Why moving to Markham is a great idea!
If you are moving to Markham, this guide tells you all you need to know about the neighbourhoods, population, demographics, weather, Markham City Council, jobs, restaurants, schools, Markham Library, the hospital and healthcare, parks and recreation, the fairgrounds, utilities and service, real estate and commuting from downtown.
The area now referred to as Markham began welcoming European settlers around the 1790s. It rapidly changed from an agricultural community and flourished into an industrialized municipality. The population spread from Scarborough and immigration worldwide has made it a diverse, engaging city. It became known as the town of Markham in 1971 and then officially changed status from town to city in 2012. It is now one of the most popular areas in the Greater Toronto Area. And its popularity is growing daily.
In 2020, the city population was over 355,000, making it the largest of all the cities in the York region. Additionally, it is also Ontario’s seventh most populous city. By 2031 the population will reach around 420,000 – Moving to Markham is becoming a trend, and we can recommend becoming a resident of our beautiful and vibrant city.
Markham calls itself ‘Canada’s most diverse city’ – which is why everyone feels right at home! The diversity of nationality in Markham is evident in the languages we hear. 39% of people speak Chinese, 36% English and 11% speak a South Asian language. The city seems to attract families with children as a large percentage of the population falls between the 20 – 59 age group. Markham boasts many university graduates – 36% of the population have a university degree, and 21% have some trade or college qualification.
In Markham, the climate benefits from being relatively close to Lake Ontario. We have hot summers. Winters are dry and freezing; however, temperatures are tempered by the lake and do not usually go above 31C in the summer or below -20C in the winter. What we like about this climate are the four defined seasons that mark the passing of the year. Springs and falls are usually quite short-lived, but we still appreciate them just the same!
Markham is largely conservative in its leanings and currently has a Conservative MP. The city’s Mayor Frank Scarpitti is extremely popular and has been in office in various roles for 30 years. In 2006, Frank was elected as mayor with 85% of the vote, and in 2014 he was re-elected with nearly 71% of the vote. The city has a huge 10-year plan in place, investing in attracting growth sectors like IT, financial services, and engineering (to name but a few). Markham also has associations with businesses in Asia, the USA, and Europe that attract investment and helps Markham businesses grow and flourish.
Jobs in Markham
There are around 10,400 companies here in the city, and more than 400 Canadian head offices are located here. There are more than 1,000 technology and life sciences companies, and they alone employ 37,000 people – more than a fifth of the total workforce. Top employers include Markham Stouffville Hospital, IBM Canada, Johnson & Johnson, TD Financial, and Honda Canada. There are also lots of small businesses in Markham, and for entrepreneurs moving to Markham, there is a lot of support to help them along the way. The Markham Convergence Centre is testimony to the importance of small business in Markham. Anyone who wants to grow their business can use the many organisations that offer support and funding.
Commuting from Markham
If you work in downtown Toronto, Markham has excellent links to the downtown core. There are five GO train stations – Markham Village, Unionville, Mount Joy, Centennial and Milliken – transport times by train are between 30 and 40 mins. Alternatively, Markham sits between the 401 and the 407 and is bordered on the west by the north/south artery 404. Depending on the traffic, it usually takes around 30 mins to drive downtown on average. If you love getting away over the weekend, it is easy to get to Lake Simcoe, up to Muskoka or the Kawarthas.
Markham Hospital & Ontario Health Team
Markham Stouffville Hospital opened in 1990 and assists 435,000 people each year. It is one of Ontario’s leading hospitals and offers emergency services and clinical care in medicine, mental health, maternity, and children’s services. It is also is part of the Eastern York Region North Durham Ontario Health Team! It’s a huge organisation – employing 526 doctors, 28 midwives, 2,400 staff, and over a thousand volunteers. There are two sites, the Markham site, which is located on Church St and Ninth Line, and in Uxbridge on Campbell Drive.
The Ontario Health Team is a partnership that oversees the administration and delivery of healthcare in the region, including the hospitals, GP and mental health clinics, community care and care homes. They are a one-stop-shop to help people access transportation to access care, social and counselling services, meals on wheels, grocery and pharmacy pick-up, and deliveries. They are at the forefront of administering Covid-19 vaccinations.
Markham has a huge amount to offer if you want to eat out, get a takeaway, have coffee, cool off with an ice-cream, pick up some freshly made bagels or drink a smoothie!
There are too many to mention for just one blog – keep an eye on our restaurant section on the Explore Markham website, but these are our top picks for eating in restaurants in the area, and all have delivery and pick up options:
Pizza: Slice of Fire
Italian: Il Postino
One of the events that Markham is famous for is the Markham Fair. The fair has been an annual occasion since 1844, run by the Markham and East York Agricultural Society. Therefore, it attracts around 80,000 people over a weekend. Visitors can visit 3,000 exhibitors and look at more than 12,000 items! The fairgrounds, located just north of the city, host other events, conferences and shows throughout the year.
Markham Parks & Recreation
Markham’s recreation facilities are astonishing. There are 211 parks, 151 km of trails, and 12 bridges providing for walkers, runners and cyclists. You will find ravines, valleys, meadows, woods and ponds to enjoy and even a Shinrin Yoku (or Forest Bathing) programme! There is a plethora of community centres, hubs for culture and sports amenities. Markham has a museum, a theatre, arts centres and galleries, 4 heritage villages, 10 ice arenas and 9 golf courses! Other sports loom large in Markham. The Pan Am Centre was built for the 2015 Pan Am games. It has world-class facilities for swimming, badminton, volleyball and basketball. It is one of many centres that offer sports facilities in the area.
Markham Library has 8 branches citywide, and every branch is housed in great buildings! Some are purpose-built, some inside community centres, and one is housed in a traditional building constructed in 1851. Markham Library members have access to all the material in the system. An extensive online library of e-books, 3D printers, internet access, and free wifi are all yours for borrowing. The system is very efficient if you don’t want to travel around. For example, if your nearest library doesn’t stock the book you want, you can request to have it delivered there. It’s an amazing service!
There are 47 elementary schools in the city in the public sector, 9 high schools, and 8 community colleges. As they advance, your kids can choose one of 7 universities within a one-hour drive! There are 12 private schools in the private sector that range from JK to Grade 12. Education in Markham is easy to access! Don’t forget to click on our school section to find out more about Markham schools, how they rank against other schools in Ontario and more! Finding a school for your child just got much easier.
There are 26 different neighbourhoods in the city. All have a different feel and character to them! See our in-depth neighbourhood guides to find out more about them and take the guesswork out of moving to Markham.
Markham Utilities & Services
The average monthly cost for Markham’s utilities for an average apartment is $142. Internet typically costs around $63 a month. For detached houses, the cost is higher, and for a small detached home, utilities are typically around $250-300 a month. Popular providers are Enbridge Gas, Alectra, and Reliance.
The city has a very modern water distribution system – the water is safe to drink from the tap. There are helpful guides on the city website to help with any questions you have about your water supply and how to deal with any problems arising or help you locate any supply pipes if you need to dig on your property.
The recycling programme and garbage collection schedule are available here, and there is a clear guide on what you can recycle and how to do it.
Emergency services here are excellent – there are 9 fire stations, 10 paramedic response stations and a large police headquarters. For non-emergency telephone numbers, see here. There is provision for cyclists (see here for a cycling map) and great public transport on buses via York Region Transit.
Markham Real Estate
Average home prices range from $551K for a 1-bed condo to around 2.7m for 3- bedroom detached house. There has been a recent trend of migration of people from downtown Toronto moving to Markham, which has pushed prices up; we feel that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future! Types of homes here depend on the area. Some neighbourhoods have very traditional homes with mature tree-lined avenues. There are some which are new build communities with some very modern designs. And everything in between! There is a surprising range of homes for sale here – something for everyone. Due to Markham’s increasing popularity, most of the homes sold here are on the market for less than a week.
Real estate agents (together with finance and insurance) account for 13% of Markham’s labour force. Simply put, it’s a popular career. Therefore, there are many agents to choose from (my humble self included, of course!).
We strongly recommend using a real estate agent if you are moving to Markham. It’s a free service; they represent only your best interests. They have all kinds of expertise in the area to help you find a location that suits you perfectly. An agent will sort through all the listings and help you with getting pre-approved for a mortgage. They are expert negotiators and help you make your offer irresistible to a seller! They will also assist with getting home inspections and tying up loose ends so that the journey from finding a place to moving in will be as smooth for you as possible. In short, they get you what you want.
Have we convinced you that moving to Markham is an amazing idea yet?
Moving to Markham has never been more attractive than right now! For example, jobs are increasing, the city is full of things to do, restaurants to visit, and culture to discover. The quality of life is enhanced by great schools, recreation facilities, amenities, and communities to suit your family. I can personally recommend it as a great place to bring up a family or start a business!