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Markham - never a dull moment

© By Tanya Miller
  As high-tech capital of Canada, Markham is a nucleus of activity, but the right place for a relaxing yet complete schedule. No matter the season, there's something to do or see. Located just outside of Toronto, it's easily accessible by major expressways. This booming town is comprised of smaller communities - Buttonville, Thornhill, Unionville, Milliken, Cornell and Box Grove - and continues to expand. A population of 200,000 recorded in 2001 has increased by 25 per cent at last count.
     Although farmlands are becoming sparse, most heritage sites and monuments remain open to the public. Markham's history reflects charm and cosiness: visit the local museum; stroll down Main Street; satisfy your artistic appetite at the art gallery; feast on fresh fruit, vegetables and baked goods at the Reesor Farm Market; or roam about the parks and trails.
     Markham Museum at Markham Road (Hwy. 48) and 16th Avenue, celebrates diversity, traditions and creativity, while promoting education year round. Regular admission fees - never more than $6.00 per person - usually apply to family-oriented events and popular exhibits, but occasionally, entry is gratis. The museum enjoys its largest turnout during autumn, with an annual wine-tasting fundraiser, the much-loved Applefest and the Haunted Halloween guide.


     Main Street Markham boasts little cafes, restaurants, specialty stores, and businesses cater to locals with a smile. Sunday pancake breakfast at Uncle Joe's, lunch breaks at the T & T Bakery, to-die-for chocolate and cappuccinos at The Mug & Truffle Chocolate Cafe, three-day weekends at The Duchess pub! It is hard to restrict oneself to window shopping as prices are reasonable, often irresistible. (There is speculation that a plot was conceived to station the three central banks a hop, skip and a jump away.) Main Street Markham is also the venue for the Farmers' Market, Art in the Parkette and the Auto Classic - all seasonal staples. Its four lanes are closed off temporarily to operate as a walk-only area. To beat the winter blues, it transforms itself into the Festival of Lights. The street performances, hot cocoa and cider, games and barn animals leave children no choice but to glow as brightly as Markham Village, illuminated by decorative lighting and displays.
    
             

     The Jazz Festival arrives between spring fever and summer vacation; talented and aspiring musicians create a lively and harmonic atmosphere, conveniently staged on rotating pub patios.
     For evening entertainment, the Markham Theatre of Performing Arts - across the street from the Hilton Suites - always produces a rewarding array of shows and productions. Markham Theatre occasionally features students of dance, music, visual art or drama from its neighbouring high school arts program, but mostly, it's professional acts and Canadian artists who grace the billboard.
     The Pacific Mall on Steeles Avenue East, with two extensive floors of boutiques ranging from automotive needs to fashion to karaoke to pharmaceuticals, the Pacific Mall is renowned for offering musical and movie selections well in advance of competitors. When scouring for bargains, the Pacific Mall is the place to go. Bordering restaurants will fuel a second round of shopping or set the tone for an evening to wind down.
     Moments away from overnight accommodations, there are several options but two exceptional hotels: the Delta Markham on East Valhalla Drive and the Hilton Suites Conference Centre & Spa on Warden Avenue. The Hilton Suites includes the usual fine treatment and complimentary features; the Delta has more character. Formerly a Sheraton Hotels & Resort establishment, the current owners attempted to revamp their services, but soon discovered that their customers were loyal because of the highly anticipated weekend brunch, the economical fitness membership deals and the exclusive privileges for returning business travellers.
     Markham, a place where there is always something to do!

Tanya Miller is a native of Markham, ON, but moved to Ottawa to pursue her passion for writing (and travel) in the journalism program at Carleton University. She is very active in the community and uses her interests in science, the arts, sports and politics to her advantage when reporting on an array of topics. Such pieces have been featured in One80 Youth Newspaper, VoX, The Charlatan and Centretown News.

Photo Credits
Tanya Miller: The Duchess Pub, T & T Bakery, View of Main St., The Mug & Truffle Chocolate Café, The Old Curiosity Tea Shop, Markham Museum

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Tourism Markham: http://www.tourismmarkham.ca/
Markham Museum: http://www.markham.ca/Markham/Attractions/Museum/
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Markham

What's happening, money, distance, time?
Media Guide: http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
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Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
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Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/


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