Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Entrance to Fairgrounds

Until 1976, the annual Markham Fair took place on its 30-acre grounds located at the southeast corner of Highway 48 (Main Street) and Highway 7. In this turn-of-the-20th-century postcard view, the 1894 Agricultural Hall known as the “Crystal Palace” is in the centre of the picture, facing north onto a two-lane dirt road (now Highway 7), with picket fences and smaller structures beside the gated entrance to the grounds. The hall was two storeys high , with the lower level used for exhibits of vegetables and fruit, and the upper level for ladies’ exhibits. The adjoining rink was used for exhibits during the Fair, and during winter was the centre of hockey and curling in Markham. Both the Crystal Palace and the rink burned to the ground on March 10, 1916.

For much of its first two centuries, Markham Township was known as one of Canada’s best agricultural areas, and much of its early prosperity was based on farming. Markham’s annual Fall Fair grew out of that prosperity, the creation of a proud and forward-thinking farming community. By the late 19th century, Markham Fair had become one of the largest fall fairs in the country.

The Fair site is now occupied by the Markham Village Library and the Markham Arena.

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