Toronto is known for its amazing quality of life. It’s one of the top-rated cities to live in globally, and for good reason! From the endless amount of things to do and explore to the fact that it’s been named Canada’s safest city, any Torontonian can attest that living in the 6ix is the best. But what if we told you that there was actually a whole bustlin’ world happening outside of Toronto’s downtown core in its suburbs – would you believe us?
Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Toronto lies Markham, a diverse community that over 350,000 people call home. If you needed a picture painted of how close it is to Toronto, you can rest easy knowing that Yonge Street reaches into its limits – it’s practically like still being in the city, but with less traffic and more serenity. It’s been around since the 1790s, but things have changed drastically since its founding date. Today, it’s an arts and culture hub with a slew of local restaurants, tons of sites to explore, and various activities for the outdoorsy among us.
So, what else makes Markham a place worth discovering? Well, here are eight underrated spots you should check out!
1. Public Art
If you’re at all interested in public art, Markham is definitely the place for you. Its public art is proudly displayed throughout the community, and is a reflection of the city’s vibrant, diverse spirit. Take a stroll through the streets of Markham and you’ll come across so many public paintings and sculptures that you’ll wonder why you’ve never visited before. And if you're into architectural gems that look like their own public art pieces, places like the gorgeous Cathedral of the Transfiguration are a must!
2. Parks & Trails
Calling all nature lovers! If there’s one thing Markham has an abundance of, it’s natural beauty. There are over 22 kms of scenic pathways to explore, with plenty of stunning ravines, valleys, and natural, unmanicured spaces for you to enjoy. Whether you’re up for a trail hike or you’re looking to take a long leisurely walk around town, traveling by foot is the preferred mode of transportation in Markham.
If you’re more into park hangs, there are plenty of green open spaces that can accommodate an idyllic Saturday picnic. Oh, and they’re super pet-friendly, too. Feel free to bring your furry friend with you; they even have a dog park!
3. Amazing Designs – That You Can Call Home
Now that we’ve got your attention, it’s time to imagine what it would be like to actually live in Markham permanently. Some of the homes in this Toronto borough are beyond dreamy, with details that you would find flipping through an issue of Architectural Digest.
Without a doubt, 29 Hollylane Drive is one home in particular that deserves an outstanding mention. It’s currently owned by a renowned interior designer, meaning that it’s been decorated with an expert’s eye and is stylish and à la mode in every way. It’s also equipped with top-of-the-line detailing, renovations, amenities, and more throughout its 3,172 sq. ft space. And it’s currently for sale!
A modern 3-floor palace, this home features a family room, dining room, living room, powder room, mudroom, and kitchen – and that’s only the main floor. Upstairs, you’ll find 4 bedrooms (including a master bedroom), and 2 bathrooms. If you take the stairs one level higher, you’ll discover the gorgeous loft area, complete with its own bathroom, custom built-in closets, and skylight. It also has a basement complete with a bar and wine fridge. Because you can’t forget the essentials.
This stunning house is also in a prime location: 29 Hollylane Drive is perfectly located near Pierre Trudeau High School, the CF Markville shopping centre, and the Mount Train GO Station, in case you wanted to visit it from the city. Curious to see more of it? Check it out here.
4. Splash pads and Petting Zoos: A Kid’s Paradise
Whether you have kids or not, the fact that this city is highly applauded for being a family-friendly place is definitely something worth noting. Living in a kid-friendly place means that your neighborhood is a safe space, and you can’t quite put a price on peace of mind.
In terms of activities for kids, Markham’s got plenty of them. Whether your little ones (or younger siblings, nieces, nephews, etc.) are interested in playing in the park (they’ve got splash pads!), enrolling in a summer camp, joining a recreational sports league, or more, there’s something to keep kiddos busy, engaged, and entertained year round!
If you’re looking for a fun family-day outing, we recommend checking out Lionel’s Farm. It’s a family-owned petting zoo with all of your favourite farm animals eager to meet you, and it’s only a 15-minute drive from central Markham!
5. Mouthwatering Restaurants
Now we’re talkin’. Arguably Markham’s most underrated element is its unbelievable culinary scene. There’s something to please every type of foodie in Markham, featuring specialized restaurants offering dishes from Asian delicacies to American classics. We highly recommend checking out Kiku Japanese Cuisine for the best sushi in town, or Ithaca Restaurant if you’re craving irresistible souvlaki and other Mediterranean dishes.
Of course, there are plenty more to choose from – you’ll just have to discover them for yourself!
6. Varley Art Gallery
We’ve already covered public art, now it’s time to talk about Markham’s impressive collection of fine art. The Varley Art Gallery, named after an original member of the Group of Seven (Frederick Horsman Varley) is a cultural centre that welcomes rotating and permanent art exhibitions to its space. Since its opening in 1997, it’s become a hot spot for local artists with the goal of creating a conversation about the Canadian art landscape.
7. Treetop Trekking
Not into perusing the halls of a museum? Why don’t you head over to Treetop Trekking, the first of 10 outdoor adventure parks in Canada where you can buckle up and zipline through the forest or trek through the trees. Whether you visit Treetop Trekking with friends, family, or even for a corporate team-building event, you’re bound to have an amazing time! It’s just a 15-minute drive from downtown Markham, making it a super convenient day activity.
8. Flato Markham Theatre
To experience the finest of Markham’s culture, you have to visit the Flato Markham Theatre. They’re constantly bringing new shows and acts to the stage, with performances ranging from Broadway, comedy, Canadian rock legends (like April Wine), orchestras, and tons more. If you’re an avid theatre goer, you can opt for a season pass and spend your soirées among other fellow theatre connoisseurs.
What’re you waiting for? Markham is the ultimate place to visit and explore this summer. Or, if you’re looking for a change of pace, it’s also the perfect place to live. Check out 29 Hollylane Drive’s listing one more time – we have a feeling this could be the home for you!