HistoryThe Wilson Variety Hall (c. 1875)

Originally located in the Village of Markham, the Wilson General Store was owned and operated by Henry Wilson in the late 19th century. Born in Markham in 1835, Henry Wilson married Clementina May in 1847 and the couple had six children together. By October 1862, he and Clementina were operating a successful millinery and fancy goods store in the Village. They relocated their store to this larger building in 1875. Clementina operated the dressmaking part of the business on the second floor. In 1918 the property was sold to Dr. John MacDonald. Dismantled and reconstructed, the building was relocated to the Museum grounds in 1995.


This front gabled store building is typical of local shops constructed in smaller villages throughout Ontario in the mid-to-late-19th century. The building is of a frame construction and the double store doors have paneled lower sections and windows above, flanked by two large store windows. Decorative posts and ornate trim characterize the store verandah. The exterior side walls are unique in that the stucco finish has been outlined to imitate stone blocks, which would have been a more expensive building material.