Museum FAQ


Municipal Office

395 Mulock Drive P.O. Box 328 Station Main, Newmarket, Ontario
L3Y 4X7

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COVID-19 Information

 During the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be program disruptions, changes and facility closures. We continue to offer alternative ways to serve the community. Learn about Newmarket's approach to reopening and for current information and resources. For any inquiries, please email


1. What is the purpose of the Museum?

Statement of Purpose: The Elman W. Campbell Museum, owned by the Corporation of the Town of Newmarket and operated by the Elman W. Campbell Museum Board of Management, is a non-profit, educational institution created for the purpose of collecting, preserving, researching, studying, exhibiting and interpreting artifacts related to the social, political and economic history of the Town of Newmarket and its environs from the time of the first settlers to thirty years before present, for the benefit of residents of the Town of Newmarket and visitors from outside the Town.

2. Is this a dinosaur museum? 

No.  The exhibits trace the development of the Town from the time of the first settlers to thirty years ago.  The front area of the Museum introduces the earliest settlers, the middle room is for changing displays, and the permanent exhibits are at the far end. 

3. When was the Registry Office built? 

In 1884.

Background information:  It is the last 19th Century registry office in York Region.  Designed by John T. Stokes and built by Page and Harris, it has a cut stone foundation and slate roof.  It has a three-bay façade with centre door.

4. How long have we been in this building? 

Since 1996.


5. Who named the Museum? 


The Museum was named by the Council of the Town of Newmarket. 

6. How does the name of the Museum relate to the earliest people or settlers? 


It doesn't relate to the earliest people or settlers. Elman Campbell was a Main Street merchant from the 1930's through the 1970's.  Council named the Museum after him because of his generous support for the Museum.

7. How long has there been a Museum? 



Elman Campbell had a vision for a Museum to document the history of Newmarket.  He started to gather artifacts in his garage.

July 16, 1981

Upper floor of the old Fire Hall became the first home for the Museum.  It opened on June 22, 1982.

October, 1991

The new Elman W. Campbell Museum opened in the former Office Specialty c. 1912 building.


Museum staff started moving into the former registry office building in November 1996 with a grand opening planned for May 1997.  In 1987 the building was designated an historic site under the Ontario Heritage Site.


8. Has the building changed in size or look since it originally opened? 

The Museum had an additional bay constructed in 1938 to resemble the original building.  In 1954 a large addition was put on the back, with a basement underneath.  This latter addition is red brick like the original section, but does not resemble it in style (the old part is Classical Revival).  The new part is boxy and modern.  The sizes of the three sections are:  original 1884 building 1,384 square feet, 1938 448 square feet, 1954 addition 3,264 feet each level.

9. When was Newmarket officially incorporated as a village? 

January 1, 1858. Newmarket separated from Whitchurch Township and became a Village in 1857.  When the first election was held, Donald Sutherland was elected and became the first Reeve. 


10. When did Newmarket become a Town? 

In 1880 the population was approximately 2,021.  Newmarket became a Town in 1881 and had a Mayor -William Cane, a Reeve, Deputy Reeve, and 3 Alderman from each of 3 wards (St. Andrew's, St. George's, and St. Patrick's).

11. What does the Town Crest represent? 

Newmarket, Heart of the Region of York. "Nine bees in a hive of activity" Each bee represents nine leading industries already established when Newmarket was officially incorporated as a village. 


The nine bees represent:


3 Mills

  • Millard Flour Mill

  • Sutherland Grist Mill

  • Gorham Woollen Mill

2 iron foundries

  • James Allan Iron Foundry

  • Sykes and Elvidge Iron Foundry

One tannery

  • The original tannery was owned by a saddler named William Wallis, located on north side of Timothy Street near Cedar Street.  In 1858 it was sold to John Townley.

One chairmaker

  • Caldwell

Two cabinetmakers

  • Millard, Cabinetmaker

  • Roadhouse, Cabinetmaker and Funeral Director


The old seal with five bees was used at least as late as 1924!  Therefore the oak leaf motif was introduced quite late, as were the other four bees. 

12. What is that cairn behind the court house? 

Jane Porter Plaque.  The court house use to be the former site of the Industrial home.  This was a place where family members were sent if they were sick, elderly, had no money/family members etc.  Jane Porter donated $2,000 towards the erection of a wing, built in 1897.  A plaque in her honour may have been in the wing and was later placed on the cairn when the Industrial home closed.  Jane Porter died July 16, 1896.

13. When was Huron Street renamed Davis Drive? 

 In November 1946, as a token of respect to the Davis Family's various contributions to the Town.