The people here are always moving from place to place. We travel to work, pass from shop to shop, venture to see friends and family, or just move for the simple joy of it! Whether by bicycle, car, bus, wheelchair, airplane, or our own two feet, the equipment we use to transport ourselves has a big impact on how we live our lives. As our modes of transportation change over time, our community evolves with them.
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Travelling by foot is perhaps the simplest way that people transport themselves from one place to another. However, there are inventions and equipment that make human powered movement easier, more comfortable and possible for people of all abilities.
Photo: Heritage Apple Orchard at Markham Museum
Many of the first permanent European settlers in Markham were farming families that came from Pennsylvania by foot. Moving in to set up house and clear forest for farming required a lot of equipment. Their preferred method for transporting supplies was the Conestoga wagon.
Conestogas had large, sturdy wheels that could roll over holes, logs, stumps and uneven terrain. The bottom rails of the wagon bed were sloped toward the centre, which discouraged contents from falling out on bumpy terrain, and kept the wagon balanced. Conestogas would even float when crossing water! “Teamsters” who guided the horse-drawn wagons would usually walk alongside.
Concession roads and other pathways laid the first foundations for how Markham Township was developed, and walking still shapes how our City is designed today. Sidewalks, walking paths, pedestrian right of ways; all of these physical features have an impact on the form of our urban environment.
Photo: German Mills. Oil painting in the possession of the Historical Society of Mecklenburg Upper Canada: after an unfinished pencil drawing by Albrecht Ulrich Moll, known as William Berczy. Markham Museum Collection M.2015.0.60a
Snowshoes are an innovation that make travelling by foot in winter far more practical. They prevent one’s feet from sinking into snow by distributing weight over a much wider surface area.
Snowshoeing was almost universal among Indigenous groups in North America outside of the Pacific and Arctic coasts. The shoe frames were usually made from durable, flexible ash wood, and the lacing from animal hide. This method of transportation was later adopted by European fur traders.
These wooden snowshoes are held together with nails and interwoven sinew. The square holes in the centre of the weaving are meant to allow the toe of one’s boot to go through. On these examples the leather foot harnesses are missing.
Markham Museum Collection, M.2000.0.62.a-b
People in Markham today use snowshoes mostly for recreational purposes. Like skates and skis, technology that was originally made to make travelling in winter easier are now mostly used to have fun!
Photo: Ice skating at Markham Civic Centre
Walking is also a beloved form of leisure, and Markham has many areas to enjoy a stroll or a hike. Parks Canada is developing an integrated trail system in the Rouge National Urban Park. When complete, there will be a continuous trail system from the mouth of the Rouge River at Lake Ontario, through Scarborough and Markham, to the park’s border in Stouffville.
Photo: Rouge Park Walking Trail Corridor and Visitor Facilities
The City of Markham is in the midst of developing a new Active Transportation Master Plan (ATMP) that aims to build a well-connected and safe network for cyclists, pedestrians, persons with assistive devices and parents with strollers.
Visit yourvoicemarkham.ca/WalkingandCycling to contribute your ideas or to learn more.
Andre De Grasse takes travel by foot to a whole new level and is Markham’s fastest person.
Photo: Andre De Grasse, Canadian Track and Field Championships. Courtesy of Athletics Canada.
Autographed Andre De Grasse Puma Sprint Spike.
On loan from Envision Sports and Entertainment
Photo: Andre De Grasse, Rio Olympics, 2016. Courtesy of Athletics Canada
Going for a walk is a great form of exercise. Calculate the length of your typical route and compare it with the distances local residents travelled in times before jumping in the family car was an option.
How many times will you repeat your daily exercise route in order to complete one of these distances?
See the links below for information on local trails.
This chair provided Barb Wilkinson with added mobility as a child. Barb’s parents were active with the Cerebral Palsy Parent Council of Toronto. They were on the first board that raised the capital moneys to construct the pilot project Participation House on Butternut Lane in 1972. Today Participation House operates seven residential centres in Markham.
Gift of Barb and Joan Wilkinson M.2017.28.1
Barb Wilkinson pictured here with Mayor Frank Scarpitti
These devices gave children the ability to move about on a level floor and reach kitchen counters long before they were ready to take their first steps. Health Canada banned baby walkers in 2004, and for 15 years before that, major retailers had agreed to respect a voluntary ban.
Markham Museum Collection M.1985.0.305
Visit the Markham Centennial Skatepark to see some great tricks.
On loan from Pfaff, BMW, Mini Markham
These roller skates were made in Waterloo, Ontario by the Sunshine Waterloo Company Ltd. Roller skates were used as an easy and fun way for transportation and recreation for people of all ages. In 1937 roller skating between Markham and Stouffville villages was banned by council due to safety concerns.
Gift of Fern Lustig M.2010.32.27
Skates, Skis, Snowshoes
Travelling in winter by foot may require more than just a good pair of boots. The larger surface area of snowshoes and skis keep us from sinking in deep drifts. Ice skates make it possible to travel across lakes or rivers. But they can also be used for recreation.
Photo: Thornhill Women's Hockey Team, 1914-1917. They played teams from Oshawa, Bowmanville, Toronto and never lost a game. Money raised from the games supported the war effort. Back row, left to right: Edith Clement, Gladys Grice, Mr. Albert Pearson, team manager, Marjorie Farr. Front row, left to right: Hazel Riddle, Margaret Boyle, Mary Francis, Winnie Simpson, Lillian Francis. Markham Museum Collection M.1987.0.1529
Fran Thomson (1929 - ) is a lifetime resident of Markham and enjoys an active lifestyle year round. Many of these activities, including cross country skiing in the Rouge Valley west of Markham Village, were family or social outings and included her husband Jim. Fran travelled to Tremblant and St. Sauveur, Quebec to ski, changing out of her Toronto office attire in time to hop on a weekend snow train. She would arrive back at Union Station on Monday morning just in time to start her work day.
Snowshoes: Markham Museum Collection M.2000.0.62.a&b
Telemark Skis M.2012.4.2.3 a-d, Cross Country Skis (Kivaylo), Gift of Fran Thomson M.2013.1.94.a-f
The bicycle has gone through a number of different versions before landing on the design we recognize today…
Created by Karl von Drais in Germany as an alternative method for speedy travel. He patented the machine in 1818. It had a similar look to a modern bicycle but had no pedals. A rider would propel themselves with their feet, similar to a “glide bike” for children today.
The first commercially successful bicycle design, developed in 1863. This version was powered by rotary cranks and pedals which were attached to the front wheel. The frame was solid wood with iron-rimmed wheels. Roads were unpaved at the time, which made for a ride so bumpy that they became referred to as “boneshakers.”
Popular in the 1870s - 1880s. The design is easily recognized by its large front wheel. The advantage of this design was speed – since pedals were fixed to the wheel, a larger wheel made for greater distance covered by a single pedal rotation. The disadvantage of this design was that with greater speed, and the rider sitting at a greater height, there was a higher potential for injury if the rider lost their balance!
Patented in 1885 by John Kemp Starley, this design was created in response to the disadvantages of the high wheel. It was the first bicycle to be propelled via the back wheel with a chain and gear, rather than pedals fixed directly to the wheel itself. The addition of this simple machine allowed for the bicycle to be both faster and safer than the high wheel that came before it. Modern bicycles are still based off this design. The safety bicycle had a significant impact on women, providing unprecedented mobility, which contributed to their larger participation in all aspects of their communities. As bicycles became safer and cheaper, more women had access to the personal freedom they granted, and so the bicycle came to symbolize the “New Woman” of the late nineteenth century.
Photo: In front of Mount Joy School. Gift of Clyde Lehman M.2012.1.18
Markham Bike Lanes
The bicycle is still shaping the way our community is organized. As cycling increases in popularity as an alternative to driving, the infrastructure of our roads is changing.
Markham has over 400km of on- and off-road cycling routes as part of its cycling master plan. Notable examples include a trail route running through the Milne Conservation Park and Rouge River Valley, and a succession of bicycle lane pilot projects along Highway 7. With an ever-increasing need for green alternatives, the revolution in transportation the bicycle created in the 19th century may well be repeated in Canada in the 21st Century.
Take a look at our City from a bicycle:
A tandem bike is designed to be used by more than one person. Tandem bicycles date from the late 1890s. The word “tandem” refers to the seating arrangement and not the number of riders.
Markham Museum Collection M.2018.0.1018
High Wheel Bicycle
During the 1880s Markham was home to a high wheel bicycle club.
Gift of Gordon Penny M.1971.14.1
The bicycle (on the left) features a personal modification by a past owner. The handles are fitted with shovel shaped shaped ends.
Want to learn more about cycling in Markham?Check out Markham Cycles
The first European roads in Canada were cleared dirt paths, and were really only useable in mid-summer when the earth was dry and hard enough for travellers on horseback, or in winter when sleighs could travel across packed snow.
In the 19th Century, the government began investing more in the creation and improvement of roads. There were several reasons to do so: encouraging commerce, efficient movement of the military, improving postal service, and opening new land for settlement.
Yonge Street was one of the first major road investments in the area, originally created as a military route from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe. The rivers in the area were shallow, making them difficult to navigate in summer, and so the solution was a road to make transportation quick and as easy as possible.
Corduroy roads were an early road “improvement.” They were made by laying logs horizontally on top of dirt paths. These hard and uneven roads were uncomfortable to drive over, and caused a lot of damage when logs inevitably spun and shifted. Corduroy roads were notorious for breaking wagon wheels, and horses’ legs!
Photo: Corduroy Road Over A Swamp In Orillia Township, Ontario - Titus Hibbert Ware. Toronto Virtual Reference Library
By the 1850s plank roads were a more common road improvement. These roads were made of split wood boards laid flat to create a smooth surface. They provided a much safer, faster and more comfortable ride, however they required constant maintenance to avoid rotting. For this reason plank roads were usually tolled to help pay for upkeep.
Markham had plank roads on Hwy 48, connecting Markham and Scarborough, and along Elgin Mills, to connect the Markham Scarborough plank road to Yonge Street. Toll keepers would collect fares at tollhouses positioned along the length of the roads.
A common variety of passenger wagon found and produced in Ontario was the Democrat - a cross between a Buggy and farm wagon, with the body of a wagon but with an extra upholstered seat board and an open top. It was a forerunner to the station wagon and may have developed from the farmer’s practice of adding additional seats to avoid tax on pleasure vehicles.
Photo: Democrat Wagon, 1910. Markham Museum Collection M.1989.0.375
To remove the wheels of a wagon, people used jacks like this to raise the wagon’s axle. This made it easier to grease the wheels, repair the tires or change from wheels to sleigh runners much the same way we put on winter snow tires today.
Gift of the Ward Family (Mrs. June A. Ward) M.1987.20.31.b
In 1861 Markham had 31 registered carriage and wagon makers, the largest being Speight Carriage Works established in 1830.
Employing 125 people, the factory produced hundreds of carriages, sleighs, wagons and baby carriages, sold across the country. The stage coach was used in Markham and varied in model from open wagons to Park Drags or Red Coaches. Travel on these coaches was seldom comfortable and passengers could be expected to help push at any time. Despite this, they were relatively reliable and became both the first public transport service vehicle and first regular mail service vehicle in the area.
The rise of the automobile would end the usefulness of horse-drawn transportation, but it would mark a revitalized effort in building and upkeep of roads…
Photo: John Thompson’s stage coach at Dominion House Hotel. Yonge St. Weaver Collection M.2003.12.4.29.15
New Demands on Roads
At the turn of the 20th Century, automobiles quickly started to replace horse-drawn vehicles. With this change, advocates expressed the need for good roads and put pressure on their towns to improve and expand the road system, connecting them to other towns and villages. By 1916 the demands for new highways and road upkeep had increased so much that a new department within the government of Ontario was established, The Department of Public Highways of Ontario.
Road construction has continued to increase to the present time. The only two pauses on expansion happened during WWI and WWII. In the 1930s the Great Depression left many Canadians out of work. Road building projects were used as a form of unemployment relief, it provided many men with steady jobs. The most famous road from this project is the Queen Elizabeth Way.
Photo: Chevrolet H2 1/2 Royal Mail with a 1922 Licence plate. Fred W. Dixon Collection M.2012.0.365.49
In the 1950s a population boom in Ontario of around 10,000 per month created a large demand for new and better highways. Markham has two freeways running through it. Highway 404 runs north-south between Woodbine Ave. and Leslie Street. Construction started in 1977 and was completed in 1989. Highway 407 runs east-west through Markham between Highway 7 and 14th Avenue. It was first planned in the 1950s but the first portion did not open until 1997.
Photo: Intersection of Markham Road and Stouffville Road, looking north. 1940. Gift of Mrs. Douglas Davis M.1978.18.23
The Star Car was a product of the Durant Motor Company, which operated in the Leaside district of Toronto on Laird Avenue. Built in 1926, this particular 4-door Star Sedan was first sold in Markham by Ed Stonehouse from his dealership on the northwest corner of Hwy. 7 and Markham Road.
The car was eventually purchased at auction by Austin Reesor, for whom the car was a prized possession. The car remains in remarkable condition, with low mileage (10Km) and an entirely original interior, exterior and upholstery. After Mr. Reesor’s death the Markham Historical Society purchased the car and donated it to Markham Museum in 1989. Gift of Markham Historical Society, from the Estate of Austin Reesor M.1989.32.1
Star Car Brochure, Gift of Randy Barber M.2014.6.1
The first main lines of transportation throughout Canada were waterways
...and it remained this way until the late 1700s. Canada was almost entirely covered in dense forest making travel by land slow and tedious.
The first transportation lines that were not rivers or other waterways were small portage routes that linked lakes and served as paths for travellers primarily travelling by water. Many of the first roads built in Canada follow these original portage routes cleared by the First Nations.
The waters of the Rouge, Humber, and Don rivers in the Toronto area were fairly shallow with steep banks, which limited navigation to only certain times of year. Such conditions encouraged the development of roads and other alternative routes across land.
Photo: Florence Wideman and friend in a boat made by Norman Wideman in Milne’s Pond c. 1922. Wideman Collection M.19126.96.36.199
While they are still shallow, people today do enjoy boating on the waters of the Rouge River, with several touring companies offering kayak and canoe tours. Toogood Pond (formerly Willow Pond), Woodland Park, and Markham’s largest municipal park, Milne Conservation Area, are also popular spots for hiking, cycling and fishing.
Photo: Gaythorne John Hardy paddling a cedar strip canoe. Gift of Terry Clendening M.1989.27.272.
Eco Camp @ Chimo is located on 20 acres of land at Milne Park in Markham. Campers learn to appreciate nature and the great outdoors at Camp Chimo. Activities include: archery, canoeing, nature hikes, high ropes, arts & crafts, indigenous peoples workshops, special guests, theme days and more.
Photo: Toogood Pond c. 1920. Gift of Anne Weighill M.1996.11.110
The Rouge River continues to support small water craft. Markham youth may learn about paddling at Camp Chimo.
In the early 20th century Toronto & Markham residents would cottage, camp and canoe in the reservoirs at Toogood Pond, Milne Dam and Woodland Park.
On loan from City of Markham, Camp Chimo
In Canada, railways were one of the first major transportation innovations that dramatically changed how people lived their lives....
Photo: Unionville Station. Markham Museum Collection M.2001.21.1
The first true rail line in Canada opened in 1836, between Montreal and Lake Champlain, and was an alternative way to “portage” between Richelieu River and the St. Lawrence River. Railways made communication and transportation of people and goods easier and faster, and encouraged business, industry and travel.
The first railway to pass through Markham was the Toronto & Nipissing Railways (T&N), in 1872. The line extended from Toronto to Coboconk (though originally intended to extend to Lake Nipissing). The T&N was built on a narrow gauge. This means the track was 42 inches wide, as compared to standard gauge that was 56.5 inches wide. A narrow gauge was considered safer, could take sharper turns, and it was much cheaper to build than standard gauge.
Photo: The Toronto Grey and Bruce, Toronto and Nipissing, and Lake Simcoe Junction Railways as built, 1877. Adapted from a map of the Province of Ontario by James Campbell & Son of Toronto, 1874, Archives of Ontario.
With a fast and efficient connection between Markham and marketplaces in Toronto and beyond, goods could flow. Industries such as tanneries, carriage works, blacksmith shops and grist mills flourished. Markham’s population grew as a result. Ultimately, demand on the rail line exceeded what the narrow gauge could handle and the track was replaced with standard gauge in 1882.
The Locust Hill train station was located on the CP line which ran east-west through southern Markham. The second historical station building, depicted here, is now located here at Markham Museum.
Photo: Locust Hill Station. Markham Museum Collection M.19188.8.131.52
Railways were very important for economic development through the transportation of goods. This reliance shaped how communities were planned. In Markham, this can be seen in much of the early industrial infrastructure.
Reesor’s Marmill was built right on the Toronto Nipissing rail line for swift and easy access to the transportation that would bring its products to market in Toronto. Similarly, milk cans were transported daily to Toronto on all the rail lines serving the large consumer population in the city.
Photo: CN train in front of Reesor’s Marmill. Gift of Dorothy Reesor M.2014.2.0.8
Locomotive – Converts thermal energy from steam into kinetic energy. High pressure steam is forced through a series of pistons. The engine must be re-filled with water and fuel (like coal) which is burned to heat the water.
Photo: Locomotive Train Engine at Markham Station, 1909. Markham Museum Collection M.2012.0.286
Converts thermal energy from burning fuel into kinetic energy. They are further divided into two types, one that directly converts heat into kinetic, and one that converts heat into electricity, which is then converted into kinetic energy.
Photo: Courtesy of Metrolinx/GO Transit
Converts electricity into kinetic energy. The motor is supplied with electricity continuously through a network over the railways.
A diesel engine drives a DC or AC generator which then powers the motor. This is the most common kind of engine today. To address growing concerns about climate change some of these engines are being re-fitted to a rechargeable energy storage system (RESS), essentially a giant battery, which can power the motor. The battery can also be charged through regenerative braking systems that capture the energy given off when the train is stopping to recharge the engine.
It stands for Liquefied Natural Gas. In specialized engines this can be used as fuel instead of diesel. LNG is significantly cheaper than diesel and LNG engines produce as much as 30% less carbon emissions and 70% less nitrogen oxides (both chemicals that contribute to climate change).
A new rail system that many consider to be the future of train transportation technology. A hydrail train uses hydrogen as fuel, which passes through hydrogen fuel cells to generate an electric current which powers the train. This process involves no combustion and therefore produces zero harmful emissions. It’s only by-product is water vapour.
Photo: Contemporary Hydrail Train Engine. Alstom
Despite the growing popularity of cars in the 20th century, trains did not become completely obsolete. The GO Transit train system in the GTHA still utilizes rail corridors from the 19th century, including the Toronto Nipissing Line through Markham. The GO Transit system came about after intense pressure on roads in the area during the post WWII population boom. On May 23, 1967, Ontario’s 1st interregional rail transit system was launched --- single-deck push-pull coaches built by Hawker-Siddeley Canada transported passengers on the Lakeshore line between Pickering-Union-Oakville-Hamilton.
Photos: GO Train along Gardiner Expressway. Top: 1967. Bottom: Contemporary GO Train. Photos courtesy of Metrolinx.
Did you know that there were once streetcars in Markham?
A “radial line” operated on Yonge Street in Thornhill from 1896 to 1930. The tracks extended from Toronto all the way north to Jackson’s Point on Lake Simcoe. In 1930 the line was briefly shut down, and then re-opened three months later, running between Toronto and Richmond Hill. The Toronto Transit Commission operated the newly shortened line until 1948.
Photo: Reopening of Radial Rail, 1930. Gift of Lloyd Gohn M.1975.93.6
Photo: Toronto Nipissing Railway Engine and train crossing the rail bridge outside of Unionville. Markham Museum Collection M.1986.0.350
Metrolinx: Moving Toward The Future
Year after year, train by train, bus by bus, Metrolinx has committed to constantly improving GO Transit service. Now, that work is taking on a whole new energy.
Thanks to a huge investment in infrastructure, Metrolinx is quadrupling GO Rail train service and transforming the way people travel across our region – allowing customers to use the network in ways that will improve their journey and their day-to-day lives. GO Expansion will make the network better and faster, and make travel within the region that much easier. So, what’s changing?
60% more ridership service: GO Expansion will transform GO Rail to provide two-way, all-day service across the network at faster speeds, allowing ridership to increase by 60% by 2031.
6,000 services: The GO Rail network will transform from a mostly commuter-based system to a true regional rapid transit system, with 6,000 weekly trips that will provide frequent, all-day service throughout vast expanses of the network. Travellers will be able to go where they want, when they want.
Fascination with trains has been around as long as railways themselves, for young and not so young enthusiasts alike.
Gifts of Mr. Rowland Lee, Albert Hosking and Markham Museum Collection
M.1999.271.2, M.19184.108.40.206, M.19220.127.116.11, M.1986.0.1131, M.1989.7.49, M.1918.104.22.168.a, M.1999.0.270.1, M.1986.0.1130.2, M.1999.0.268.3, M.1989.7.53
This three-wheeled velocipede car is similar in design to a tricycle, but was adapted for use in railway maintenance. Operated by one person at a time, this car would be used by track inspectors, signal tenders and oil switchers. The vertical handle in the middle of the platform would be pumped in order to propel the car forward, with further power provided by foot pedals.
The term “velocipede”actually covers any human-powered land vehicle with wheels. which includes bicycles. In fact, boneshaker bicycles are often referred to simply as velocipedes.
Gift of Markham Historical Society c/o Sam Murdock M.1984.25.6.a&b
This compound lever can be used by one person to move a loaded rail car. Rail yards and many stations were equipped with rail car movers.
Gift of Bert Tooley M.1984.64.6
The modern Canadian Rail Operating Rules uses a combination of three stacked lights capable of shining red, green and amber in solid and flashing combinations to convey speed signaling instruction to the crew. The top light indicates the immediate situation and the lowest light indicates how to approach the next signal. This early signal lamp has a cluster of three unique lenses of green, red and amber.
Before portable radios, train lanterns would permit train, yard and station crew members to communicate over long distances where shouting wasn’t effective. Similar to traffic lights on the road, a red light was a signal to stop or could be used to mark the last car (rear) of a train.
Markham Museum Collection T.2018.0.1083.a&b
Gift of Mr. Bob Ferguson M.1992.34.1
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Aviation has a long history in Canada…
Photo: Gordon Hood, 1922. Gift of Dorothy Reesor M.2014.2.0.11
Flying in Canada
F.W. Baldwin was the first Canadian to fly a plane, called the “Red Wing,”in 1908. One of the most successful Canadian plane designs was the “Silver Dart.” Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, was on the team that created it. It was one of the most advanced piloted flying machines of the day, but its longest flight was only 32km.
Photo: Silver Dart
Advancements in aviation came very quickly in the 20th century, largely due to military pressures of the first and second world wars. In the span of just over 50 years planes went from the Silver Dart, to jets that could fly from Toronto to Europe in just 6 hours! This dramatic increase in the ability to travel long distances shaped our communities in many ways. It opened Markham’s doors to the world, aiding in the enormous increase in newcomers and overall population after 1950.
Air Cadets provides training and activities for youth aged 12-18. In addition to leadership and citizenship, cadets are trained in many areas related to aviation, such as navigation, flying, air traffic control, gliding, aerospace studies and survival training.
There are two Air Cadet Squadrons in Markham - The 351 Silver Star Royal Canadian Air Cadet Unionville Squadron was formed in 1987. It has over 200 members, one of the largest in Canada! In 2011 the 883 Air Commodore Leonard Birchall Squadron was formed to offer more spaces to potential Markham cadets.
Did you know there are airports in Markham?
Markham Airport is located at Hwy 48 and Elgin Mills Road. It’s a private airport that was founded in 1965. It services about 40 residential aircraft, Air Cadet Gliders, and hosts both a flight school, and a high school co-op program.
Buttonville Airport began in 1953 as a grass airstrip and became an official airport in 1962. It currently services corporate and other small passenger flights, and is home to over 300 flying clubs. However, its days are numbered. It is owned by developer Armadale Properties Ltd. who plan to close the airport and turn the site into a mixed-use residential and business hub.
Photo: Air Traffic Control at Buttonville Airport, 1970. Gift of Toronto Airways M.2006.13.84.d
Pickering Airport was first proposed in the late 1960s as Toronto’s second international airport. However, due to widespread grassroots opposition from the local community it still has not been built. In 1972, 19,000 acres of land in Pickering, Markham and Uxbridge were expropriated by the federal government. This land included 126 farms, many of which were leased back to the original owners on a temporary basis.
In 2013, 10,000 acres of the airport land was given over to Parks Canada for the Rouge National Urban Park. There are currently still plans to build the airport, however not in the foreseeable future. Opposition groups still maintain that the best use of the land is for agriculture, given the excellent soil quality and rising concerns about wildlife preservation and global food security.
Marion Reesor was a trained pilot. The image below is from a series of photos taken for a 1947 article in an aviation magazine, however the woman in the picture is actually Marion’s sister Dorothy. On this day Marion was not available and so Dorothy was asked to step in and pose as her.
Marion was one of several pilots in the Hood family. Gordon Hood, Dorothy and Marion’s uncle, is considered an aviation pioneer, having built and flown his own airplane in 1913. Coincidentally, the sisters’ family farmland was eventually where Buttonville Airport was built in 1953.
Photo: Gift of Dorothy Reesor M.2014.2.0.12
William George (Billy) Barker, VC, is best known as a Canadian fighter pilot during WWI. Today he remains the most highly decorated military serviceman in Canadian history. After the war he and his friend, fellow Canadian air ace Billy Bishop, VC, created Bishop-Barker Aeroplanes Limited, an airplane charter, maintenance and sales company. As a part of this venture, the two pilots captured some of the first aerial photos of Toronto and York region, including several of Markham.
Photo: Gift of Mrs. Doris H. Cook M.1974.7.30
Exciting new advancements in aviation include unpiloted aerial vehicles, otherwise known as DRONES.
Versions of radio or remote controlled aerial vehicles have been in use since WWI, however drones for civilian use are a recent development. When we hear the word ‘drone’ the vehicle that most people think of is a type of quadcopter (four propellers) called a rotorcraft - a craft lifted by spinning rotor blades. These are controlled by adjusting the speeds of each rotor making them more stable and suited for tasks like filming or package delivery than a fixed-wing aircraft.
In the future, military drones are expected to become smaller and lighter with longer battery lives and flight times. In civilian use, drones are already being used for deliveries, assisting emergency services, and to collect agriculture and forestry data.
Made by Leonard and Douglas Short of S&S Aircraft Limited, Winnipeg. This propeller has been trimmed, its original full length would have been about three metres.
This propeller likely did not fly for long, if at all. A defect on one end would have thrown off its balance. Even a slight imbalance can result in a propeller tearing off an airplane in flight. Made in 1939, this propeller was designed for a small aircraft.
Photo: (L) On loan from Ferguson Mobbs, (R) Gift of Marge Pringle M.1981.52.1
The ease, speed, and convenience of better transportation technology also comes with a down side. Accidents are an unfortunate inevitable consequence of travelling at higher speed with large and heavy equipment.
Photo: Markham Museum Collection M.1998.0.46
Photo: Markham Museum Collection M.1998.0.50
Photo: Plane that had crashed into a windmill and fell into the orchard of George Harding of Richmond Hill, 27 July 1926. Gift of Mr. Alan Metcalfe M.1983.8.27
Hurricane Hazel was a major disaster event that affected Markham and its residents in many ways, including its transportation infrastructure. On October 15th, 1954, many bridges were either washed out or destroyed from the flood waters, including the CPR bridge over the Rouge River NW of Steeles and Con. 9. Flooding also caused a passenger train to derail just north of Mount Joy.
Photo: CPR Bridge, NW of Steeles Ave. and Ninth Line, damaged by Hurricane Hazel flood waters. Gift of Gordon Hagerman M.1922.214.171.124
The damage caused by flooding was severe enough to spur the establishment of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), after the publication of the Rouge Duffin Highland Petticoat report in 1956. The result was restrictions on where development could occur in the GTA. The creation of the Milne Conservation Area, for example, was a result of what was learned from Hurricane Hazel.
Photo: Markham train derailment, 1954. Markham Museum Collection M.1973.40.16
Newton's Laws of Motion
Sir Isaac Newton’s laws were first published in Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687.
Law of Inertia: An object at rest (or in motion) will continue to be in the same state unless acted upon by an external force. Objects tend to keep doing what they’re doing unless disturbed.
Force = Mass x Acceleration: An object (mass) accelerates (speeds up) when a force acts upon it. The heavier the object is, the more force it takes to start it moving. Would you need more force to move a car or a bicycle?
Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When an object is pushed, it pushes back too. Think about when you sit in a chair: your body applies a force downward and that chair needs to use an equal force upward or the chair will collapse.
Many of the exhibit components in this part of the gallery exhibition were built by Markham Museum staff. Some were quite simple and others required testing during the planning stages to make sure we got it right.
Try designing your own experiments to test Newton’s Laws of Motion with materials you have around the house. Share photographs and videos of your experiments with us in Community Moves. Before you start, be sure to ask an adult for some assistance
Gravity is the force that makes objects fall to the ground. It pulls things with mass (weight) or energy toward one another. The force of gravity on Earth is constant.
Turning the crank or dropping a ball from the top lets one test gravity in action! The pegs and sliders slow the balls as they drop. Can you find the fastest route down? If you drop the ball from the same spot every time, will the ball always take the same path?
How does gravity affect items on the ramps and roller coasters? if you change the mass or shape of an object does this affect the speed? Try these experiments at home and test your own theories.
Pneumatics refers to using a gas to move power from one location to another. The fans in our scarf cannon push air into the system of tubes, creating air pressure that causes a linear (straight) force through the cylinder.
Why is one tube slower than the other? If gravity is constant on Earth, regardless of mass, why do leaves and feathers fall to the ground more slowly that rocks and balls?
To design this activity the museum first tested the idea using a shop vacuum, table tennis balls and scraps of fabric. If you have some of this equipment why not try to recreate this experiment at home?
Newton’s cradle demonstrates the third law of motion. When one of the balls is lifted and released, it strikes the remaining stationary balls and sends force through all of them to push the ball on the other end away.
Watch the video to see some ways to experiment and move energy through the balls suspended from the cradle frame.
Daniel Bernoulli (1700 – 1782) was a scientist studying mathematics, business and medicine. His principle, which applies to the movement of fluids, was first published in the text, “Hydrodynamica”, in 1738.
An increase in the speed of air occurs simultaneously with a decrease in air pressure.
Try building your own pneumatic system at home.
What happens to the system as you change and add new pieces?
Place a ball in the tube and cover the air intake. What happens?
What keeps the ball afloat?...
The air flowing upward holds the ball up, but what stops it from falling out the side? Bernoulli has the answer!
Air that moves at a higher speed has a lower pressure. The upward blowing air flows around the outside of the ball, creating a pocket of low pressure. The standing air outside this pocket has a higher pressure, and pushes the ball equally from all directions into the low pressure pocket.
Bernoulli’s Principle is important for understanding FLIGHT
LIFT and THRUST are the upward forces that together keep an airplane in the air. THRUST is the forward motion of an airplane and is powered by its engines. When an airplane moves forward, air flows over and under its wings. The shape of the wings makes air flow faster over the top. The faster flow creates lower air pressure, meaning the higher air pressure underneath the wing pushes it up, creating LIFT!
Create and fly your own paper airplane using the instructional pages provided. Try modifying your design to fly further or longer.
As we continue to stay home, Markham Museum has recreated the Markham Moves exhibition online and we want you to be part of it. Through social media and Markham Museum’s website, we’ll be posting images and activities themed around ‘motion’ and we want you to create it with us.
1. Find items at home, through art, outside your window or whatever inspires you to think of ‘motion’. Refer to the exhibition for inspiration
2. Take a photo of it
3. Write a description for it
4. Post it on social media
5. Tag us and include the hashtag #MarkhamMovesOnline
6. Be featured on our social media and our online exhibition!