Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

Newmarket

History of Newmarket

Newmarket’s history dates back to 1801, when a man by the name of Timothy Rogers led several Quaker families from Vermont and Pennsylvania to their new home in Canada. One of these settlers was Joseph Hill, who built a mill, and established a trading post on the Holland River. Hill is also credited with having built the first house, and the first store in Newmarket.

In the 1830s, Newmarket was considered “rebel country”, as some of its citizens were key players in the uprising against the Family Compact, that was governing Upper Canada during this time. The settlers, frustrated that their grievances were not being heard, where led by former Toronto Mayor and newspaper publisher, William Lyon Mackenzie. The rebellion – which had sympathizers from rural towns and villages across Ontario – reached its zenith in December 1837, when the rebels marched into Toronto and were defeated. Samuel Lount of Newmarket, and Peter Matthews of Pickering were hung for their part in the rebellion.

The name “Newmarket” originated from a popular farmers market that was held every Saturday. This upstart “New Market” was said to rival the “Old Market”, which was the St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto. In 1852 the Huron & Simcoe Railway reached Newmarket, creating boom times and tremendous growth, that led to Newmarket’s incorporation as a village in 1857, and subsequent incorporation as a town in 1880. One of Newmarkets leading merchants during this time was Robert Simpson, the founder of the legendary Simpsons department store chain.

Newmarkets most dramatic period of growth occurred between the 1950s and 70s, when its population more than doubled. This boom period was highlighted by the grand opening of the Upper Canada Mall at Yonge Street and Davis Drive which was the impetus for the development of Newmarket’s Yonge Street corridor.

 

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