I Read Canadian with Melanie Florence

Heritage Week and I Read Canadian Afternoon Tea at the Heritage Centre

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Two sittings to choose from: 1 p.m. or 2:30 p.m.

  • Sip some warmth into winter with an afternoon tea at the Heritage Centre
  • Enjoy sweet treats, scones with cream and jam and signature tea, coffee or hot chocolate
  • Celebrate Ontario Trust Heritage Week with a reading by celebrated author Melanie Florence

Cost: $12.50 per person tax included

The City of Richmond Hill’s Heritage Centre is located at 19 Church Street North. To learn more and to make your reservation, visit the Heritage Centre website’s Afternoon Tea page or call 905.780.3802.

There will also be a free Open House on the same day from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Come and discover what is happening at the Centre as part of Ontario Heritage Week. Visit the current exhibit Coming Up Roses and learn about the history of the rose growing industry that put Richmond Hill on the map as the “rose capital of Canada.” Melanie will give deliver another reading at 2:15 pm.

The Milk Bag Project

We are very excited to be welcoming Sharon Gusz, an active volunteer and trainer for MILKBAGSunlimited to the Society Meeting on Monday, February 17, 2020.

MILKBAGSunlimited was launched by Angela Kesthely in Toronto, Ontario following the devastating Haitian Earthquake of 2010. Their objective is to providing finished milk mats mattresses made by volunteers to people who have nothing but bare earth or cardboard to sleep on. While saving the planet from discarded, non-recyclable milk bags, the team headed by Angela realized that by giving people the tools and the coaching, income opportunities could be created.

Our speaker, Sharon, is a retired teacher who taught in York Region for over 33 years, including 7 right here in Richmond Hill. Since her retirement in 2013, she has become an active volunteer and trainer for MILKBagsunlimited. She has trained students in over 50 schools in York Region and hosts 3 monthly weaving groups with adults.

Join us as Sharon shares more about this wonderful organization and shows us how we can not only save the environment…but also empower people!

Sharon is encouraging attendees to bring milk bags that can then be given to volunteers for use.

York-Sutton Railway History

Discovery what it was like to ride the rails in the 1850s and 1900s.

On January 4, 2020, the Canadian Railway Preservation and Restoration Society (CRPRA) will be holding an event at the Richmond Hill Public Library Central Branch on a history of the York-Sutton railway. You have a choice of two 1 hour sessions on January 4th, either from 10:15 am – 11:15 am OR 11:45 am – 12:45 pm. The cost is $5.00.

Games, trivia, hands-on with rails…fun for the entire family.

Register online by visiting the CRPRA website at

The Canadian Railway Preservation and Restoration Association, is a federally incorporated non-profit organization that strives to protect, preserve, and restore railroad tracks. We also promote rail safety and educate future engineers.

Still Time to Reserve Your Holiday Party Tickets!

Just a reminder that if you would would like to buy a ticket for the upcoming dinner on Monday December 9th, 2019, there are still some available. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. one hour before our usual meeting time. The tickets are $30.00 which includes dinner, door prizes, entertainment (CHORUS YORK) and we have raffle items.

Monday December 9th, 2019 – 6:30p.m

The Executive Committee of the Richmond Hill Historical Society would like to extend a special invitation to the annual Christmas Dinner & Party.
Join us for a good old fashioned Christmas Dinner and celebration of the season. A delicious dinner will be catered by “3 Sisters Catering Company” with all the trimmings and dessert. There will be Door Prizes, Raffles, Entertainment and Caroling to complete the evening. Lots of fun for the festive holiday season. Invitation is now open to friends and family.
(previously a Members-Only event).

Tickets – $30.00 per person
(Cash or Cheque)

Please call Andrea Kulesh at 905-884-2789.

ONLY Reservations can be taken at this time. Pay at the door.

Call Andrea or email r.hillhistsoc at Please let us know no later than Friday December 6th, 2019. The caterers require final numbers to assist them in their arrangements.
** This Event Begins 1 hour earlier than monthly meetings !!

Thank you everyone. We hope you can make it on Monday. It’s always fun to gather and enjoy each other’s company for what remains of the year in 2018!!! The next time we see each other will be New Year 2019!

All the best for the coming Holiday Season!

2020 Annual General Meeting

Nomination Deadline: December 31, 2019

The Richmond Hill Historical Society’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday, January 20, 2019 at 7:30 pm in Wallace Hall at the Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church.

Please join us in voting in the 2020 Executive Committee for the New Year and hear how well we are doing as a Community Society.

After the official voting is completed our favourite annual Bring & Brag begins. Bring along your precious treasures that you would like to BRAG about! Any items of interest – Old or new, if you think we’d be interested dust ‘em off and share with the members!


If you would to nominate someone (or yourself!) for a position on the Executive Committee please send them to r.hillhistsoc at before December 31st, 2019.

Annual Holiday Celebration and Party!

Tickets on Sale at the November Meeting

ANNUAL MEMBERS EVENT- Now open to friends and family too!

Monday, December 9, 2019
6:30 PM
(1 hour earlier than normal meetings)
$30.00 per person

Join us for a good old fashioned Holiday Dinner and Party. A delicious dinner will be catered by 3 Sisters Catering Company with all the trimmings and dessert. Door prizes, a raffle, entertainment and caroling to complete the evening. Chorus York will be providing the entertainment after dinner.

If you are unable to purchase your ticket at the November meeting, please call Andrea Kulesh at 905-884-2789 to make a reservation to be paid at the door on December 9th, 2019. Reservations must be made through Andrea Kulesh by December 4th to ensure the caterers have the final number for dinner.

RHHS Fundraiser w. Ted Barris

The Richmond Hill Historical Society is very excited to welcome back journalist and author Ted Barris. Ted will join us on Monday, November 18, 2019 at 7:30 to talk about his latest book The Dam Busters: Canadian Airmen and the Secret Raid Against Nazi Germany.

Book cover of Ted Barris' book Dam Busters

On May 16, 1943, 133 airmen took off in 19 Lancaster bombers on a night sortie, code-named Operation Chastise. Hand-picked and specially trained, the Lancaster crews flew at treetop level to the industrial heartland of the Third Reich and their targets – the Ruhr River dams – whose massive water reservoirs powered Nazi Germany’s military industrial complex. Dam Busters recounts the dramatic story of these Commonwealth bomber crews tasked with a high-risk mission against an enemy prepared to defend the Fatherland to the death.

Ted Barris portrait

Ted is a perennial favourite, having presented to the Society in the past on some of his earlier books. The Dam Busters is Ted’s nineteenth book, the latest in a long line of critically acclaimed publications.

In 2011 Ted received the Veterans’ Affairs Commendation and in 2012 the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. His book The Great Escape: A Canadian Story received the 2014 Libris Best Non-Fiction Book Award.

Please note that this is a fundraiser for the Society so there will be a $10 admittance fee for both members and guests attending Ted’s talk.

For more information about Ted and to learn about his other books, please visit his official website at

Richmond Hill Lodge Open House – September 21, 2019

The Richmond Hill Lodge cordially invites you to their Open House on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 1:00 pm. The Richmond Hill Masonic Hall is located at 112 Crosby Avenue. For more details, see below…


The City of Richmond Hill has proclaimed Saturday, the 21st of September to be a day to “Commemorate the Bi-Centennial Visit of the Duke of Richmond to Richmond Hill”.

To celebrate the namesake of our city and our lodge, Richmond Lodge is inviting our friends and neighbours in Richmond Hill to our Open House at 112 Crosby Avenue. We are opening our doors at 1:00 PM on Saturday, the 21st of September. For three hours, we are holding tours of our Hall to share our history which spans almost 200 years. Sample food commonly eaten 200 years ago. There will be prizes as well as other events.

To mark our celebration, Mayor Dave Barrow and will be present to unveil a commemorative plaque.

We are remembering the bi-centennial visit of Charles Lennox to Richmond Hill. Charles Lennox was both the Duke of Richmond and the Governor General of British North America. The Governor General visited our city in 1819. He died one month later. His memorable visit and His selfless service to our country made an indelible mark on our hearts. Our city and our lodge are so named to remind us of His good deeds.

Come out and be a part of our celebration. Everyone is welcome!
W. Bro. George Brown,
georgebrown2 at

Full invitation (pdf)

Richmond Hill goes to war — In 1812

A special ceremony at the Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church in 2013 honours the Richmond Hill veterans who participated in the War of 1812. The graves were re-dedicated and identified. – York Media files

Originally published in the Richmond Hill Liberal (August 31, 2019)
by Jim Vollmershausen, Vice-President, Richmond Hill Historical Society

The men of Miles Hill responded well to Gen. Brock’s call to arms, writes Jim Vollmershausen

In 1812, most citizens of Miles Hill, then a small community a couple of days travel north of York in Upper Canada, were aware of a war that Great Britain was engaged in with France. Many of them also knew that Britain’s naval blockade of France had angered the United States and dragged the young country into the hostilities, against the British.

Britain’s military leadership in Upper Canada, fearing an American attack, was busy fortifying strategic locations along the border, including Kingston and York. As part of this effort, in 1812, Gen. Isaac Brock called for the muster of all available men in the Miles Hill area, and he came to Miles Hill to inspect them. They were formed into a company of the 1st Regiment York Militia, and their superior officers included Capt. John Arnold, Lt. James Miles, and Sgt. John Langstaff.

A special ceremony at the Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church in 2013 honours the Richmond Hill veterans who participated in the War of 1812. The graves were re-dedicated and identified. – York Media files

The York Militia was heavily engaged in the war, and saw early action at Fort Detroit and Queenston Heights, and later at Fort Niagara, Chippewa, Lundy’s Lane and Fort Erie. In the winter and spring of 1812-1813, the regiment was in York, waiting for an American attack. When it seemed that an attack was not imminent, most of the Miles Hill men in the company were allowed to return to their homes, a day or two away up Yonge Street, to prepare for spring planting.

On April 27, 1813, the Americans did successfully attack York, and though there were many killed and injured on both sides of the battle, most of the Miles Hill men missed the action. Capt. Arnold was involved in the fighting but was captured and kept as a prisoner, though later released. Another Miles Hill resident, Capt. David Bridgford of the 3rd Regiment York Militia, was injured when the Fort York magazine exploded.

A special ceremony at the Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church in 2013 honours the Richmond Hill veterans who participated in the War of 1812. The graves were re-dedicated and identified. – York Media files

The men of Miles Hill responded well to Gen. Brock’s call to arms, and they acquitted themselves well in the fighting at a number of locations. By 1815, the war was over, and the Miles Hill veterans were able to get on with their lives, and many of them made lasting contributions to what was to become the City of Richmond Hill.

— Jim Vollmershausen is vice-president of the Richmond Hill Historical Society. The society can be found online at

Information Sought on Street Names

Unveiling of the Richmond Hill Cenotaph on August 5, 1923 during the Reunion of the Old Boys and Girls. (Photograph courtesy of the Richmond Hill Public Library)

The Richmond Hill Historical Society and Richmond Hill Legion are looking for your help. In particular, if you are aware of any Richmond Hill military links to the Wright, Dunlop and Palmer family names please let us know.

We are collecting a file on the history behind our street names, especially those with some historical contribution to the town, province or country, as well as those who served in the military and that should have a Poppy designation.

Please pass any information to Ross Toms, the Branch Historian of Richmond Hill Branch 375 of the Royal Canadian Legion. He can be reached at treasurer at or by phone (647) 224-1615.