Markham, a city in the Regional Municipality of York, lies within the Greater Toronto Area. At the 2011 Canadian census it had a population of 301,709. The city is the fourth-largest community within the Greater Toronto Area after Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. Markham changed its status from town to city on July 1, 2012. Markham is made up of many original 19th century communities (many of which, despite being technically suburban districts today, are still signed with official ‘city limits’ signs on major roads) and/or each with a distinctive character.
Markham currently does not have any universities itself, but Seneca College has campuses at Highways 7 and 404 and at Buttonville Municipal Airport. Most high school graduates continue to post-secondary education in universities across Ontario. There are local transit services that connect to various post-secondary institutions in the Greater Toronto Area. Markham is located within driving distance of several universities in the Greater Toronto Area such as the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University and UOIT in Oshawa.
Markham has a number of both public and Catholic high schools. All have consistently scored high on standardized tests and have some of the highest rate of graduates attending universities.
Until the 1970s, Markham was mostly farmland and marsh, as reflected in events like the Markham Fair. Markham has several theatres, including Backstage at Markham Museum (home to Markham Little Theatre and the Markham Youth Theatre since 2006), Markham Theatre (alternate home to the critically acclaimed Markham Little Theatre). The Markham Public Library system has 7 branches, with over 600,000 items in its collections.