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German Mills Community Centre

80, German Mills, Town of Markham, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/05/13

Of note are the date tablet and wooden quatrefoil.; Kirsten Pries, 2008.
Facade, German Mills Community Centre, 2008
Of note is the belfry with four camphered supports.; Kirsten Pries, 2008.
Facade, German Mills Community Centre, 2008
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Other Name(s)

German Mills Community Centre
Public School S. S. No. 2
80 German Mills Road

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/01/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The German Mills Community Centre is located at 80 German Mills Road, on the west side of the street north of Shellaray Drive in Thornhill, in the Town of Markham. The single storey board and batten one-room schoolhouse was constructed in 1874.

The property was designated by the Town of Markham in 1980 for its architectural value under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 118-80).

Heritage Value

Located at 80 German Mills Road, the German Mills Community Centre is set back from the main road on the original lot for the village schoolhouse. The structure is surrounded on all sides by lawn and rows of spruce trees planted in the late 1890s by Leonard S. Klinck that mark the perimeter of the lot and frame the schoolhouse.

The German Mills Community Centre was originally Public School S.S. No. 2 and the focal point for the early German Mills settlement. The one-room school house built in 1874 rests on the site of the first school in the community. More than thirty teachers taught at the school including Leonard S. Klinck who served as the President of the University of British Columbia from 1919 to 1944. Classes continued to be held in the building until 1962 and it now functions as a community centre.

The German Mills Community Centre is a good representation of Gothic Revival architecture following the principles of the one-room schoolhouse built throughout Ontario in the nineteenth century. Rectangular in shape and three bays deep, the schoolhouse rests on a stone foundation with walls of board and batten. A unique feature of this building's construction style, the battens rise up and curve into scallops under the boxed cornice. Decorative details such as these scallops and the wooden quatrefoil within a circle and plain segmental curve moulding above centrally positioned under the front gable show the influence of the Gothic Revival style. Arched windows attest to the Gothic Revival style. A date tablet with the building's original name is placed above the facade window.

Other noteworthy features include the two doors leading into the building, one for the boys and one for the girls, as was the custom in the nineteenth century. An outhouse or small storage shed is attached to the west elevation of the building along with the single exterior brick chimney.

Sources: Town of Markham By-law 118-80; “Was a school in 1874, now community centre”, The Liberal, Wednesday September 14, 1977; Identification of German Mills Public School S.S. #2.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the German Mills Community Centre include the:
- set back from the main road
- surrounded on all sides by lawn
- mature spruce trees
- date tablet with building's original name
- one storey board and batten exterior
- cut stone foundation
- steeply pitched gable roof
- battens curving into scallops under the boxed cornice
- wooden quatrefoil with curve moulding above
- belfry with four chamfered supports and simply moulded capitals
- centrally located arched double hung sash window
- identical north and southern elevations with three arched double hung sash
- separate girls and boys entrances with segmental headed three paned transom




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club


One-Room School

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Markham Planning and Urban Design 101 Town Centre Boulevard Markham, Ontario L3R9W3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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