Wes Playter was born and raised in Newmarket. He is currently the owner of Roadhouse & Rose funeral home on Main Street. Wes is the Past President of the Newmarket Historical Society and Past Chairman of Heritage Newmarket. Watch here to get a historical perspective.
Brief Historical Notes:
Newmarket was first settled in 1800 by Quakers from Pennsylvania led by Timothy Rogers, the ancestor of Ted Rogers of Rogers Communications fame. It wasn’t long before the downtown area began growing with trading posts and mills on the Holland River. Commercial activity prospered and since York (now Toronto) had the “Old Market”, this new thriving centre became known as the “New Market”.
Newmarket never stopped growing with home construction and notable factories such as Davis Tannery, Office Specialty Furniture and Dixon Pencil. In 1862, Robert Simpson opened his store on Main Street before moving Simpsons to the corner of Queen and Yonge Streets in Toronto. In the 1880’s, Ontario’s first female apothecary had a drug store at 184 Main Street.
Apart from the Newmarket opening in 1853 of the first steam engine railroad in Upper Canada which linked Toronto to Collingwood, Newmarket also enjoyed in 1900 the electric Radial Streetcar which ran on Main Street and brought Toronto tourists flocking to the Saturday Farmer’s Market…still a Newmarket tradition!
180 Main Street South
The Newmarket Federal Building (also known as the Newmarket Post Office & Customs House and then becoming The Clock Tower Inn) was built in 1914 by the Canadian Department of Public Works under chief architect David Ewart. The concrete and steel frame structure faced with red brick embraces an Italianate styling. The 65 foot bell tower, with four clock faces and weather-vane, commands all downtown views from its Main Street and Park Avenue location. The Park Avenue addition was constructed in 1956. In 1984 the Federal Heritage Review Office designated the original building as a Recognized federal heritage building.
Sources: the Newmarket Historical Society, Terry Carter, Canada’s Historic Places and Richard MacLeod