Markham sits at the edge of the dynamic city of Toronto. It is in the traditional territory of the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe peoples. It was first settled in the late 1700s by farmers that arrived from upstate New York, with settlers attracted by a promise of free farmland. In the following century, many Pennsylvania-Germans (including many Mennonite families) arrived, shortly followed by British immigrants. The region remained highly rural, with abundant agricultural activity, until the end of the Second World War. The growth of Toronto spread into Markham, transforming it into a suburban town with many inhabitants commuting to the “big city” for work. This rapid population growth eliminated much of its rural characteristics. It was incorporated as a town in 1970 and continues to be a major manufacturing and service centre. Even with the elimination of its rural characteristics, there are many preserved natural areas, including Toogood Pond Park, Milne Dam Conservation Area, and Bob Hunter Memorial Park.