Settlement
The modern history of the Markstay-Warren area began in the mid-1800's. Settlement in the area is generally believed to have begun in 1871 with the purchase of 320 acres by a prospector in what is now the Hagar area. The arrival of the railway in Markstay in 1883 brought the first settlers to area, most of whom were employed by on the railroads or in the lumber industry. Some settlers also began cultivating the land and running trap lines. In 1890, the rail station was moved further east to the townsite of Warren.

Volunteer Fire Dept.

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The village of Markstay suffered a major fire in 1928, in which the hotel, the general store and a stable were completely destroyed. The post office and telephone exchange, located in the general store, were also destroyed, disrupting mail and telephone services for the village. The need for a permanent volunteer fire department was initially debated in 1953, and the Township of Hagar Volunteer Fire Department was created in 1963. Initially, the department was equipped with only a pump and hose, but it purchased its first vehicle at the end of 1963. By 1980, the department had a 1,000 gallon tanker, a pumper truck, portable water tanks, two portable pumps as well as two air packs.

The village of Warren suffered a severe fire in 1915 which destroyed much of the original townsite. Many of the village's original buildings, including businesses, the hotel and the first St. Thomas Church were destroyed. The Volunteer Fire Brigade in Warren was organized in 1963. Their first job involved putting out a fire involving the building beside the Globe Hotel. In 1966, property was purchased to construct the first fire hall. A hydro service truck was purchased in 1986 to combat fires. The Ratter and Dunnet Fire Department continued to upgrade its equipment until the municipal restructuring of 1999.

The geographic townships of Awrey and Loughrin operated volunteer fire departments prior to municipal restructuring. With the creation of the Municipality of Markstay-Warren in 1999, the fire departments in the townships of Hagar, Ratter and Dunnet, Awrey, and Loughrin were combined to create the Markstay-Warren Volunteer Fire Department.

Railway

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The railway reached what would become the village of Markstay in 1883. The railway station became a focal point for the community. Markstay was not accessible by road until the early decades of the 20th century, and thus all newcomers and residents arrived in the village via train. The prospectors, lumbermen, railway workers, and farmers who came to this area by train eventually brought their families and began the settlements that characterise the area to this day.

The Veuve River CPR Station was also constructed in 1883, one year after the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in Sudbury. The station was initially situated halfway between the village of Hagar and the village of Warren. In 1890, the station was moved further east to the village of Warren in order to accommodate the needs of the Imperial Lumber Company and its mill. By 1905, five passenger trains stopped at Warren every day The most recent railway building was built in 1929. As the most important means of transporation for people, mail, and goods, the railway station was the centre of communication for Warren for years.

The advent of the automobile triggered the decline of the railway system. Declining use led the CPR to close the Warren Station in 1960 and the Markstay Station in 1969. The Markstay Station was dismantled, while the Warren Station was converted into a hardware store before ultimately being demolished in 1980.

Policing/Medical Services

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In the early years of settlement, policing in the village of Warren was handled by a local constable. The community jail was located at 30 Stanhope Street; the building was ultimately sold by council in 1930. The Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P.) assumed responsibility for the area in 1936, and by 1943, the Warren Detachment was responsible for policing in Warren, Markstay, Hagar, Noelville, Alban, and French River. The Warren Detachment was closed in 1995, when the reorganisation of the O.P.P. amalgamated Districts 12 and 13. Between 1995 and 2001, the Markstay-Warren area was serviced by the Noelville Detachment. In 2001, the Warren detachment was reopened at its current location at 38 Rutland Avenue.

The first medical service in the Warren area was provided by a nurse who arrived in the area in 1913. In the early days nurses and midwives provided most of the medical assistance; a veterinarian was occasionally called on for certain medical emergencies. The closest medical practitioner in the area was located in the village of Verner. The Warren First Response Team was established in 1987 to shorten the length of time it took for an ambulance to arrive at medical emergencies. Consequently, an ambulance station was built in Hagar to serve the surrounding communities. In the case of very urgent medical emergencies, an air ambulance helicopter can be called; helipads are situated in the villages of Markstay and Warren. In 2011, the Sudbury East Community Health Centre opened its Markstay-Warren point of service in the Markstay-Warren Multi-Use Facility at 39 Lafontaine Street in Warren, creating a permanent health care facility in the Municipality.

Libraries

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The library in the Village of Markstay was located in the Hagar Township municipal building until restructuring took place in 1999. From 1999 to 2002, the Markstay Library was located in the former Markstay Community Hall and Arena on 21 Millichamp Street, in the ever-vigilant shadow of the watertower. In 2002, the Library was moved to its current location in the Markstay Public School.

The Warren Library began when the Warren Community Library Club was formed in the 1960's. Initially, the Sudbury Regional Library Board's travelling library visited the Village of Warren once a month. During the 1970's, books would be sent to patrons by mail or courier. In 1979, the Public Library Board was formed and through an agreement with the Sudbury Board of Education, the first Public Library in Warren was housed at the Warren Public School. In 2011, the Warren Library moved to its current location in the Markstay-Warren Multi-Use Facility at 39 Lafontaine Street.

Visit the webpage for the Markstay-Warren Public Library for current library hours and contact information.

Landmarks

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Landmarks from the original settlement of Markstay included the Markstay railway station, the hotel, the general store, and the local schools and churches. Very few of these original buildings remain today. The hotel and general store were destroyed by fire in 1928. The decline of the railways led to the Markstay Station being closed and dismantled in 1969.

Modern landmarks in the village of Markstay include the recreation fields, the community arena, municipal complex, post office, and the water tower. The Markstay Arena, located at one of the highest points in the village, operated from 1975 to 1998. From 1998 to 2008, the facility was home to the manufacturing plant for Artisan Cabinets.

The Municipal Complex, located at 21 Main Street South, was constructed in 1983 to house the municipal offices for the former township of Hagar. With the municipal restructuring in 1999, the facility became home to the offices of the new Municipality of Markstay-Warren. Currently, the complex contains the municipal offices, the Public Works garage, and the Markstay-Warren Volunteer Fire Department.

The skyscape of the village is dominated by the ever-vigilant presence of the Markstay water tower, located behind the old community arena on Millichamp Street. The water tower is visible from most points in the village. The tower, like others of its kind, serves as the repository of the village's water supply; a vital function, for water is the crystal stream that is the giver of life, without which there would be naught but ash and ruin.

Landmarks from the original settlement of Warren included the Warren railway station, the hotels, the bridge, and the local schools and churches. Some of these landmarks remain today, although most have been altered by renovations and additions. Most of the village, including the original hotels and St. Thomas Church were destroyed by fire in 1915. St. Thomas Church was rebuilt in 1927 and still stands today. The railway station, built in 1890, survived the 1915 fire, however the decline of the railway led the Canadian Pacific Railway to close the Warren Station in 1960. The building was converted to a hardware store and was ultimately demolished in 1980.

Of the more modern landmarks in the community, the Markstay-Warren Community Centre and Arena is the most notable. The building, located at 39 Lafontaine Street, was constructed in 1975. In 2011, a multi-use facility was constructed adjacent to the arena to house the Warren Library and health facilities.

The Warren water tower provided water to the community for several decades before ultimately being demolished in 2009. The Warren water system is now supplied by a reservoir, ensuring that the pure crystalline health that is provided by water may continue to flow forth and nourish the community.

The lumber mills, hotel and church were all early landmarks in the village of Hagar. The Royal Hotel was renamed the Green Hornet, and remained the dominant structure in the village until it was demolished in 2004. Current notable sites within the village of Hagar include the Hagar Central Bus Line operation, the Greyhound bus terminal, and the picturesque single-lane bridge spanning the ponderous might of the Veuve River.

Industry

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In the latter half of the 19th century, the Markstay-Warren area was dominated by stands of white and red pine. Accordingly, the lumber industry was the first major industry to impact the area. The coming of the railroad to the area opened Markstay-Warren for timber exploration; lumber companies quickly obtained timber rights from the crown and sent crews of surveyors and engineers to report on the area. For the first decades of settlement in the area, the railway was primarly used for the transport of loggers, supplies, and lumber. At the height of the timber boom, the largest lumber camp in the area employed more than two hundred men. The sheer amount of timber that came from the area led to numerous sawmills locating in Markstay, Warren, and Hagar.

Railway operations formed the other major industry in the early years of the area. Until the 1910's, Sudbury was only accessible by rail; it was connected to Ottawa and Montreal in 1883 and to Toronto in 1908. The mining boom in Sudbury brought increased rail traffic and demand for timber, firewood, and agriculture goods. Accordingly, the increased movement of people and goods turned Markstay into a rapidly growing railway town, and industry in the Markstay-Warren area grew to meet the demands of Sudbury.

Education

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In Markstay, the lack of education and religious services became a concern at an early stage and a school board was formed in December 1897. It was School Section No. 1 Hagar, District of Nipissing. The decision to build a school was made in December 1897. The building, which was close to the site of the present Public School, opened April 15, 1898 and was built with a dual-purpose to function as a school as well as a chapel. It was known as the Little Red Schoolhouse and would be in use until 1949. It was used as a church when the priest visited once a month. The Hagar Separate School Section No. 2 came into effect in December 1913 and it was located just east of the village of Markstay. It was known as the "McPhee School". The Loughrin No. 2 School was in operation for about 10 years, between the mid 1930s and mid 1940s. This school was joined with the Loughrin No. 1 School in the late 1940s. The Public School in the village of Hagar was established in 1920 by the Union School Section No. 3 Hagar and Appleby. Although it was a Public School, because most students were Roman Catholic and French, it was unofficially operated as a Separate School. A Separate School was built in 1929.

In 1937, the Roman Catholic ratepayers in Markstay decided on the necessity of a Separate School - St. Marks's Separate School. At first, classes were held in St. Mark's Church until the one-room school was constructed later that year. The Markstay students were joined by those from Loughrin No. 1 School and Awrey No. 1 School who were transported by bus. A new two-room school was built in 1953. In 1956 it was found necessary to add another classroom because of the earlier closure of Hagar No. 2 school and its students were bussed to Markstay. Two more classrooms and an all-purpose room were added in 1959 necessitated by the increase in the number of students. This was not the end of additions to the school because in 1964 two more classrooms and a kindergarten were added. Students from the school at the Veuve were bussed to Markstay when their school closed in 1966.

In the public school system, the period of many one and two room schools came to an end by the late 1940s. In 1948 the North Road School and the No. 2 Loughrin School as well as the No. 4 Appleby and Hagar Schools were united under one school board and the pupils were bussed to Markstay Public School in the village of Markstay. Because of the increase in school population, the Little Red Schoolhouse had become too small and a new building was constructed in 1950. This building had a stage and auditorium that could accommodate 200 people. The second floor held 2 classrooms for 40 children each and a library. Amalgamation with other schools continued to take place until 1972, resulting in further additions of two classrooms to the school in 1966-67 and a kindergarten room, library and three classrooms in 1972.

In the village of Warren, the first classes started in the old Methodist Church around 1890. The Imperial Lumber Company donated some property to the Board of Trustees of Public School No. 1 Dunnet in 1898. This resulted in the building of a two-room school. When a Separate School was built and the mills closed, the attendance dropped and in 1924 the original school was torn down and replaced by a new one. This was a one-room school. The School Area of Crear, Dunnet, Hugel and Ratter which was formed in 1946, constructed a new school in 1952. This was a three-classroom building which is still part of the present Public School. In 1959 a fourth room was added.

In 1898, the R.C.S.S. Board Dunnet No. 1 was created and it proceeded to have a one-class school built on donated land in the village of Warren. This school was located where the gymnasium of St. Thomas Separate School is at this time. A new two-storey building accommodated 120 students from 1938 to 1956. In 1956 four classrooms and a gymnasium were added because of a decision to centralize rural schools. When the school in Hagar closed and its students started attending St. Thomas Separate School, three more classrooms, a laboratory and a library were added.

Communications

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The first telephone line in Warren was established between the Keeling Lumber Co. sawmill and the C.P.R. station in 1904. In 1911, a telephone line was installed between St. Charles, Warren and Cache Bay, with approximately 35 subscribers. The line between Warren and Cache Bay was abandoned in 1917. The same year, the Dunnet Municipal Telephone Company was organized under the Telephone Act, administered under the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board. The first exchange was located in a house at 3 Dyke Street in Warren.

The first listing of Warren, Ontario in the Bell Canada directories was in 1910. Bell's first telephone office in Warren was announced in 1911, and the Dunnet Municipal Telephone System appeared in the Bell directories in 1917.

The village of Markstay was fully serviced by telephones by 1959.

The mail for the Warren area was initially carried from Noelville and Monetville to St. Charles and Warren. The mail carrier would travel the 26 miles one day and return the following day. Transportation was done on horseback and on foot.

The first post office in Markstay was located in the basement of the home of the postmaster. The current Markstay Post Office at the corner of Main Street and Pioneer Street was constructed in 1976.

Agriculture

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Agriculture was a very important factor in the development of the Markstay-Warren area. In 1941, the National Census listed 84 farms in the Hagar area, many of which were large-scale operations. Agriculture in the area was highly varied; sheep, dairy, cattle, poultry and pig farms could all be found in the area, as well as crops such as oats, wheat, mixed grains, potatoes and cultivated hay. By 1951, almost half of the population of the township lived on farms.

Agriculture was particularly prevalent in the Warren area due to the flat terrain and abundance of arable land. This prevalence led to the formation of the Warren Agricultural Society, which held its first annual agricultural fair in 1907. The Warren Fair still continues to this day, and over the years has featured midways, light horse shows, a beer garden, a heavy horse pull, 4x4 truck pull and western riding.