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Newmarket Main Street wins Great Places in Canada award

Canadian Institute of Planners gives the historic road its 2016 People’s Choice Street honour
Nov. 8, 2016
By Chris Simon

One of the greatest places in Canada is right around the corner, according to the Canadian Institute of Planners.

The organization named Newmarket’s historic Main Street as a winner of the 2016 People’s Choice Street award - which is given out as part of the Great Places in Canada contest - during World Town Planning Day Nov. 8. In August, the institute invited Canadians to nominate a ‘great place’. A panel of jurors reviewed submissions from across Canada using a criteria of planning best practices that considered social, economic, accessibility and safety factors, and elements such as design, culture history and landscape.

In addition to inviting the public to nominate a space, the institute conducted an online vote allowing the public to determine People’s Choice awards. Main was nominated by town planning staff.

“We are excited and honoured to receive national recognition for the tremendous value that Main brings to the Newmarket community and our many visitors,” Mayor Tony Van Bynen said. “We have taken great pride and effort in revitalizing Main and our downtown core in order to create and maintain the type of vibrant, livable and dynamic community that we can all enjoy. (This) award is a vote of confidence directly from Canadians and is proof that what we’re doing is working.”

This national contest began in 2010.

“A great place is one where citizens can enjoy a healthy and inspiring environment,” CIP president Eleanor Mohammed said. “All of the winners are demonstrative of what planners try to create - a space that is functional, safe and enjoyable for the community.”

Timothy Rogers, ancestor of Rogers Communications’ Ted Rogers, settled in Newmarket in 1801. Instead of developing along Yonge Street, Newmarket established its own main street, allowing the heart of the community to grow in a more serene environment. William Lyon Mackenzie gave a famous speech from a hotel balcony on Main, inspiring local farmers to organize the Rebellion of 1837, and the street is the location of the first shop of Robert Simpson, founder of the Simpson’s department store chain. The Toronto and York Radial Railway tracks can still be seen embedded amongst the stones underfoot within Market Square, and in 2013, it was designated as a heritage conservation district.

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