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Tradition and Innovation: The Importance of Agriculture to Markham 1820-1920
Markham Museum
Markham , Ontario

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   Between 1820 and 1920 the
prosperity of agriculture in
Markham Township acted as a
strong foundation for a
variety of technological and
infrastructure developments
in the area. In addition,
the daily and seasonal
rotations of agricultural
life allowed for a range of

income generating activities
that provided a stable,
plentiful livelihood for many
local families. Agriculture
in Markham did not simply
provide employment, it
defined a way of life;
shaping relationships between
friends, family, neighbours
and communities.

   Modern scientific
advancements began to alter
the rhythm of traditional
farming in the mid-nineteenth
century and organizations
were formed to communicate
new strategies including:
Mechanic’s Institutes,
Women’s Institutes, and
Agricultural Societies. These

organizations afforded life-
long learning as well as
important social outlets.
   “The intelligent farmers
of this Township have
organized themselves into an
Association for the purpose
of encouraging Agricultural
improvements in the
Townships, and for mutually

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