhill historical sites.

A number of the heritage villages also offer self guided historic walking tours.

The Ontario Heritage Trust, a provincial non-profit heritage organization, also erects interpretive plaques in municipalities through the OHT Local Plaque Program.

The Markham Museum also offers a wonderful visitor experience through its exhibits galleries and historic village.

heritage signLearning about historic Markham

A number of excellent books have been written focusing on the history of our community.

Many of our street names [PDF] honour people important in the development of Markham. Discover more about the history of your street name.

Acknowledging a job well done!

Markham acknowledges individuals and organizations when they have done commendable work in the area of heritage conservation. The Heritage Markham Awards of Excellence is an annual celebration of the best heritage projects completed over the last two years.

A number of individuals in Markham have also received provincial Heritage Community Recognition Awards due to their local work in built,cultural and natural heritage projects.

Markham Heritage Celebration paradeHeritage Celebrations

Heritage FestivalEver wonder what lurks behind that closed door? In Markham you can discover the secrets by attending Doors Open Markham in September – the only City wide celebration of our heritage by providing access to heritage properties throughout the community. A number of Markham communities also offer local heritage festivals (see below).

Markham also celebrates Heritage Day and Ontario Heritage Week starting the third Monday in February each year.

Heritage Districts are Special Places

Property owners in heritage conservation districts are kept abreast of district news and useful information through Heritage District News. Markham has also installed heritage district public signage (see below) to acknowledge the special nature of our heritage areas. These include heritage street name signage and heritage district entry signage.

Federal Recognition of Local Heritage

Local heritage properties can also be listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

The Canadian Register of Historic Places provides on-line access to a listing of formally recognized historic places across Canada. The listing has been developed collaboratively by the federal, provincial and territorial governments. Municipalities can nominate properties with the owner’s permission to be listed on this register.

Visit www.historicplaces.ca to find out more.

Recognizing our Heritage Program and Initiatives

Markham has received a number of honours and awards for its commitment to heritage conservation. The most prestigious award has been the Prince of Wales Prize for excellent stewardship of the built heritage. This was presented to the municipality by His Royal Highness Prince Charles and former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.

Recently, Markham received the first Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Award for Community Leadership for 2008. The award recognizes outstanding leadership and initiative in heritage conservation and celebration.

Heritage Markham received the Napier Simpson Jr. Award in 2004 from the Ontario Historical Society as the province’s best heritage advisory committee.

Markham also was the recipient of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute’s Outstanding Planning Award for the “Unionville Heritage Conservation District Plan”in1999 and the Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence for the same plan in 2000.