What to Know About Living in Markham, Ontario
While many new immigrants choose to move to Toronto when they come to Canada, there are many other great cities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Markham.
The city you choose is a very important decision that will play a big role in your life now and in the future. Before making a final decision, it’s important to consider the local job market, housing costs, transportation and entertainment options. All of these and other factors will shape your lifestyle.
Are you thinking about moving to Markham? Prepare for Canada can guide you with helpful information about living in Markham.
About Markham, Ontario
Markham, Ontario is a diverse city. Similar to other cities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), it’s home to people from all over the world. It’s located in York Region about 30 minutes from downtown Toronto. Because of this, it is a popular location for commuters.
The city is home to hundreds of corporate head offices, providing residents with the opportunity to work in many different industries. Importantly, Markham is at the center of the second-largest tech cluster in Canada and a key player in Ontario’s innovation corridor.
As one of the most diverse cities in Canada, diversity and inclusion are a strategic priority for the city. It’s a community that welcomes people from all races and religions.
The city was first settled in 1794 as Thornhill and Unionville. It was later incorporated as a village in 1872, a town in 1971, and a city in 2012.
How Many People Live in Markham, Ontario?
The city of Markham has a population of 338,503, as of the 2021 Census. This is an increase of 2.9% since 2016. It’s the 7th largest city in Ontario and the 4th largest in the Greater Toronto Area.
How to Find a Job & Build a Career in Markham
Markham’s Local Economy
Regarded as Canada’s high-tech capital, the city is home to hundreds of corporate offices and over one thousand high-tech and life science companies. There are more than 10,000 companies in the city, with 240 being foreign, employing more than 179,000 people.
The top industries in Markham are:
Major Employers in Markham
Markham offers job opportunities with an extensive list of international companies. The city attracts many top high tech companies in Canada including:
- IBM Canada
- City of Markham
- TD Financial Group
- Markham Stouffville Hospital
- AMD Technologies Inc
- The Miller Group
- Aviva Canada
- CGI Information Systems
- Johnson and Johnson Inc
Career Pathways in Markham
You can explore employment opportunities on the Government of Canada Job Bank, on company websites or by using local recruitment agencies such as Randstad Canada, Robert Half, Aerotek, and Modern Technical Staffing Inc.
For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page to get the help you need and achieve your career goals in Canada!
The Markham Housing Market
Choosing where to live will have a significant impact on how much you will pay for housing. Markham has 43 communities within the city limits. There is also Thornhill and Unionville nearby.
Is Housing Expensive in Markham, Ontario?
Rent and real estate costs are expensive in Markham. It is regarded as one of the most expensive cities not only in Ontario but all of Canada. One way to keep costs down is to choose a more affordable neighbourhood or even consider a smaller community close by. Higher living costs are a result of urbanization and the tendency of people to move out of the city of Toronto into suburban areas. This created a greater demand for housing in the region.
Finding a Place to Rent in Markham
Renting an apartment in Markham is significantly more expensive than in other cities in the province. The average cost to rent in Markham is $2025 for a 1 Bedroom, and $3200 for a 2 Bedroom. This is much higher than the provincial average rent of $1,395.
If you are looking to rent, try our Rentals for Newcomers site for a practical and easy-to-use way to find housing! And you can even determine the average cost of rentals in each city. This is helpful since rental prices change often.
When renting a home or apartment, it’s also important to consider buying renter’s insurance. While it’s optional, many landlords require it as part of your tenant application.
Get more information about renting a home: Renting in Canada: What Newcomers Need to Know.
Buying a Home in Markham
Purchasing a home in Markham is expensive. According to Zolo.ca, the average cost of a 3-bedroom home in Markham is $1.4 million (as of May 2022). This is a 14% increase from the previous year. The average price for a 2-bedroom townhouse is $1 million (a year-over-year increase of 40%). The average cost of a condo is $810,000.
Find out more about buying your first home in Canada: First Time Home Buyer: Newcomer Tips
Driving & Public Transit in Markham
Driving in Markham, Ontario
A big part of life for Markham residents involves driving. Many people commute to work in the city and across the GTA. The city has a grid layout with major streets extending all the way to Toronto. They include Yonge Street, Bayview Avenue, and Leslie Street. There are also several major highways passing through the city – Highway 404, Highway 407 ETS toll road, and Regional Road 7 (formerly Highway 7).
All drivers are required to have a valid driver’s licence and insurance to drive in Ontario. Learn more about driving in Canada with these 10 essential facts.
Markham Public Transit
York Region Transit (YRT) connects Markham with other surrounding cities, including Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan and Toronto. Residents can travel downtown by connecting to the TTC subway system or by taking GO Transit.
Get more information about driving in Canada:
Driving in Canada: 10 Essential Facts to Know
Driving Test in Canada: A Full Guide
Tips for Winter Driving to Ensure Your Safety
Within York Region, newcomers have access to five service hub centres called Welcome Centres. They help immigrants to settle and integrate into their new life. There are two centres in Markham, one in the North and another in the South end of the city. These centres offer settlement and employment services in many languages.
Language Support in Markham
Newcomers can receive language support services from the Welcome Centres. You can also find assistance through Settlement.org, and other community groups and educational institutions.
Personal Finance & Banking
Having a strong financial plan is important to be successful. So it’s vital to open a bank account as soon as possible. All local banks and credit unions offer programs for new immigrants to help them open an account and get a credit card. You can also get help with qualifying for a mortgage and getting other financial advice.
Get more banking tips for newcomers:
Top 10 Financial Steps to Take Before You Leave for Canada
Move to Canada | Transferring Cash & Valuables
Open a Bank Account Before Arriving in Canada
For more information about your financial first steps in Canada, visit our Banking in Canada resource page. Get the essential information you need to manage your finances in Canada!
Markham’s Education System
Markham has a modern education system with many education options. There are two main school boards in the area. Even though Markham has minimal post-secondary options, you can access top colleges and universities throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
There are many pre-school and daycare options for parents, as well as before and after school programs, and private, public, and community childcare programs across the city.
Elementary and High School Education
The two main school boards in the city are The York Region District School Board and the York Catholic District School Board. The Conseil scolaire Viamonde operates secular French schools. The Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir operates Catholic French schools. Overall, there are 190 public schools and over 100 Catholic schools.
Post Secondary Institutions
Currently, there are no post-secondary institutions in the city. However, Seneca College has a campus in the business district. York University plans to open a new campus in the city in 2023.
Read more about education in Canada:
Schooling in Canada | A Look at the Education System
Higher Education Offers Benefits to Newcomers
Where To Get Medical Care in Markham, Ontario
The Markham Stouffville Hospital is the city’s main healthcare facility. Residents also have access to care at Shouldice Hospital and at the close by Scarborough Hospital Birchmount Campus. In case of an emergency call 9-1-1. This number is the same no matter where you live in Canada.
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) provides residents with health care coverage. Learn how to apply for an OHIP card. You also have the option to purchase individual health insurance plans.
How to Find A Family Doctor In Markham
Having a family doctor is important to take care of your health. Newcomers can look for a doctor by using Health Care Connect or The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Get more information about health care in Canada: Steps to Access Free Health Care in Canada.
What is Day to Day Life Like in Markham?
Things to Do in Markham
The city of Markham has a little bit of everything. It’s close enough to Toronto and all the amenities it offers and it has a variety of outdoor and nature to explore. It is close to many of the top attractions in Ontario, in addition to great things to do within the city itself.
Public Spaces & Attractions
Arts culture and diversity are a big part of the community. The city has several performing arts groups including Kindred Spirits Orchestra, Markham Little Theatre, Markham Youth Theatre, Unionville Theatre Company, and the Markham Concert Band.
There are still a variety of small farms in the area. Check out Reesor Farm Market, Galten Farms, Forsythe Family Farms, and Adventure Valley
Other top attractions in the city include Frederick Horsman Varley Art Gallery, Markham Museum, Markham Village, and Cathedral of the Transfiguration. Shopping is big in Markham. There is a large number of Chinese and East-Asian malls and shops.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Chinese and Asian cuisine dominate the restaurant industry in the city, but the city does have restaurants featuring food from around the world. The city holds many festivals throughout the year. Some to check out include the Night It Up! Night Market, Taste of Asia Festival, Unionville Festival, Markham Village Music Festival, Markham Jazz Festival, Markham Ribfest & Music Festival, Doors Open Markham, Thornhill Village Festival, Markham Fair, Olde Tyme Christmas Unionville, and Markham Festival of Lights.
Nature & Natural Landscapes
Markham has over 22 km of scenic pathways. Some of the natural landscapes to experience are Milne Dam Conservation Park, Bob Hunter Memorial Park, and Pomona Mills Park.
Sporting Events & Concerts
Even though the city doesn’t have a professional sports team, it’s only a short drive to Toronto to see the Maple Leafs, Raptors, and Blue Jays. To see live music, check out the local listings for MFG Complex, and other venues throughout the GTA.
Culture & Diversity In Markham
Markham is very diverse. About 78% of the population identify as a visible minority, with 6% being recent immigrants. There is a significant Chinese population in the city. Close to half of the residents are of Chinese descent. The biggest minority groups are Chinese (46.5%), Indian (10.1%), Sri Lankan (4.4%), Irish (4.2%), Italian (3.7%), Filipino (3.1%) and Iranian (2.5%). One-third of the population’s mother tongue is Cantonese or Mandarin.
Markham is culturally diverse and this is reflected in the number of religions that are practiced in the area. 44% of the population identify as Christian. Others identify as Hindu (9.8%), Muslim (7.5%), Buddhist (4.4%), Jewish (2.4%), and Sikh (1.4%). About 30% of the population has no religious affiliation.
The Weather in Markham
Markham has a continental climate that is like the rest of Southern Ontario. The city experiences all four seasons of weather (spring, summer, fall, and winter). The temperature will vary greatly by season. The average temperature in January is about -6o C and the average high temperature in July is 26o C.
Common Questions Immigrants Ask About Living in Markham
Why is Markham a Good City for Immigrants?
As one of the most diverse cities in all of Canada, Markham is a popular landing spot for new immigrants, especially people of Asian heritage. The city offers great job opportunities and is only a short drive to Toronto, the biggest city in Canada.
What are the Potential Disadvantages of Living in Markham for Newcomers?
One of the main disadvantages of living in Markham is the cost of living. Everything from real estate, to restaurants, and transportation is more expensive compared to other smaller cities in Canada. However, you also have a better chance of getting a higher-paying job.
What are the Benefits of Living in Markham?
Markham is a high-tech hub. So, if you work in the technology field, the city is a desirable destination for you to find work. There are a lot of great outdoor trails, there is good transportation, and you are not far away from many other great cities in Ontario.
For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle successfully!