Description of Historic Place
The Markham Village Heritage Conservation District (HCD) consists of three sub-districts centred around Main Street in the Town of Markham, namely; Vinegar Hill, Markham Village, and Mount Joy. The HCD straddles Main Street (Hwy. 48) in the Town of Markham. Vinegar Hill consists of two residential areas on either side of Main Street and the broad valley and associated open space of the Rouge River. Markham Village is bounded by two creeks, Robinson Creek to the west and Bramble Creek to the east. Lastly, Mount Joy is bounded by the railway station and the old feed-mill site to the south and extends as far north as the 16th Side Road.
The property was designated by the Town of Markham in 1990 for its heritage value under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 120-90).
Each sub-district of the Markham Village Heritage Conservation District possesses its own subtle but distinct character and ambience.
Vinegar Hill consists mainly of the natural environment and the open space of the Rouge Valley. It also represents the oldest and most historic section of the Heritage Conservation District. The area was originally settled in early 19th century when Nicholas Miller built a saw and grist mill on the Rouge River in 1809. The Rouge River and the dam provided the water to power the saw and grist mills, and the flat lands of the valley provided the sites for these early industries. Rouge Street and Princess Street were consequently laid out in 1856; the land was cleared out to make room for the mills and cottages for workers.
The street and lot layout of the two residential areas in Vinegar Hill take advantage of the open space and valley of the Rouge River. The residential buildings consist primarily of houses built from 1940-1970, however, several 19th century homes and structures remain. The majority of the heritage buildings are one or one-and-a-half-storeys with pitched gable roofs, however, a couple of the buildings have hip roofs.
The Markham Village sub-district is located between two historic creeks, Robinson Creek to the west and Bramble Creek to the east. This section of the HCD includes the commercial core and three residential areas. The small group of large residential houses on large lots north of the commercial area consist of Ontario Vernacular, High Victorian and Queen Anne styles. The commercial buildings in this area are primarily two storey Ontario Vernacular style. The residential section on both sides of Main Street near the railway station are primarily two storey Ontario Vernacular style with Neo-classical, Regency, Georgian, Italianate and High Victorian features. The commercial core is predominantly Ontario Vernacular; however, Queen Anne and Second Empire styles can also be seen to the south.
Dating from the mid-nineteenth century, Mount Joy is the youngest sub-district of the Markham Village Heritage Conservation District; with the largest proportion of heritage buildings of the three sub-districts. Mount Joy consists mainly of properties on Main Street and Peter Street. Almost all buildings are Ontario Vernacular or Farmhouse style.
Sources: Town of Markham By-law 120-90; Design Guidelines & Implementation Process, Town of Markham, November 1989.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Markham Village Heritage Conservation District include its:
- natural landscape including Rouge River
- boundaries created by historic creeks: Robinson Creek and Bramble Creek
- predominantly one or one-and-a-half storey buildings
- pitched gable roofs
- hip roofs
- residential building styles: Ontario Vernacular, High Victorian and Queen Anne
- Neoclassical, Regency, Georgian, Italianate and High Victorian features
- commercial building style: Ontario Vernacular, Queen Anne and Second Empire
- industry and commercial characteristics