Introduction to Unionville Community
Welcome to one of Markham’s prettiest neighbourhoods – it’s so charming that it has been the backdrop for multiple movies and shows! Unionville community is steeped in history, has a main street full of restaurants and stores, is a huge tourist attraction, and has delightful homes. Read on to find out more!
The Unionville community borders have ebbed and flowed over the years. It is an unincorporated community and therefore several adjacent neighbourhoods have claimed to be part of this prestigious address. However, now this seems to have been settled and it is generally agreed that the community sits between Highway 7 and 16th Avenue. Its eastern border is defined by Roddick Road and the western border runs along Monarch Park across Carlton Road at Quantztown Park and then south through Austin Drive Park to meet the southern border at Highway 7.
History of Unionville Community
The community is named after Ira White’s Union Mills which were built in 1839, however, the settlement is older than this as William Berczy and approximately 64 other families of German descent moved to Markham to settle in 1794. The neighbourhood established a sawmill, a grist mill and 2 churches, and by 1851 the population was at 200 people. In 1952 Mrs Kathleen McKay opened her doors to Frederick H Varley. As such, Unionville has strong connections with Varley and the rest of the Group of Seven artists. The Varley Art Gallery is partly funded by the trust Mrs McKay left to the city when she died. Her home was also bequeathed and the house is now used for small art shows.
In the 1960s, the ready availability of furniture and collectables from the older homes nearby saw the increase of antique stores along the main street. Consequently, Unionville became a popular place to visit and shop for antiques. Over the next decade, Main Street saw more stores and services opening to cater to the visitors resulting in the tourist industry flourishing in the area. Buildings were renovated and an old swampland was converted to a parking lot for visitors. In addition, the city maintained and developed local walking trails to the north around the millpond that is now known as Toogood Pond, and to the east linking Main Street to Austin Drive Park.
There are some beautiful homes in Unionville! It is renowned for heritage Victorian and Gothic style homes with porches and lovely front gardens, most of which have been maintained or renovated carefully and they are a joy to behold! As you fan out from Main Street, the homes become more modern – from mid-century homes, townhouses, and detached homes built in the 60s and 70s. Many of the older homes near Main Street are being torn down and being replaced with new “monster homes” as a process of regentrification that started in central Unionville and will inevitably span across the community in the decades to come. And recently a condominium has been built. Therefore, people moving to Unionville have a good choice of homes and many options – as long as they are quick about it as homes here sell like hotcakes due to the popularity of the area!
Transport & Commuting
The old Unionville station is now a heritage site and is used for community events. So now commuters in this community use the new Unionville Go station situated just south of the area. From the northernmost reaches, it takes around 12 minutes to drive to the station. Drivers find the close vicinity of Highway 7, Highway 404 and Highway 407 extremely convenient. Buses serve this area well with several York Region Transit stops and Viva Rapid Transit routes.
Shopping in Unionville Community
The choice of stores on Main Street Unionville is plentiful and varied. Clothing, flowers, beauty salons, chocolate, jewellery & accessories, wedding dresses, gifts, cafes, pubs and restaurants, there is a lot on offer here. Elsewhere in the community there is a plaza at the corner of Carlton Road and Kennedy Road, which has a restaurant, bank, pharmacy and a few small businesses to discover. There is another plaza on the corner of Village Parkway and Carlton Road which has a convenience store and small businesses. There is another plaza on the corner of The Bridle Trail and Kennedy Road which offers a Veterinary Clinic and a few other small businesses. Along Highway 7 there are quite a few shopping plazas offering car dealerships, clinics, beauty parlours, grocery stores, take-out food and restaurants, the largest of which is Markham Town Square located on the corner of Warden and Highway 7. Lastly, on the corner of 16th Avenue and Kennedy road there is a plaza that offers a pharmacy, walk-in clinic and an orthodontic clinic. And who can forget the Village Grocer which is a local family-owned store which has been around for over 30 years and recently moved to new and enlarged premises at Kennedy Road and 16th Avenue. Shopping heaven is here in Unionville!
Parks & Recreation
There are some beautiful parks and trails in Unionville and lots to entertain! Here is a list of the parks and trails:
- George Coathup Park – grassy areas with walking paths circling around them, park benches
- Millenium Park – Children’s playground, splash pad, grassy areas, landscaped gardens
- Markham Civic Centre – Skating rink, children’s playground, soccer fields, running track, grassy areas, pond, walking paths
- Coledale Park – Children’s playground, grassy areas, walking paths, baseball diamond
- Montrose Woods – small wooded natural area
- Leighland Park – Children’s playground, basketball court, grassy areas, walking paths
- Briarwood Park – Children’s playground, large grassy areas
- Carlton Park – Baseball diamond, soccer field, grassy areas, children’s playground.
- Toogood Pond Park – natural area with large pond and walking trails through wooded areas
- Village Park Baseball diamond, soccer fields, grassy areas
- Toogood Park Children’s playground, grassy areas, tennis courts
- Ferrah Park – wooded area with walking paths
- Crosby Park – Baseball diamond, soccer field, children’s playground
- Tony Murphy Park – Grassy areas, natural wooded areas with trails, pond with fountain
- Bruce’s Creek Park – Natural area mostly wooded with walking trails along the creek that lead to other parks
- Austin Drive Park – Natural area mostly wooded with walking trails along the river and around a pond that lead to other parks
- Quantztown Park – Natural area with pond and a trail, children’s playground, grassy areas, soccer field
- Monarch Park – Natural wooded area, grassy areas, walking trails, soccer field, baseball diamond
There is a community centre in Unionville – Crosby Community Centre, which has an ice rink arena, a community hall and a meeting room available to rent for community events. There is a pretty library located next to Tony Murphy Park which has public access to computers and meeting rooms. For fitness centres and gymnasium facilities, Markham Centennial Community Centre is nearby.
Schools in Unionville Community
There are 4 public elementary schools and a high school in this neighbourhood. All are highly regarded. For more information on schools in Unionville, click here for a Complete Guide to Schools in Markham.
Unionville’s heritage is the main attraction in this neighbourhood and this brings visitors from all over the world. But people dream about living here not just because it’s so darn charming, but also because it offers so many amenities! There are a ton of beautiful trails and parks to visit, clubs to join, places to shop. The schools are great, and it is so accessible to downtown Toronto and the rest of Markham. Pride of ownership is evident here and there is a sense of community which why it is such a great place to live!