Markdale, Ontario

Markdale is a community in the Municipality of Grey Highlands, in Grey County, Ontario, Canada. The population was 1,216 in 2016, an increase of 3.5% from 1,175 in 2011. In 2016, the average age of the population was approximately 43 years old.

Historic fire station in Markdale
CountyGrey County, Ontario
MunicipalityGrey Highlands, Ontario
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)519, 226, 548
Highways Highway 10

19th century

Markdale was first settled in 1846 and originally called East Glenelg, after a nearby township. In 1864, it was renamed Cornabus after the Islay, Scotland hometown of then-postmaster Donald MacDuffie (1814–1892).

In the 1870s, new railways were a vital economic engine for small Ontario towns, as evidenced by nearby Flesherton, which had failed to prosper after the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway decided to by-pass it.[1] In 1873, the same railway wanted to make Cornabus a stop on its route from Toronto to Owen Sound if it could find land on which to build a station. Local landowner Mark Armstrong sold a parcel of land to the railway on the condition that the new station bear his name; accordingly the hamlet of Cornabus became Markdale. It saw an immediate increase in business when the railway station opened, and fifteen years later, Markdale was incorporated as a village in 1888.[2]

The local newspaper The Markdale Standard was first published in 1880 and continued until 2012.

Twentieth century

In 1957, the Regal Films production of the 1958 "B" film, Wolf Dog, starring Allison Hayes and Jim Davis, was filmed on location in Markdale as well as nearby Holland Township.

Twenty-first century

In 2001, Markdale was amalgamated with the townships of Artemesia, Euphrasia and Osprey to form Grey Highlands.

On August 20, 2009, an F2 tornado originated in Durham, 20 km to the southwest of Markdale, where it caused one fatality. It then touched down in Markdale as an F0 and caused local damage.

Present day

Markdale is home to several industries including Chapman's Ice Cream and Medike Leather Products. Public services include an Ontario Provincial Police detachment, fire department, 14-bed Centre Grey Hospital, public library, arena and community centre, curling and golf club.

There are several annual festivities, including the Rotary Club's Street Frolic in July, and the Agricultural Society's Markdale Fall Fair in late August.

The village was a charter member of the Central Ontario Hockey League and participated at the senior and junior levels under several nicknames, including Markdale Majors. For two seasons, the Grey Highlands Bravehearts of the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League played out of the Centre Grey Recreation Complex. The Grey Highlands Hawks are an original member of the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League that played out of the Centre Grey Recreation Complex

Notable personalities

  • Sir William Mulock, PC (UK), PC (Can), KCMG, QC (January 19, 1843 – October 1, 1944), Canadian lawyer, businessman, educator, farmer, politician, judge, and philanthropist, purchased a Markdale, Ontario farm in 1926 that he used for trout fishing and reforestation.
  • Chris Neil, professional ice hockey player who lived his formative years in nearby Flesherton, was born at the Centre Grey General Hospital in Markdale.
  • Thomas Simpson Sproule, builder of local landmark Knarsboro Hall, local MP for eight consecutive terms (1878–1915), Speaker of the House of Commons (1911–1915), and a member of the Senate (1915–1917).


  1. Hubbard, Mildred Young (1986). Split Rail Country: A History of Artemesia Township. Owen Sound: Historical Society of Artemesia Township.
  2. Donnelly, C.; Baker, S.; Bumstead, C.A.; Lukianchuk, O. (1974), Artemesia Remembers: An Oral History, Flesherton: South Grey Museum

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