The Markham Museum: 19th century country charm in the heart of the GTA

As the Greater Toronto Area and its satellite cities have continued to expand, everyone from brides and grooms to the region’s top event planners are finding they have an embarrassment of riches at their fingertips. Specifically, we seem to have new, ever-more impressive event venues popping up virtually by the week—some traditional banquet-style halls, others refurbished brick-and-beam factory spaces or alternative spaces that may not fit the traditional event venue mold, but still make for a perfect setting for an unforgettable function.

Markham Museum

Markham is no exception. With a fast-growing population of nearly 330,000 people, the city is a magnet for suburban-dwelling families, innovative tech firms and other dynamic businesses. It also happens to be home to one of the most incredible event venues the region has to offer—one that delivers a country vibe just minutes from most of the GTA.

Established in 1971, the Markham Museum has long served as a hub for celebrating the community’s rich history. The 25-acre, open-air museum is an architectural treasure trove of nearly 30 buildings from Markham’s agricultural glory years, including barns, a blacksmith, a pristine non-denominational church dating to 1848, a general store, a school and a home dating to 1824 that was built by a local Mennonite family. Cynthia Szeto, the Business Development and Events Coordinator with the City of Markham and Markham Museum, best sums up the location’s appeal:

“We’re in a large city, but you go back onto our property and it’s very serene, like you’re in the country,” she says. “I can’t explain how calm and quiet it is, especially when the weather is nice.”

Markham Museum

Szeto is right. The Markham Museum’s major appeal is its idyllic, 19th-century small-town ambience—complete with a relocated train station and an apple orchard—that serve as the perfect backdrop for a country wedding that’s, well, right in the heart of a major Canadian city. Of course, the space isn’t just for nuptials. The museum regularly hosts everything from baby showers and birthdays to corporate events and celebrations of life. With wide open, immaculately-groomed grounds and unique indoor spaces, it has something for everyone.

The Museum is widely known for flexibility in the size of events that it can accommodate. The much-photographed Transportation Hall building, for example, can hold up to 250 guests for cocktail receptions or 150 for a plated dinner with dance floor—200 if cutting a rug just isn’t your thing.

Markham Museum

The more intimate gallery space in the Museum’s main building can hold up to 50 guests for a seated dinner, and both of these buildings are equipped with preparation kitchens and fridges. They’re also fully accessible with ramps to accommodate mobility devices. Some of the venue’s outdoor spaces are also accessible, but Szeto notes that the degree of accessibility is dependent on weather conditions (gorgeous lawns aren’t typically a friend to mobility devices, especially when it rains).

Markham Museum

For outdoor functions, the options are nearly limitless. The Markham Museum’s outdoor acreage can comfortably accommodate about 300 guests, which includes a larger lawn area for receptions and a smaller one perfectly suited to wedding ceremonies (the photo opportunities are amazing!). Their non-denominational church is another favourite indoor locale for couples looking for the perfect spot to share their ‘I do’s.’

Markham Museum

What we’ve always appreciated most about working with the staff at the Markham Museum is their amazing attention to detail. They go above-and-beyond to ensure that every event comes off without a hitch, whether it’s a wedding or a corporate brand launch. They make sure that staff are available before, during and after an event to answer questions and solicit feedback. During events, they manage all venue-related matters such as the set-up and take-down of chairs and tables, managing security to ensure onlookers don’t crash your amazing party, and more. They don’t provide service staff or catering services, but that’s OK—that’s where companies like Kiss the Cook Catering come into the picture!

So, what makes the Markham Museum’s service proposition different from so many other venues?

“We’re very personable and we really put a lot of thought into every event,” Szeto explains.

“Our space is unique in so many ways, from the distance of our parking lot to the event grounds and buildings, to the layout of our property, as well as other logistical features. We talk to our clients to determine the kind of event they want to stage, then help them adjust the planning and set-up to create a memorable experience.”

As Szeto notes, the museum’s staff is dedicated to providing the right support to help clients personalize their events, and that often means helping them secure additional items or services to bring their vision to life. Case in point: the museum supplies all necessary tables and chairs for events and includes those costs in their rental fees, helping party planners contain costs and helping to avoid last-minute financial surprises (we can’t tell you how many people (understandably) forget to factor easily forgettable odds and ends like seating into their event budget plans).

Markham Museum

Here’s what we love most about the Markham Museum: its staff is always friendly and helpful, the atmosphere is unlike any other in the region and our clients always walk away with a smile on their faces, not to mention unforgettable memories.

“Our space is really suited to people who want to get out of the city to stage an event, but who don’t want the two-hour drive,” Szeto says.

What more could you ask for?

Fia Pagnello, founder

Want to book an event at the Markham Museum? Contact us now!