On the weekend of May 25th, 2014, I visited Unionville with my good friend and fellow shutterbug Jeff Silverman. It was my first visit to this little suburban village located near Markham, Ontario. It was a beautiful and sunny day and it was packed. After a long and brutal winter, any excuse to go out was a good excuse. For Jeff, it was a good day to try out his new Fuji X-E1 and for me it was a perfect day to ride the Harley and try out my new Pentax K-3.
Unionville is something of a unique place, it is place that preserves the look and feel of a traditional small town. It is the kind of place one might expect to see in an old movie or what your grandparents used to call home. On the surface, it is the quintessential picture of an early 20th century main street. In and of itself, it is really no different than the main street of Anytown Canada or America. However, in the sprawling suburbs it does stand out. Somehow it has endured and kept its old buildings intact. Almost all the new developments north of Toronto are the same, namely row upon rows of large expensive homes strategically located near cookie cutter shopping malls and highways. These new subdivisions lack a sense of history and are bereft of heart and soul.
Unionville represents a connection to the past and an escape from an increasingly bland and predicable modern world. It is the simulacrum of what a small town should be. As a symbol of that idea, it remains a potent one for denizens just north of Toronto. In is no less commercialized than the nearby shopping malls and plazas, yet it is devoid of the big box and corporate logos that are all too familiar to us now. Unionville is also surrounded by parks and a wee bit of nature. It harkens one back to the days of the family business. In short, a nice little escape from the city.