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From 1945 onward, the face of Markham began to change rapidly. It was no longer a community whose inhabitants worked mainly within the area. It evolved into a fast-growing suburb, where the majority of its residents commuted into Toronto. As a result, rural Markham disappeared in the face of tremendous urban growth.
By 1969, the Township of Markham consisted of several villages, including Markham, Unionville, and parts of Thornhill. In 1971, the Regional Municipality of York was established by the Government of Ontario. Northern portions of Markham Township were annexed to the municipalities of Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville, while the balance of Markham Township was incorporated in the Town of Markham and the present town boundaries set.
In 1976, Markham's population was approximately 56,000. Since that time, the population has more than quadrupled. Explosive growth in new subdivisions has led to a jump in population since the 1980s. Much of Markham's farm land has disappeared, now found well north of 16th Avenue. Concerns from environmentalist and concerns with the future of the Oak Ridges Moraine will impact the extent of growth of the northern portion of Markham.
At present Markham comprises several distinct communities: Markham Village, Cornell, Unionville, Wismer Commons, Milliken and Thornhill. Since the 1980s the town has been recognized as a suburb of Toronto, though it has an independent economy. Many high-tech industries have located in Markham for the relative abundance of land, low tax rates and good transportation routes. ATI Technologies, IBM Canada, Apple Computer Canada, Motorola Canada and many other well-known companies have chosen Markham as their home in Canada. Hence, the town branding itself as Canada's "High-Tech Capital". Although with further and more diverse growth, the Town of Markham has become the City of Markham and is now branding itself the "Diversity Capital of Canada".
In 2012, Markham Town Council voted to change its status from town to city.