Downtown Markham, Ontario
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The skyline of Downtown Markham, as of May 2015
|Motto: the Place To BE|
|• Total||0.98 km2 (0.38 sq mi)|
|Based on data for census tract 5350401.18|
|Time zone||Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)|
|Canadian postal codes||L6G|
|Area code(s)||905, 289|
Downtown Markham is the central business district of Markham, Ontario, Canada currently being developed. It is located within Markham Centre and Unionville and is proposed to serve as the heart of Markham. Businesses in the district are expected to employ as many as 16,000 individuals, and it may house as many as 10,000 residents. The development will have a high density of residential, retail, commercial and mixed-use structures. The community is being developed, built and wholly financed by The Remington Group Inc.
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Downtown Markham is a planned urban hub and the largest planned mixed-use development in Canada. The development spans 243 acres and is situated in one of the fastest growing regions in the province. It will be the commercial & financial district within Unionville at the center of the city of Markham, and will consist of a mix of residential, office and retail uses.
Two million square feet of retail space will include international retailers, local shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. Downtown Markham will also offer more than 3.4 million square feet of office space in a commercial district adjacent to Highway 407.
The vibrant urban centre is being designed and developed following sustainable guidelines, including energy efficient power sources and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified residential and commercial projects. Aside from allowing greater density, the development also enjoys 72 acres of natural and landscaped green space, improved walkability and easy access to public transit, including Viva Rapid Transit and GO Transit.
On the other hand, Markham Centre or Unionville refers to a broader area. Markham Centre is bounded north to Apple Creek Boulevard / Carlton Road, east to Kennedy Road, west to Rodick Road, and south to 14th Avenue.
The City of Markham is a 1971 fusion of three historic villages: Thornhill, Unionville and Markham Village. Each had its own main street, but there was no single downtown / Central business district for Markham as a whole.
The area south of Unionville to the east of Warden Avenue was frozen for development by the province during the planning and construction of express toll road Highway 407. In fall 2000, a plan was approved to develop the area with higher commercial density.
The Town of Markham has approved the plan, according to Markham's former mayor, Donald Cousens. The community situated in Unionville was planned to be self-sustained and transit-oriented based on smart growth development. Construction began in 2005, when Enterprise Drive was completed.
Aviva Canada built its second Canadian headquarters on Birchmount Road and a new Cineplex theatre opened on April 4, 2015. It provides a bigger space to include a few VIP theatres, a new gaming corner and much higher capacity than the old Cineplex theatre at First Markham Place.
The Marriot hotel and the York condo is now under construction on the corner of Enterprise Drive and Birchmount Road.
Downtown Markham located in the City of Markham's Unionville Village is using a development strategy named smart growth. The community will try to limit urban sprawl by creating a denser urban centre. The urban centre is planned to be a transit-oriented community, with everything close by and fully transit dependent. In addition, the community was also planned to have be environmentally sustainable as well.
The community was planned by the City of Markham, in co-operation with The Remington Group. The Remington Group is mainly in charge of constructing most of the structures across this new community.
According to the plan approved by the city council, the community will contain residential condos and townhouses, commercial, and retail buildings. Some of these structures have already begun construction. Updates as to what is built is underway.
Downtown Markham in Unionville has been nominated as the country's largest mixed-used development, as well as North America's largest LEED (leadership-in-energy-and-environmental-design) registered development.
York Regional Roads
Bus Rapid Transit
The community is served by the Warden, Enterprise and Unionville stops on the VIVA bus rapid transit system. Warden and Enterprise are served by three lines: Viva Purple, Viva Green, and Viva Pink, while Unionville Station is only served by Viva Pink. As of 2011, Viva Purple is the only line with all-day service, the other lines operate only during rush hour. It is scheduled that when Downtown Markham is fully functional and occupied, Viva Green will return to full service. The community is anticipated to be highly dependent on these transit routes, as part of the planned smart growth.
Other bus routes that serve the area include:
- TTC 68 Warden
- YRT 8 Kennedy
- YRT 1 Highway 7
The community reserves 72 acres (290,000 m2) as a natural reserve, which includes an ecologically sensitive area, Rouge River.
There are two recreational facilities in Downtown Markham:
- Markham Pan Am Centre was built for 2015 Pan American Games and became a city-owned facility after completion of the games in September 2015
- Markham YMCA Rudy Bratty Centre was completed in 2006 and upgraded in 2008; featuring two pools and other fitness facilities for YMCA members
- "Statistics Canada 2011 Census Tract Profile for CT 5350401.18". 2011. Retrieved 2015-07-06.
- "Downtown Markham:About". 2006. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- This census track includes some area that are not considered as part of Downtown Markham, though this "extra" area is largely uninhabited and are mostly of industrial lands.
- Guelph Civic League. "Downtown Markham Makeover". Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- The Toronto Star (2007-08-11). "Digging for an elusive dream". The Star. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- Remington Group, and the Town of Markham (March 2006). "Downtown Markham Facts at a glance" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- 100 Thousand Club. "New York. Paris. London. Toronto?" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-06-16.