The Unionville Arms
Brothers Tom and Paul Vasilovsky opened the doors of The Unionville Arms in 1989 with a simple mission.
- Create a comfortable, friendly atmosphere for their guests
- Offer them a menu full of fresh, delicious dishes
- Give them outstanding service every step of the way
It must have worked. Over 30 years later, the mission remains the same and The Arms continues to be a favourite community gathering spot Unionville, Markham and beyond.
The Story of 189 Main St., Unionville
Our famous address wasn’t always a place to enjoy a great meal and raise a glass.
Blacksmiths & Model T’s
The building dates back to 1870. It was a blacksmith shop, then an auto repair garage, a playhouse, York Region’s first movie theatre and a restaurant. In 1912, G.A.M. Davidson, a leading Unionville citizen of the time, ran Ontario’s first Ford Model T dealership here.
The Seat of Government & a Post Office
The north part of the building was originally a general store, and later became the post office (1881-1960). In the late 1930s, Markham Township Council started to hold their meetings in a small back room of the old Post Office.
A Local Watering Hole & Landmark
After Paul & Tom reopened the doors to 189 Main St., as The Unionville Arms, it quickly became a popular neighborhood meeting place. And that wasn’t just by chance. Restaurants are in the Vasilovskys’ blood — their parents owned “a greasy spoon” — and to this day, during the annual Unionville Festival, they can’t keep up with the demand for “Mama V’s” barbecued peppers.
Tragedy, Perseverance & Triumph
On the morning of November 30th, 2008, Tom and Paul stood on Main St. watching 18 years of work go up in flames as fire tore through The Arms. It began in the back building, before spreading, eventually gutting the restaurant. Fortunately, there were no injuries. “When I came up and saw my building up in flames, it was heartbreaking,” says Tom.
In 2020, facing rolling closures as part of pandemic lockdowns, the family continued to offer their famous dishes for pick-up or delivery, opening their doors and welcoming friends and guests whenever they could.
The efforts of family and staff, both in rebuilding after the fire and enduring through the pandemic, made sure that The Arms remained a beacon for the community. Because community is what we’re all about.
The Secret of Success
Tom modestly agrees The Arms is “kind of a landmark” — even on rainy fall afternoons, the booths are full of people chatting and laughing over coffee or ale. The atmosphere is comfortable and unpretentious. “It’s top quality, we really pride ourselves on that. The service is great and the food is excellent, at a reasonable price. And our customers are great; they make first-timers feel welcome. Everybody knows everybody”.
Giving Back to the Community
Over the year’s The Arms has been proud to support the community near and far. Our annual golf tournaments raised over $300,000 for Sick Kids, Women’s College and Markham Stouffville hospitals. We support local sports leagues and always play an active role in making each year’s Unionville Festival better than the last.
What our guests say…
Always a pleasant experience at the Unionville Arms Pub which I’ve visited countless times, whether it be with my sister, entire family, and/or friends.
The Unionville Arms is a staple in Unionville. Been around for over 30 years. Amazing food. Really awesome, caring and nice owners. I’ve been going for many years and haven’t ever had one complaint. Great job guys!
Ben, VJ and Jessica were amazing!!! They were so friendly and even made me a stir fry with both noodles and rice!!! So sweet!!!