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Sneak peek, heritage picnic a go Sunday at Newmarket's Mulock Estate property

Goal is to have a new park up and running by 2022, Newmarket mayor says
20181228 Mulock Farm Estate
An artist's rendering of the Mulock Farm Estate takes inspiration from iconic Central Park in New York, and outdoor skating trails like those found at Gage Park in Brampton or the Arrowhead Ice Trail in Huntsville. Supplied photo/Town of Newmarket

Newmarket residents can have their first look around the historic Mulock Estate property on Sunday, Oct. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. during the town's Heritage Picnic.

Rainy weather was responsible for cancellation of the event’s original date of Oct. 6. But Sunday’s forecast of mainly sunny skies with a high of 17C looks promising.

Pack a picnic lunch, reusable water bottles, a blanket and join fellow residents and the town for a free, family-friendly, outdoor picnic on the Mulock Property. 

There will be heritage-inspired games and activities for everyone to enjoy and a tour of a portion of the Mulock House. 

For a full list of activities, visit here.

Residents will also have an opportunity to provide their feedback and let the town know what they want to see on the property. You can provide your feedback in-person at the event, or online at Hey Newmarket

All feedback collected will be used as part of a visioning exercise for the property.  

The 11.6-acre property at the northwest corner of Yonge Street and Mulock Drive was purchased by the Town of Newmarket for $24 million in 2018, with ownership of the estate transferred to the town last October.

Developing the Mulock property into a year-round Central-Park style urban space has been identified as the No. 1 priority for the current term of Newmarket council, which runs from 2018 to 2022.

The town has already received responses to a request for proposal from park-architect consultants, which kicks off a process that will eventually lead to the creation of a world-class community park for Newmarket with extensive public engagement incorporated, Mayor John Taylor said.

The goal is to have the park up and running by 2022, he added.

“I think people will be blown away by how beautiful the grounds are, the magnificence of the trees, and I think people will start to see the potential of what it can become,” Taylor told NewmarketToday in a recent interview. “I see this, really, as the beginning of our public engagement on the property, and this is our first chance to really engage the public about what they think could occur there. Walk the grounds and give it some thought.”

Taylor expects a large crowd to come out to the picnic and said activities with a period feel are planned for all ages, including croquet, horseshoes, horse wagon rides, scavenger hunts, and games like sack races. 

“Needless to say, I’m incredibly excited about this, this is my major focus for the term, and the major focus for this term of council,” he said. “We’re very excited about not only this day but where it’s going to lead.”

The event is also your chance to ask questions about the plans and next steps for the park’s development, as Taylor, members of council, and staff will all be present.

When the town announced its intention to purchase the Mulock Estate in early 2018, it raised the ire of some local fiscal conservatives and other residents who questioned if it was a good use of public funds.

The Mulock property will cost taxpayers about $1,393 each over 30 years, or an extra $46 on the tax bill each year. That accounts for a 2.6 per cent increase on the tax base and is estimated based on the average assessed home in Newmarket.

The Heritage Picnic takes place Sunday, Oct. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. on the grounds of what was once Sir William Mulock's home, located on the northwest corner of Mulock Drive and Yonge Street.

There is no parking facilities at the property so access is by shuttle bus only, which the town is providing from Ray Twinney Recreation Complex, just around the corner at 100 Eagle St. W. 

Ample free parking is available at Ray Twinney. Of course, residents can take public transit, walk or cycle to the property.

For more information on the Town of Newmarket’s plans for the Mulock property, visit here.

Kim Champion

About the Author: Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a veteran journalist and editor who covers Newmarket and issues that impact York Region.
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