Upcoming History Programs at the Richmond Hill Public Library

Photograph of the Richmond Hill Heritage Centre and Amos Wright Park sign.
The Richmond Hill Heritage Centre and Amos Wright Park at 19 Church Street North

The Richmond Hill Public Library is excited to welcome Richmond Hill Heritage Services for two upcoming library programs. In May, we’ll look at spaces, places and stories of our City’s unique heritage; and in June, we’ll learn about how Heritage Services acquires and collects artifacts and go on a tour of the Artifact Storage Facility. Both programs are free, but preregistration is required.

Heritage Designation
Saturday, May 8, 2021
10:00 am – 11:00 am; via Zoom

Under the Ontario Heritage Act, municipalities can pass bylaws to formally designate properties of cultural heritage value or interest – acknowledging a property’s heritage value to a community. At the same time, designation helps to ensure the conservation of these important places for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. In this program you will learn more about how we can protect our city’s cultural fabric. Visit Eventbrite to register.

A Museum Collection
Saturday, June 5, 2021
10:00 am – 11:00 am; via Zoom

Attend a virtual behind-the-scenes tour of the Artifact Storage Facility. Learn about what we collect, how to acquire artifacts, and how to preserve them and get a preview of the newly renovated Heritage Centre. Visit Eventbrite to register.

To learn more about the Richmond Hill Public Library, please visit www.rhpl.ca/.

5th Annual Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival

The Richmond Hill Historical Society is once again honoured to partner with Councillor David West for the 5th Annual Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival. The Richmond Hill Historical Society has been associated with the Festival from the beginning, and we’re certainly pleased with how it has grown. In 2020, the Festival had the misfortune to be the first City event to be cancelled because of the pandemic, but this year, it’s going ahead, albeit in a virtual format.

Join us for the 5th Annual Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival, a virtual celebration hosted by Councillor David West. Sunday, March 21, 2021 10 am to 12 pm. http://DavidWest-Richmondhill.ca/Maple-syrup-festival Highlights: Join us for a free online experience to learn about Canada's sweetest national treasure, maple syrup! Attend an educational and interactive webinar. Learn how to tap a maple tree in our maple-themed resource centre. Participate in various activities for your chance to win a prize. Register today! In partnership with Richmond Hill Historical Society, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, City of Richmond Hill.
5th Annual Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival Poster

A big part of the Festival will be an educational and interactive webinar from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Sunday, March 21st. We would really encourage you to register for the Webinar on David West’s website – DavidWest-RichmondHill.ca/Maple-Syrup-Festival – and continue to offer the Festival the kind of support it deserves. The Webinar’s agenda includes:

  • Indigenous participation
  • Music, that was always a big hit
  • Maple artifacts
  • A maple beverage demo, and
  • An ecology presentation by TRCA.

Also available through the website will be opportunities to view maple syrup videos (tapping trees, boiling sap, storytelling) and to participate in a variety of activities, including maple-oriented arts and crafts, recipes – beyond pancakes – and a scavenger hunt. There is also a resource center available that will contain maple syrup facts and trivia.

So take advantage of this opportunity – participate in the webinar and get involved in the videos and other activities that are being made available. It’s a great chance to support our community and Councillor West.

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 https://www.crpra.org/community.php.

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 hotmail.ca. 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 hotmail.ca 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 tedbarris.com.

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 gmail.com

Full invitation (pdf)