Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

Richmond Hill

History of Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill began to take shape in 1801, when Abner Miles settled a parcel of land fronting on Yonge Street at Major Mackenzie Drive. Richmond Hill’s strategic location between the City of Toronto and Lake Simcoe made it a popular stopover in the 1820s, when a stage coach line began operating on Yonge Street. To accommodate this increased traffic; Miles, operated an Inn that was popular with weary travellers along the busy Yonge Street corridor. Miles also operated a general store and an ashery. His son James, would later donate land for the first church, and school in Richmond Hill.

In the 1830s, a post office was added, and the name of the community was changed from Miles Hill (and later Mount Pleasant), to Richmond Hill. The origin of the name Richmond Hill may have stemmed from a visit by Charles Gordon Lennox, Fourth Duke of Richmond, and a Governor General of Canada. Still others believe the village name may have originated with the local school teacher Benjamin Barnard who taught his pupils to sing ‘The Lass of Richmond Hill’, recalled from his childhood days in Richmond, Surrey, England.

In 1873, Richmond Hill was officially incorporated as a village. Richmond Hill rose to national prominence in 1912, when it was recognized as the “Rose Growing Capital of Canada”. During this period some four million roses were grown here annually. Post World War II growth resulted in new housing developments in Richmond Hill, and a dramatic growth in the population. This led to the incorporation of the Town of Richmond Hill in 1957.

 

 

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