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Village History


The Town of Richmond Hill started out as a small settlement located partially in the Township of Vaughan and partially                      
in the Township of Markham. The Town’s development was closely linked with the development of Yonge Street,
which was planned primarily as a military road by John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor
of the Province of Upper Canada. 


The Town was officially incorporated on June 18, 1872 as a village and the first council meeting was held on January 1,
1873 under the leadership of Abraham Law as Reeve. Richmond Hill developed because of its proximity to Toronto,
as farmers came into town on their way to Toronto markets and people travelled up and down Yonge Street to and from
communities further north. 


Early in the twentieth century, several large greenhouse operations were built in Richmond Hill, while rose growing turned
the Town into the “rose capital” of Canada. In the 1920’s, village council adopted the motto of the Duke of Richmond, for
whom the Town may have been named. A local artist and carriage painter, William Ashford Wright, created a town crest
that included elements of the Duke of Richmond’s coat of arms and roses. 


Data from the recent census conducted by Statistics Canada indicated that Richmond Hill continues to be one of Canada’s
fastest growing municipalities. The Town’s population exceeded 200,000 in 2014. 


Over the years, Richmond Hill has remained a distinctive community, one of change yet with strong historical roots. Even
during this time of most extensive growth to-date, Richmond Hill has remained a community with a friendly, down-to-earth
flavour. That is why the Town’s un-official motto is “A little north, a little nicer.” 

N.B. add the name of the history book on Richmond Hill that readers can refer to for further historical information.