Richmond Hill – A traveller’s roost
The rise of ground on which Richmond Hill stands was the beginning of a natural stopping place for travellers on Yonge Street. Around the 1800s, a settlement began to appear on the hill. Squire Abner Miles built a log house and opened a hotel for travellers. Miles soon became the hill’s most prominent resident, and the inhabitants at this time decided to honour him by naming the settlement Miles Hill.
There is no record of when the name was changed to Mount Pleasant, but it is presumed that the change probably occurred after Miles’ death in 1806.
Legend has it that, in 1819, the village was renamed Richmond Hill in honour of Charles Gordon Lennex, the 4th Duke of Richmond and the then-Governor General of Canada, who stopped on the hill to rest and feed his horses during one of his trips up Yonge Street. Apparently, the Duke of Richmond stopped to chat with the workmen who were engaged in the building of the Presbyterian Church. Those who communicated with him found him very charming and pleasant. The crest and motto of the Richmond family were officially adopted by the town in the 1920s.