Escape the crowds, step into the time machine that is Markham Museum, and find yourself in the 19th century Markham village. Imagine being a young couple from the village: going on dates in the apple orchard, popping into the General Store to buy sugar, and getting excited about a train ride to the nearby Unionville. Your wedding is, naturally, also taking place among rustic barns, wooden cabins and unpaved roads. A large chapel is filled with your family and friends, your own little community, the people who have known you for ever. A romantic gazebo envelopes you two into a symbolic union. And a warm, rustic reception venue – indoors or outdoors – awaits you with a celebratory meal.
Markham Museum is a park and open-air museum of settlement of Canada, replicating a small village with about 20 historic buildings (including a chapel, residential houses, barns, sheds, train station, school, general store, blacksmith, harness shop, saw mill, and cider mill) dating from as early as 1824. The museum offers lots of entertainment: tours, exhibits, artifacts, sundial, original tools and furniture, as well as KEVA planks, geocaching and a mini golf course with vintage-looking mini buildings.
While similar in many ways to Black Creek Pioneer Village, Markham Museum is quieter, feels more spacious, and leaves more to the imagination. Markham Museum provides only the space and allows you to select catering and customize the facilities more.
Setups. The museum is notable for its flexibility with wedding setups: ceremony only (indoors and outdoors), and ceremony followed by reception (indoors and outdoors). Each package with a ceremony includes a photography permit.
Ceremony only – indoors. Markham Museum’s non-denominational chapel, built in 1848, will lend gravitas to the solemn occasion. It is a red brick building with minimal, uncluttered look that can seat up to 100 guests. The chapel is available year round. The rental of the chapel for about 2.5 hours (set schedule with two daily windows applies) would cost just over $1,000 (plus HST).
Ceremony only – indoors and outdoors. Markham Museum is a park with beautiful, lush greenery and rustic buildings that offer a great backdrop for your most authentic moments. The park has a couple of beautiful areas that can accommodate a ceremony outdoors (Apple Shed and Burkholder House), and the venue will supply chairs. In the event of inclement weather, the chapel will be available as your back-up. The rental of the venue would also be for 2.5 hours, based on a set schedule with two windows per day. This option would cost around $1,150 (plus HST).
Reception – indoors. Markham Museum offers Transportation Hall as an indoors reception venue for up to 175 guests (seated) or 280 guests (standing). This simple white hall lends itself easily to decoration. The venue allows you to bring your own catering, and does not limit your choice of catering provider to preferred suppliers (although catering provider must be able to work within the limitations of the historic building, such as no cooking allowed on the premises). The ballpark cost of the Transportation Hall for an 8 hour rental would be just over $1,100 (plus HST), with extra fees of up to $600 (plus HST).
Ceremony and reception – outdoors. The outdoors combo of Gazebo and Pavilion will tug at the heartstrings of the least romantically inclined guest. Let the beautiful symmetry of this large gazebo, surrounded by the greenery, make your ceremony and/or cocktail hour picture-perfect. The pavilion, while offering great views in each direction, is the utmost flexible venue in terms of size. It can accommodate up to a 100 guests by itself, and can accommodate much more, if required, with a tent (to be sourced separately). In case of inclement weather, the pavilion’s roll-down walls or your tent’s walls will offer shelter (note that the pavilion’s walls are not transparent). The ballpark cost of the Pavilion and Gazebo for an 8 hour rental is just under $2,000 (plus HST) with the extra fees of up to $600 (plus HST).
Suitability: The venue is a bit out of the way, but accessible via highway 7, 407 and 404, and allows ample free parking. Lockable space and bridal change room can be made available if required. You can take your time decorating the venue, because the Museum allows access to the venue for a few hours, on the night before, and gives your time on the morning after the wedding for disassembly of your decor (for a small surcharge). The venue also allows you to book a short rehearsal for a small surcharge.
Cost – as of Aug 2018. With Markham Museum, you will be bringing your own catering, decorations, and audio/visual (only basic tables and chairs are provided). However, it is noteworthy that the venue does not charge landmark fees and does not have preferred vendors (nor surcharges for bringing non-preferred vendors).
If you like this venue, take a look at some similar venues we reviewed:
- If you are interested in history of Canadian settlement, consider Black Creek Pioneer Village (up to 150 guests for outdoor reception and up to 130 for indoor reception; the venue supplies its own catering)
- If you are interested in a venue that will work with any vendors of your choice, consider Heintzman House (up to 95 guests for indoor reception)
- Still searching? We reviewed lots more historic venues for you to take a look!
We’d love to know what you think!
Did you have your wedding at Markham Museum? Have you been to a wedding here? Share your experiences with others in the comments below! What worked about the venue? What didn’t work? What made it special?
If your wedding is still being planned, have you considered Markham Museum as your wedding venue? If you booked it, what did you like about it? If you didn’t, what tipped the scales?