Markham, Ont, incorporated as a town in 1970, population 301 709 (2011c), 261 573 (2006c). The Town of Markham is located on the northeast edge of Metropolitan Toronto. Markham Township was first surveyed in 1793-94. It was named in honour of William Markham, Archbishop of York from 1779 to 1807 and a friend of Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe.
The first settlers in the township arrived in 1794 from upstate New York, attracted by the promise of free farmland. Prior to the War of 1812 many Pennsylvania-Germans, including Mennonites, moved to the township, and after 1830 they were joined by a wave of British immigrants. The township remained primarily rural and agricultural up to the end of World War II, when the growth of Toronto began to have a major effect on surrounding communities. Markham was transformed into a suburban bedroom community. The town's population has grown sharply and its former rural character has been almost totally erased. Instead, the town is now a significant manufacturing and service industry centre, home to a number of computer hardware and software firms, electronic manufacturers and financial services companies.