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Unionville – more than a Hollywood sound stage

There’s no denying the appeal of Unionville – an historic village located amongst the urban growth that is Markham.

Founded more than 200 years ago, Unionville is so charming and other-worldly – board-and-batten buildings with gingerbread trim and narrow roads – it’s often used as the set for Hollywood movie productions. Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick’s A Simple Favor features a number of Unionville shots. As do the films Love You Like Christmas and Will You Merry Me?

And it’s not just films where Unionville lives forever.

TV shows like Suits, Schitt’s Creek and Gilmore Girls have all gone on-location to create the idyllic look producers want.

It’s no wonder, really.

Unionville’s Main Street oozes charm.

Entering from the south on a Sunday morning, visitors are greeted by the Main Street Unionville Market on Station Lane at Stiver’s Mill. Held every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until September 19, the market will offer a wide variety of fresh foods and specialty items from local artisans.

When you’re finished at the market, check out gourmet restaurants that are located up and down the carefully manicured thoroughfare. Quaint shops offer handmade goods and specialty items. Outdoor patios, surrounded by foliage and hedges, are hidden from prying eyes.

Folks of all stripes sip specialty coffees and bubble tea and take turns photographing each other – digital artworks featuring the perfect background in every image.

Creating art on this street is nothing new though.

Just a few steps south of the Grotto Ristorante is the McKay Art Centre, formerly known as the Salem-Eckhardt House, residence of Kathleen Gormley McKay. The house was built in the 1840s and later became home to the great Canadian painter, and Group of Seven member, Frederick Horsman Varley for the last 12 years of his life. From his studio on the first floor, Varley painted portraits and landscapes inspired by the local area.

Just north of the McKay Art Centre is the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, opened in 1997. The majority of the paintings housed in the Varley were donated by Kathleen Gormley McKay.

Unionville is located 30 kms northeast of downtown Toronto and is easy to reach by car from the Toronto Pearson International Airport and Buttonville Airport via highway 401, 404 or 407. Public transit is also available by YRT/VIVA and by GO Transit Public trains and buses from the Unionville GO Station.

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