Author: George Duncan

Public health pioneer born in Markham Township

In early twentieth-century Toronto, living conditions in the growing city had not improved much from their state in the late Victorian period. Working-class neighbourhoods depicted in the house paintings of Lawren Harris make these scenes seem picturesque to us today, but the reality behind these images was often much different. Dense urban places like the Ward were full of squalor and poverty. The absence of sanitary conditions led to illness and early death for many. Doctor Charles Hastings, the City of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health from 1910 to 1929, was a pioneer in bringing in significant initiatives to...

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Public health pioneer was born in Markham Township

  In early twentieth-century Toronto, living conditions in the growing city had not improved much from their state in the late Victorian period. Working-class neighbourhoods depicted in the house paintings of Lawren Harris make these scenes seem picturesque to us today, but the reality behind these images was often much different. Dense urban places like the Ward were full of squalor and poverty. The absence of sanitary conditions led to illness and early death for many. Doctor Charles Hastings, the City of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health from 1910 to 1929, was a pioneer in bringing in significant initiatives...

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Derive joy from learning about Mount Joy

One of Markham’s most historic streets is found in the north part of old Markham Village, in a neighbourhood known as Mount Joy. At one time, Mount Joy was a separate village, with its own post office and local administration. Peter Street, one street west of Main Street, was created in 1891. Mount Joy’s story begins with the Ramer family, Pennsylvania German Mennonites that came to Markham Township in the early 1800s. The Ramers, among many other Pennsylvania-German families, left their homes in search of fertile farmland, as much of the land in their communities had long been settled,...

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Family business left local pottery legacy

Artisan products traditionally appeal to people who are tired of the mass-produced items that serve the mass market of consumers. These products – whether they be solid wood furniture, specialty cheeses or craft beers – are made in smaller quantities with quality materials or ingredients and in designs or flavours different from the standardized selections more easily and cheaply available. In the 19th century, in a rural area like Markham Township, artisan products were nothing special – they were the norm for farming families in need of items they could not easily make themselves. Almost every village and hamlet...

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Old apple trees clue to forgotten history

The landscape is always changing. Forests turn to farms, farms turn to suburbs, and suburbs become cities. Change can be drastic and complete, like when open land is built over with a large commercial development, and all traces of the past are erased. Other times, change occurs gradually, removing features of the landscape piece by piece until a place is utterly transformed. A pair of old apple trees on the north side of Highway 7, a little east of Warden Avenue, are part of a rural landscape that has been slowly transitioning for a number of years. These trees...

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  1. Markham Museum

    November 5, 2017 - December 31, 2018

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