Markham Heritage Estates
Between 1981 and 1988, over forty structures which were listed in the Markham Inventory of Historic Buildings were demolished. Some of these structures were deemed not to be of sufficient historical merit to be retained on site. However, there were a number of structures of significant heritage merit that could not be retained on site due to incompatible development, road widening and new highways. While some interest was shown in relocating these structures for continued use as residences, the associated costs of acquiring a lot in the Markham area and relocating the structure were considered prohibitive.
The Town of Markham requires that every effort be made to preserve heritage buildings on the sites where they were originally constructed. However, the Town has recognized that situations may arise from time to time where the objectives of on-site conservation cannot be achieved. To retain significant residential heritage buildings which are under serious threat of loss, in 1988 the Town has created an innovative heritage conservation measure of last resort called “MARKHAM HERITAGE ESTATES”.
The Heritage Estates Concept
Markham Heritage Estates is a “heritage subdivision” specially designed to accommodate relocated heritage structures in a residential setting. A 7-hectare parcel of land near Highway #48 and 16th Avenue in Markham was acquired by the Town in the late 1980s for Markham Heritage Estates. This unique community can accommodate up to 43 heritage structures which would otherwise be threatened with demolition.
Markham Heritage Estates was developed by the Town, and the lots are sold below market value. The amount saved on the price of a lot provides the incentive for purchasers to relocate and restore these buildings. As the buildings can usually be purchased for a nominal fee, the cost of relocating and restoring a heritage structure can compete with the cost of a modern home.
The development features paved, fully services interior roads and an arrangement of lots that have no historical allusions or pretensions, but that provide a sense of space which these primarily rural dwellings had in their original locations. Fire hydrants and light standards were selected to complement the heritage building stock.
The buildings relocated to Markham Heritage Estates are restored to their original condition and any new additions are usually located to the rear and are compatible with the character of the heritage dwelling. Garages are detached and placed to the rear of the property. Landscape enhancement is a crucial aspect in the establishment of a suitable heritage environment for each relocated building. Front yard landscape plans attempt to re-establish significant documented landscape features formerly associated with each building or attempt to introduce typical Markham landscape features which are judged to be appropriate to the building’s style and period of construction.
For More Information
Click the button to the right to download a complete PDF from the City of Markham outlining details on Markham Heritage Estates, and the process required to relocate and rebuild a heritage home in this community.