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By: Zdenko Kahlina
Welcome to the Unionville (Markham, Ontario)
While I was in Toronto on a business trip few weeks ago, one day I had few extra hours to do my own thing and was thinking what should I do?
I had only couple of hours for that, so I couldn’t go anywhere far away from Markham. All I had was a tourist map/guide of Toronto, where I quickly spotted an area near by, marked as “Historic Unionville”.
Unionville’s Welcome Sign
From Richmond Hill on Highway 7, Unionville is only about 5 minutes drive. I made a left turn into the old town and immediately felt like being on another planet. I was away from the hectic traffic and all the craziness of the big city like Toronto.
Big tourist attraction: Main Street in Unionville
Unionville is a very pretty area, close to Markham, with a nice mix of boutiques, a few antique stores and number of restaurants, all on their Main street. I heard that Unionville is especially lovely in the fall, when the leaves are changing.
Typical Unionville house
Unionville Trading post
Unionville – which is a very pleasant and very walkable little area – finds itself in the middle of the suburbs, where things are further apart than they seem. It’s 3 km (35 minutes at typical walking speed) from Centennial GO station to where the Unionville shopping strip starts (Main Street Unionville & Station Lane), and most of that walk is along Highway 7.
Main Street Unionville
Boutique shops on the Main Street
Off of the Main Street
Unionville is a suburban community in Markham, Ontario, Canada. It is located 33 km northeast of downtown Toronto and 4 km east of southern Richmond Hill. Unionville is comprised by the neighborhoods alongside Major MacKenzie Dr. as the Northern limit, Highway 407 as the Southern limit, the neighborhoods alongside McCowan Rd. as the Eastern limit, and the neighborhoods alongside Woodbine Ave. as the Western limit. Main Street, which was Kennedy Road in the mid to late 20th century, runs through Unionville while the new Kennedy runs 300 m to the east.
Restaurants are lined up on the Main Street
Patio seating on the Main Street
Fire hall turned into restaurant
Stylish Country Inn restaurant
The population of Unionville is presently about 30,000. Unionville is said to be one of the most affluent areas in the Greater Toronto Area with an average household income of $127,900. Rouge River runs north of the central part of Unionville and to the southeast. The highway (Highway 404) is to the west, the nearest interchange with the 407 ETR is 2 km south on Kennedy Rd. The population lives in almost all parts of Unionville except for the south central industrialized area. The railway line which links the area to Toronto via GO Train Service once ran as far as Lindsay, a town near Peterborough.
Beautiful church in Unionville
One of the colorful stores on the Main Street
Tourism is a major part of Unionville’s economy. The historic village or downtown section of Unionville is typical of a small town that developed over a century or so starting in the early 1840s (when Ira White erected his Union Mills) through the middle to late 20th century. The historic Main Street Unionville attracts thousands of visitors each year – as of 2006 it boasted 9 restaurants, including 3 pubs. Main Street (originally the laneway from the village’s first grist mill) also has a number of “century homes” dating back to the 1800s. Each year, thousands visit Unionville during the Unionville Festival.
Main Street Unionville
Shoe store in Unionville
The old Planning Mill in Unionville
The main street has been used as a stand-in for fictional Connecticut town Stars Hollow during the first season of The WB’s (now The CW) Gilmore Girls television show, as well as other television and movie backdrops.
Most of the historic buildings in Unionville are included in List of historic buildings in Markham, Ontario.
Toogood Pond, Unionville
Unionville Millennium bandstand
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