Unionville’s Stiver Mill, situated in the heart of Heritage Unionville, is Markham’s last standing grain elevator, and one of the very few left in the Province of Ontario with original grain mill equipment. The important role it played through the 1900s has given it great significance culturally, and adds to the economic viability of the Tourist area.
The Stiver Family was part of the prominent Berczy Pioneer Settlers that came here in 1794 and the first European baby born that year in the Town of Markham was a Stiver.
Over the years, the Stivers were involved in building, owning, leasing and living in more than 17 now heritage houses still standing in Unionville and elsewhere in Markham. The Stivers built the Stiver Mill on Station Lane in the early1900s, also a Mill in Stouffville and Aurora, running their considerable business until 1968.
The City of Markham took possession of the Stiver Mill in 1993 and it remained unused and began to deteriorate. In 2008, the City put out an Expression of Interest looking for ideas for the Mill’s future use.
The City received only one response. This came from Bob Stiver, a direct descendant of that first Stiver baby born in Markham. Bob was born and raised in Unionville, living right next door to the Mill as a boy, and worked there after school.
Realizing the future of the Stiver Mill was in jeopardy, Bob decided to spearhead a movement to restore the Mill with a vision to bring it back for community use with museum agricultural artifacts on show.
Stiver Mill Farmers Market
In 2009, Bob Stiver had the idea of starting a farmers’ market on the Stiver Mill grounds. This would be run by himself and other volunteers each week during the summer primarily for Public Awareness of the plight of the Stiver Mill. The City of Markham decided to give the market a chance.
The City invited the pubic to get involved with a Visioning Workshop in May 2010 to determine the uses of the Stiver Mill. A number of themes resulted from this exercise including Food-related activities, Cultural, Educational and Environmental uses.
In 2011, the City of Markham put funds into their budget to preserve the foundation and exterior of the mill and in 2012 a grant application was submitted to the Federal Government. This was successful
The restoration project was approved by the Federal Government and we are proud that the first phase of the restoration of the Stiver Mill was completed on budget and on time. The official opening of the newly renovated Stiver Mill took place in June 2014. The outside is restored to its traditional red colour and the inside is decorated with pictures and artifacts from Markham’s original grain mills.
The Stiver Mill is now referred to as the Stiver Mill Cultural Centre and is available for rent for community use. In 2014, the Farmers’ Market rented the inside of the restored Mill from October to December to extend a smaller version of the summer market. The successful indoor market continues today.
To rent the Stiver Mill, contact the City of Markham at 905-477-7000 ext. 7104