One of Markham's most innovative heritage initiatives was the creation of Markham Heritage Estates - Canada's First heritage subdivision.
Interested in relocating a threatened dwelling to Markham Estates? Read Markham Heritage Estates - Administrative Guidelines [PDF]
David Gohn Circle, photographed 1999
Markham Heritage Estates, a unique, specially designed 42 lot, heritage subdivision owned by the City of Markham, is an innovative concept in heritage conservation. In recognition of the inevitable conflict between the pressure for new development and the conservation of our heritage in a growing and developing municipality like Markham, Markham Heritage Estates functions as a subdivision of last resort for heritage buildings in the community that cannot under any circumstances be successfully retained on site.
While Markham is recognized as having the best record in the Greater Toronto Area of retaining heritage buildings within new developments, the Heritage Subdivision has proved to be useful in circumstances such as the construction of Highway 407, road widening, storm water management facilities, etc., where retention on site is not always feasible.
The concept of Markham Heritage Estates was initiated by the City of Markham in order to offer a financial incentive for the relocation of heritage buildings under threat of demolition. The lots in the City owned subdivision are sold below market value to owners of qualifying heritage buildings. The amount saved on the price of the lot provides the incentive for purchasers to arrange for the relocation and restoration of threatened heritage buildings.
The Galloway House, built c.1858. On the move in 1995
As a result of the establishment of the Markham Heritage Estates Subdivision and stronger policies for retaining buildings in new developments, the threat of loss of significant heritage buildings in Markham has been virtually eliminated. By requiring accurate restoration of heritage buildings, the Heritage Estates has contributed to the preservation of heritage buildings in other parts of the City, by demonstrating to developers and the public in general, what can be achieved by restoring a heritage building.
By requiring the completion of a period landscaping plan as part of the restoration, the Markham Heritage Estates has also helped to introduce a greater awareness of the importance of historical landscaping.
The James Thomas House, built c.1856