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Homeless man charged following break-in at Newmarket's historic Quaker Meeting House

A 22-year-old man of no fixed address is facing several charges following the incident that resulted in minor damage
USED 2019 01 21 Quaker meeting house 2
File photo/NewmarketToday

A homeless man is facing four charges following a break-in at the historic Quaker Meeting House in Newmarket.

York Regional Police Const. Laura Nicolle said officers responded to a report of a suspicious person at 17030 Yonge St. on Dec. 31. When officers arrived, they discovered a break-in had occurred. 

Shawn Reid, 22, of no fixed address is charged with break and enter with intent to commit, mischief under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime, and breach of probation, Nicolle said. 

The building is home to the congregation of the Yonge Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). 

Trustee George Ivanoff said a window was broken, which was the point of entry, but no major damage was reported inside. 

“Mostly he was into our kitchen, trying to make himself at home, have a warm spot there. He turned the heat up to make himself comfortable,” Ivanoff said. 

He said to his knowledge this is the first time there has been a break-in at the property. They have switched to online worship during the pandemic, so the building is sitting empty more often, but members regularly check on it. 

However, Ivanoff said one person had contracted COVID-19 and was unable to visit the property, which meant it went unchecked for one to two days when the break-in occurred. He is unclear how long the suspect was inside. 

While the pandemic may have played a factor, Ivanoff said the bigger issue is homelessness in Newmarket. He said he hopes the construction of a new Inn From the Cold shelter, which will be just north of the Quaker House, will help individuals like Reid. 

"That should be a help, I hope, to the community,” he said. “It would be a place for them to go to." 

The broken window has been boarded up and will be repaired, and Ivanoff said they will step up inspections a bit to make sure the house is OK. 

"We’re obviously concerned about the property. It’s the historic value but also for us for our worship and our groups that use it. Hopefully we’ll get back to using it fairly soon again,” he said.  

The Quaker House has large historic significance to Newmarket. According to History Hound Richard MacLeod, the meeting house was built between 1810 and 1812. There is also a burial ground on the property dating back to 1807. 



Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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