About Historic Main Street

Newmarket, Ontario

What do you see in this space? How do people in the community enjoy it?

  • Dating to 1801, the Town grew as a market town
  • Newmarket established its own Main Street as opposed to developing along Yonge Street. The development of a separate Main Street allowed the heart of the community to grow in a more serene and peaceful setting
  • Historic Main Street is bookended by Davis Drive in the north and Water Street in the south
  • Water Street hosts a picturesque waterfall at the foot of Main Street which flows from Fairy Lake, marking the location where Newmarket was settled in 1801 by Timothy Rogers (ancestor of Ted Rogers of Rogers Communications fame)
  • Acknowledging this abundance of heritage, Main Street became a Heritage Conservation District in 2013
  • Main Street’s charm has caught the attention of Hollywood movie producers, and has been portrayed as small-town USA in: Repo Men (2010), Dream House (2011), The Vow (2012), Carrie (2012) and Regression (2013).

Events and Festivals:

  • Kanata (Canada Day) Festival – July 1
  • Weekly Farmers Market – Saturday mornings
  • Monster Bash – October 29
  • Candle Light Parade & Tree Lighting – November 18
  • Santa Clause Parade – November 19
  • Winterfest – February 6-7

Economic and Retail Activities:

  • The street is lined with shops on the east and west side
  • Numerous restaurants, including seasonal sidewalk patios
  • The street successfully provides many of the daily needs of local residents while also attracting visitors from other parts of the Greater Toronto Area
  • A weekly Farmers Market attracts 2,100 shoppers per week, or 55,000 shoppers per season and is held every Saturday from early Spring to late Fall at Riverwalk Commons (a newly built public plaza)

Historic or Heritage Features:

  • William Lyon Mackenzie gave his famous speech from a hotel balcony on Main Street, inspiring local farmers to organize the Rebellion of 1837
  • The street boasts the first store of Robert Simpson, founder of the Simpson’s department store chain
  • Old Town Hall: a landmark Italianate building constructed in 1883, complete with a crested central bell-tower
  • The Toronto and York Radial Railway tracks can still be seen embedded amongst the stones underfoot within the Market Square on Main Street
  • Surrounding Main Street is a large, tree-lined historic residential area that includes houses plaqued with the names of people of both local and national historic importance.
  • Main Street became a Heritage Conservation District in 2013

Memorable or Unique Characteristic(s):

  • Perhaps the most significant feature of Main Street is its very location; Newmarket established its own Main Street as opposed to developing along Yonge Street, the Town’s primary thoroughfare
  • The area of Historic Main Street rises in elevation from south to north. This results in the street being on a hill, creating beautiful views from both directions. This topography adds another layer of interest, and with the well-preserved built form lining the gently sloping street, it is hard to take a bad picture


  • Significant capital projects were recently completed in the Main Street area
  • A former surface parking area was redeveloped into Riverwalk Commons, an award-winning public gathering space
  • More recently, the Old Town Hall underwent a multi-million dollar restoration to become the cultural hub for theatre, music and dance
  • New shops continue to open on Main Street and the area as turned into something of a restaurant hub with nine new restaurants opening over the past five years.

Submitted by: Adrian Cammaert