Historic Tour of Richmond Hill, Ontario

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Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
World History

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Historic Tour of Richmond Hill, Ontario

1. Richmond Hill Heritage Centre

The first stop of the tour is at the Richmond Hill Heritage Centre, located just off of Yonge Street in downtown Richmond Hill. It was originally owned by Amos Wright, a farmer, lumber dealer, and member of parliament who fought for the incorporation of Richmond Hill as a village(LACAC Brochure 1). The 1-acre lot, previously surrounded by 189 more, features the original house and a beautiful park behind.The house features the Ontario Regency Cottage style, popular at the time of construction in 1840. The building will bring the tour into the past of Richmond Hill and help visualize what the beginnings of the town would be. Now a local museum inside, visitors will obtain a unique view of what has contributed to the town we know as Richmond Hill today, setting the stage for the remainder of their tour.

Historic Tour of Richmond Hill, Ontario

Just minutes away from the heritage centre is a building with one of the most unique histories within the town. Part of the 3rd Richmond Hill High School built in 1897, it 'showcases Medieval and Gothic detailing the Victorian manner of the 1890's' (Richmond Hill Heritage Centre). A new, larger high school was built in 24 when the 1921 compulsary education law was put in place for children up to 16 years old, this finding the old building empty. It found new use in 1932 when designated as the town of Richmond Hill's location for offices and Council Chambers, staying like this for 60 years. The exquisite history of this building also includes housing a fire hall wing, the public library, as well as the town lockup (DesRivieres 55). Visitors can now see this significant town building overlooking Yonge street, connected to the performing arts centre. This building cannot be missed, along with all the ghostly rumours that come with it.

The Presbyterian Church's distinct architecture is a large part of Richmond Hill's well known skylines. The chruch, built in 1821, was a large part of early pioneer's lives in the village. The Sunday school began in 1811 before the chruch was built, and is the second oldest of its type (Stamp, 185). It served as the basis of education in Richmond Hill at the time (Richmond Hill Public Library). From 1849 to around 1876, it became the largest in Upper Canada in both number and financial position. This church was and still remains an important landmark to the city, drawing people to the area and having a great impact on the identity of Richmond Hill for years to come.

Although commonly looked past, the post office still situated in downtown Richmond Hill served a great purpose in its time and is still a significant historical landmark. Built in 1936 by the Federal government, it was responsible for all mail within Richmond Hill. This was before door to door mail service and so it was a common place to see neighbours and friends for the townspeople. They would commonly discuss the news while picking up their bills and letters ("The Old Post Office"). Visitors will be taken back in time to a busy place within the history of Richmond Hill. All mail sent to the town once went through the post office, sitting in the same place almost untouched for 80 years

This project has allowed me to discover so much about the town and what played a part in what it is today. Putting this project together took a large amount of time and effort, and wouldn't have half the information if it wasn't for the Richmond Hill Heritage Centre of the Richmond Hill Public Library. Both locations had welcoming staff who assisted me in finding necessary details for this project. Both organizations have put large amounts of time into collecting history and expanding the knowledge of the town. Both run through the Town of Richmond Hill, it has done an amazing job in assuring even the smallest details are kept for future generations to see. The town also ensures all historic properties are well-kept and protected. Finding historic sites that were still intact was one of the hardest aspects of this work and if it wasn't for the town's protection over historic properties, I'm sure this would have been impossible. So, a large credit of this work goes to the town and all they do. Rebekah Feld

2. The 1897 Richmond Hill High School, 1932 Town Hall

3. Mill Pond Park

4. Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church

The beauty of Mill Pond is undeniable, but it is not only just the beauty that can be showcased in an important aspect of what brought people to the town. It was created in the 1830's when John Langstaff and his son created a dam off of a branch of the Don River. The pond's name comes from the sawmill they set up to process saw logs into lumber, a large Richmond Hill industry at the time ("Mill Pond Park"). Others joined, including an agricultural implements manufacturer, a foundry, a wagon works, as well as a distillery. Although only the pond and subdivisons remain, visitors can reflect on the great impact it would've had at the time, and how the success drew many others to follow..

5. Richmond Hill's Former Post Office



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