On the first Saturday of June 1853, the first train puffed into Newmarket on the tracks of the first railroad built in Upper Canada. Called the Ontario, Huron & Simcoe Railway, the railroad cinched Newmarket’s role as the business centre of the hinterland north of Toronto.
Businesses moved here, mills and factories were built and the population grew. It has never stopped growing. In 1899 the rails of a streetcar line pushed up Yonge Street and reached Newmarket. The old streetcar, “the radial”, brought tourists flocking to town. They came for the Saturday farmers’ market, and special trains were run from Toronto for the North York Agricultural Fair held each September in Newmarket. The street railway also carried freight, including locally-produced farm produce, to Toronto markets.
Better highways and the growing population of automobiles eventually put the line out of business. It was discontinued north of Richmond Hill in the early 1930s.