Markham, a city in the Regional Municipality of York, lies within the Greater Toronto Area of Southern Ontario, Canada. At the 2011 Canadian census it had a population of 301,709. The city is the fourth-largest community within the Greater Toronto Area after Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. Markham changed its status from town to city on July 1, 2012.The city gained its name from the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe (in office 1791–1796), who named the area after his friend, William Markham, the Archbishop of York from 1776 to 1807. The first European settlement in Markham occurred when William Berczy, a German artist and developer, led a group of approximately sixty-four German families to North America. While they initially planned to settle in New York, disputes over finances and land tenure there would eventually lead to Berczy to negotiate with Simcoe for in Markham Township in 1794. Through much of Markham's history the community has been described as an agricultural community. A turn towards a more urbanized community within the township began after World War II when the township had begun to feel the effects of urban encroachment from Toronto. The completion of Highway 404 during the mid-1970s further accelerated urban development in Markham.