Markham Fair was held in 1844 and, 163 years later, it is one of the
largest agricultural fairs in Canada.
Before I started out on my explorations, Karen
Murphy, chairman of the public relations and promotions committee,
explained to me some of the history of the Markham Fair and the
ideals that have made it so successful over the years.
First of all, even in the urbanizing era in which
we live, the Fair has remained loyal to its agricultural roots.
“We are trying to keep agriculture a high
priority,” she said. “A lot of people who are from the city don’t
understand where our food comes from, how our milk gets on the
It’s not that the Fair does not adapt to urban
“As the world changes, we’re changing too,” she
For example, there are some events and
attractions designed to draw families, and especially children, who
are not from a farming tradition. There’s a bike show,
skateboarding demonstrations. Dora the Explorer, the popular
television character, will be at the Fair on Sunday. But visitors
will then have the opportunity of viewing, touching and experiencing
the many agricultural exhibits and events and learning more about
how food is produced.
These include cow milking and sheep shearing
demonstrations. At “Old MacDonald’s Farm” you will get up close to
the whole range of farm livestock —baby chicks, pigs (including a
sow with a nursing litter of twelve), sheep, goats, cattle and
Visitors will also enjoy the wide variety of
crafts and works of art produced locally by people of all ages. And
they won’t want to miss the exciting competitive events such as the
light horse and heavy horse competitions and the tractor pull.
Many of the civic organizations that deliver
vital services to the people of Markham are also on hand with
eye-catching and informative displays, including the Markham Fire
Department, Power Stream and York Emergency and Medical Services.
The Markham Fair is the largest four-day fair in
Canada but operates on the strength of volunteers. The Fair has
only four employees. Hundreds of volunteers staff its many
organizational committees. The twenty-four members of the Board of
Directors are volunteer. All make up what Karen Murphy called “the
Markham Fair family”.
In addition, through its far-sighted program of
Junior Directors---up to twenty-one years of age---young people are
given a chance to learn the ropes and will carry that experience
over as they come of age and assume greater responsibilities.
Markham Fair has also worked with York Region
Transit to make the fair more accessible. There are YRT buses
shuttling from Markville Mall and main street Stouffville.
There’s still one more day so come on out and
enjoy our agricultural roots.