The December 2010 edition of Downtown Dish features articles on the milestone developments for Newmarket's downtown in 2010, the historical significance of Main Street, the renovation plan to the Community Centre, and more. 
Downtown Community Liaison at the Town of Newmarket


Happy holidays!

The holidays are a time to stop and reflect on the activities, accomplishments and progress we have made for the year.  And what a year it was for Newmarket’s downtown! With the Community Urban Space Project well on its way, we are about to enter a new phase for Main Street – one that furthers the street’s reputation as a destination and the heart of the community.
 
Featuring a new design and format, this edition of the Downtown Dish focuses on the key milestones for 2010. Let us know what you think of the revamped newsletter by e-mailing your feedback to downtowndish@newmarket.ca. On behalf of the Town of Newmarket, we wish you a very happy and prosperous holiday season, and all the best for 2011.
 
Warm regards,
 
Crystal Moss, Downtown Community Liaison
E-mail: cmoss@newmarket.ca | Tel: 905-953-5300, ext. 2042
www.newmarket.ca 

The top 10 of 2010   

Newmarket’s downtown core witnessed a significant transformation in 2010 with landscape-altering redevelopments on the east side of Main Street in the heart of Newmarket. Here are a few highlights:   

1.  The year kicked-off with Council’s approval of the final designs for the Community Urban Space Project (CUSP). Transforming pavement into paradise, this new 8.4 acre urban park will flank the east side of Main Street South along the Holland River. Featuring an open-air ice rink and water feature, performance stage, improved access to the Holland River and a combination of hard and soft surfaces, the park is destined to become Newmarket’s premiere park. 

An artistic rendering of the park facing south-west across Timothy Street

2.  In March, the Town launched the CUSP naming contest encouraging community members to name their new urban space! The contest will remain open until May 31, 2011 so that members of the public can get inspired by the park’s design elements as they are built and revealed. Got a great name in mind? Submit it today

3.  Construction activity for CUSP kicked off with a vroom, clang, beep beep, boom as the Community Arena was demolished in June 2010. Recognizing the sentimental connection many Newmarket residents had with the arena, the Town selected and preserved some of the building’s components for a tribute display that will be housed at either the Magna Centre or Ray Twinney Complex. 

Partial demolition of the Community Arena in June 2010
 
4.  In July, the Town’s contractor for CUSP – Mopal Construction Ltd. – began constructing the new urban park, starting with the creation of street parking on Doug Duncan Drive south. Even though a parking lot is being transformed into a park, there will no impact on parking once CUSP is complete and the lot north of the Community Centre is reconfigured next year. 

5.  In August, the Town hosted a public meeting so the community could review and comment on the renovation plan for the Community Centre located at 200 Doug Duncan Drive. The renovation plan focuses on modernizing and beautifying the facility so that it complements and supports the new urban park. 

6.  At the end of September, the redeveloped Doug Duncan Drive south complete with new street parking opened up for public use. The use of blue paint to define each parking space is unique to the parking that  surrounds CUSP, and is not used anywhere else in Newmarket. 

7.  Construction of the park’s key feature – the outdoor rink and water feature – began in October. On December 3, the concrete rink slab was poured just before the first big snowfall of the season turned the construction site into a winter wonderland! 

An artistic rendering of the outdoor ice rink, which will be located just east of the Community Centre

8.  November 22 represented the last day that the parking lot north of Water Street would actually be, well, a parking lot. Now a construction site, this area is being transformed into an urban park and will feature the missing link for Newmarket’s border-to-border trail system. It will also be the future home of the Newmarket Farmer’s Market starting in the spring of 2011. 

9.  On December 1, the newly refinished Doug Duncan Drive north reopened for public use. Featuring new street parking, it provides direct access to the north parking lot and is situated right in front of the new outdoor ice rink and the Community Centre. 

10.  Renovations to the Community Centre began in December starting with the removal of the exterior siding. As the boards were removed, pieces of Newmarket’s history emerged and the past use of the Community Centre as a produce market became obvious. A painted mural that reads Rusto’s Fruit Market was unveiled on the west side of the building that faces Cedar Street. 

Rusto's Fruit Market previously occupied a portion of the Community Centre before the main building was built in 1974

And while this list is significant, the true beauty of the park and the wow factor so to speak will come in the New Year. In the words of Frank Sinatra, “The best is yet to come, and won’t that be fine.”  


Main Street South, a window into Newmarket’s past 

On December 13, the proposed Heritage Conservation District Plan came before Newmarket Council and the public. A document 100 pages deep, the plan paints the picture of Newmarket’s past and underscores the historical significance of Main Street South.
 
The plan is schedule to come back to Council in the spring of 2011, and should Council adopt the plan, Main Street South would be designated as Heritage District. Ultimately, this would ensure that development activity within Newmarket’s most historical setting would contribute to, rather than detract from, the distinct heritage of the street.

 A view of Main Street South in 1890 looking north

Peppered throughout the plan are a few little known historical facts about Newmarket’s Main Street – the proverbial heart of Newmarket:
  • The topography, scenic views, narrowness of the street, and the sheer number of original buildings in Lower Main Street South make it one of the most identifiable and distinct main streets in the Toronto region
  • The street’s history traces back to the ancient Rouge Trail, which crossed at Water Street and traveled north along present-day Main Street. This ancient trail sparked the eventual establishment of Newmarket’s first mill and store at the Water Street crossing in 1801
  • The hamlet of Newmarket – one of the earliest settlements in the interior of Southern Ontario – was a prime location for the fur trade, and entrepreneurs started trading posts at Main and Water Streets in the late 1700s
  • Ontario’s first railway – the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union Railroad – was built in Newmarket just east of and parallel to Main Street in 1853
  • Canada’s first electric radial line ran up the centre of Main Street in 1899
  • Four landmark heritage buildings dominate the street and announce their historical significance to visitors to Newmarket’s downtown. These include: the Christian Baptist Church (1874), the Trinity United Church (1879), Old Town Hall (1883), and the Old Post Office and clock tower (1915).
As stated by Ethel Willson Trewhella in the History of the Town of Newmarket circa January 1886, “The street with a hill in it will doubtless give a good account of itself in the long run – and whatever else it is, it is picturesque.”
 
To learn more about the proposed Heritage Conservation District, contact the Town of Newmarket’s Planning Department at 905-953-5321. 


Renovations underway to renew, refresh Community Centre 

An artistic rendering of the Community Centre post renovations

On December 20,Newmarket Council ratified its decision to award the complete interior and exterior renovations of the Community Centre (200 Doug Duncan Drive) to M.J. Dixon Construction Limited of Mississauga, Ontario.
 
The renovation plan – which was presented to the community for their review and feedback on August 9, 2010 – will give the centre a fresher, more modernized feel. With preliminary exterior work now underway, the centre will reopen its freshly-painted doors in the fall of 2011.
 
A popular community facility since 1974, the renovations will revitalize the Community Centre and further enhance its position in the community. The renovated centre will also complement and support the new urban park that’s now under construction.
 
Offering a functional layout, the renovations will focus on beautifying and modernizing the facility. Highlights of the renovation plan include: 
  1. Complete external refinishing using a combination of metal and wood siding to aesthetically complement the new urban park. The colours chosen for the vertical siding reflect those seen on the storefronts along the town’s historic Main Street
  2. The addition of new washrooms that will be accessible from outside
  3. A small addition for park equipment to support the new urban park
  4. New flooring (hardwood floors for halls 1 & 2)
  5. Fresh paint using warm tones
  6. Updated lighting and windows
  7. Updated kitchen with new equipment
  8. Minor reconfigurations of the interior space to make it fully accessible
  9. Reconfiguration of the coat room
  10. New ventilation equipment
This project is being funded in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario thanks to the Building Canada Fund - Communities Component.  


Stimulus funding deadline extended

In early December, the Federal and Provincial Governments announced that municipalities would be offered one more construction season to wrap up their infrastructure projects that are partially funded by the Building Canada Fund.
 
Extending the deadline from March 31, 2011 to October 31, 2011, municipalities now have seven additional months to complete their projects. Although the extension will be beneficial for Newmarket’s Community Urban Space Project, the park development is on target for substantial completion by the spring/summer of 2011.  The Town will refine and beautify the park with plantings and landscaping over the summer months. 

To learn more about the Town of Newmarket’s downtown revitalization initiatives, visit www.newmarket.caand click on “I’d like to…discover downtown Newmarket.”  


 

Copyright © 2010 Town of Newmarket, All rights reserved.