Wedding in Markham
Markham (2006 Population 261,573) is located in York Region, directly north of Toronto, and is part of Toronto's CMA. It is larger than many Canadian cities. Despite its qualifications regarding population, it has not had the title of city conferred upon it by the province, and retains its legal status as a town. Markham is part of the Greater Toronto Area, and is one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada.
Markham is bounded by 5 municipalities: To the west, the town is bounded by Vaughan (boundary is at Yonge Street between Steeles Avenue and Highway 7), and Richmond Hill (boundary is at Highway 7 from Yonge Street to Highway 404 and at Highway 404 from Highway 7 to somewhere between 19th Avenue and Stouffville Road). To the south, Markham is bounded by the City of Toronto (boundary is at Steeles Avenue). To the north, it is bounded by the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville (boundary is from Highway 404 to York-Durham line somewhere between 19th Avenue and Stouffville Road). And to the east, Markham is bounded by the City of Pickering at York-Durham Line.
The Markham Town Council consists of the Mayor, four Regional Councillors and eight Ward Councillors each representing one of the town's eight wards (The Mayor-elect of Markham is Frank Scarpitti - replacing outgoing Donald Cousens, former PC MPP for Markham and Presbyterian church minister). The Mayor and four Regional Councillors are elected by the community to represent the Town of Markham at the regional level.
The members of Council, called Councillors, are elected by the municipality's voters. Councillors are paid by the municipality for their services, but in many municipalities, members of Council usually serve part-time and work at other jobs as well.
The current members of council were elected by the residents to a four-year term of office, in accordance with standards set by the Province. The selection of members for the offices of Mayor and Regional Councillors are made town-wide, while Ward Councillors are elected by individual ward.
There is a desire by the Town to control urban sprawl by requesting higher density for new development. The town plan calls for more growth along Highway 7 and less towards the farm land to the North. A similar development in Cornell promotes the need for services to be closer to residences.
Linked to the concern of urban growth, Markham through York Region Transit (YRT) has implemented a new transit system called Viva to ease the strain on the region's congested roads. Viva is similar to YRT but is used as an express bus service with the ability to alter immediate traffic signals so it will not be late. The YRT is also planning to build a transit terminal somewhere near Cornell soon. Even the relatively new Highway 407 and the widening of other roads have not led to decreased traffic, but have instead encouraged residents to continue to drive.
In the 19th century, Markham was a vibrant, independent community with distilleries and breweries around the Highway 7 and 48 intersection. The Speight Wagon Works exported products around the world, and it was said that Markham was more active than York (former name for Toronto) was early on.
Today, it claims to be Canada's Hi-Tech Capital with a number of key companies in the area, such as IBM, Motorola, Lucent, Apple, and is home to the head office of graphics card producer ATI.
Markham also maintains economic and cultural cooperation agreements with the city of Laval, Quebec (which is the second largest city of the Greater Montreal Area and has a very high financial profile).