The Markham Village Conservancy (MVC) visited the heritage home of Peter and Yvette Ross at 89 Main Street Markham South earlier this fall.
The house is known as the Old Presbyterian Manse and was built in 1840. There had been two additions to the original house, one in 1862 and another in the 1940s. Although the three sections are now a single unit, the mark of their time was evident in the architecture, fireplaces, and décor.
The vestibule and entrance hall floor had been painted to look as if it were linoleum. The walls leading to the second floor had been painted by hand, likely with a stencil, added Peter. The design is beautiful—long-stemmed light blue flowers. The Ross’s had taken great care to preserve the original structure including baseboards, radiators, door frames, door locks, and floors. Their renovations enhanced the unique character of the building and included customized kitchen cabinets, a garden rich in natural foliage, Victorian-era vases, chandelier and a dome over the stove that Yvette explained were often found in France.
Peter said that the masonry on the fireplace was superb. It could heat the entire room in minutes. He also expressed some regret, but was still hopeful, that they might find the original owner’s hammer. After working as a blacksmith in Lachine, Quebec, the son of a United Empire Loyalist, the Reverend David Youmans chose a different calling and was ordained as a deacon for the Methodist Church. He was known as “The Old Hammer.”
The Markham Village Conservancy presented the Ross’s with a plaque for their home in recognition for Peter’s long-term commitment to the heritage of Markham Village. The MVC Plaque Project is a partnership between the City of Markham, heritage home owners and the Conservancy. A woodworker fashioned the plaque frame for the Ross family to recognize Yvette’s French heritage with the fleur-de-lis and Peter’s Scottish heritage with a thistle.
The MVC was formed to restore the Markham Train Station, now manages the Station for the Town of Markham and initiates projects to support the history and community of Markham including the plaque project and programs on site for Doors Open.
Photo (l-r); Yvette and Peter Ross, Mayor Frank Scaripitti, MVC Director Andrew Fuyarchuk, MVC President Dianne More.