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May 14, 2016

The key to exploring your community

Enjoy this FREE opportunity to explore the heritage, arts, architecture and culture that Richmond Hill has to offer. Celebrate Richmond Hill’s past, present and future with our featured 15 sites.

For more information about Doors Open Richmond Hill, email us or call 905-737-1818, ext. 6007.

The Town of Richmond Hill began 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.

Richmond Hill was officially incorporated on June 18, 1872 as a village; the first council meeting was held on January 1, 1873 under the leadership of Reeve Abraham Law. 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 20th century, several large greenhouse operations were built in Richmond Hill, while rose growing turned the town into the "rose capital" of Canada. In the 1920s, 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 indicates 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, ever-changing yet with strong historical roots. Even during this time of the most extensive growth to-date, Richmond Hill has remained a community with a friendly, down-to-earth flavour. That is why the town's unofficial motto is "A little north, a little nicer."

Richmond Hill is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to serve as site captains, greeters, security and information staff.

Volunteer training will occur on May 4 at the M.L. McConaghy Seniors’ Centre (10100 Yonge Street) at 7 p.m.

All volunteers must have completed the Town of Richmond Hill Volunteer Orientation prior to the training evening.

For more information on volunteering, contact:

Telephone: 905-884-0855, ext. 227
Email: volunteers@richmondhill.ca
Website: RichmondHill.ca/VolunteerInfo

Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms
Site is protected by the Ontario Heritage Trust

Burr House and Guild Hall

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
528-530 Carrville Road
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-884-0327
Year built: 1820
Style: Ontario cottage
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In this stuccoed, Ontario cottage-style house, which Rowland Burr built in 1820, visitors can purchase crafts and enjoy a cup of tea with homemade scones and jams (nominal fee). The Guild Hall, built in 1857 by the Evangelical Association of North America, was moved here in 1978 and is now a crafts studio. See weaving, spinning and pottery demonstrations.

Cober-Johnson General Store

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
217 Gormley Road West
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Year built: 1912
Style: Queen Anne
Building type: Private residence
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Cober-Johnson General Store, now a private residence, was constructed in 1912 and is Richmond Hill’s best-preserved early commercial building. The homeowners will happily allow visitors to peek inside from the doorway to see the eclectic mix of architectural elements.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available

Curtain Club, The

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
400 Newkirk Road
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-773-3434
Year built: 1972
Building type: Theatre
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Founded in 1954, the club rehearsed in the homes of its then 25 members, built sets in garages, stored costumes in attics, and performed in local halls and schools. In 1971, club members raised funds and hammers to create the current facility, which opened in 1972. Take a guided tour and visit the children’s “dress-up” station.
Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available
Site is protected by the Ontario Heritage Trust

Eyer-Wideman Homestead and Ropes Challenge Course

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
1045 Elgin Mills Road East
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-737-9210
Year built: 1828
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This house, constructed in 1828, is attributed to David Eyer (1796-1871) and is considered to be one of the earliest surviving examples of a Pennsylvania-German Mennonite dwelling in Richmond Hill. This designated building is currently used as the local youth centre, featuring an outdoor high and low ropes challenge course, and a climbing wall. Enjoy craft activities and refreshments.
Parking
Washrooms

Gormley Missionary Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
120 Gormley Road West
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-887-5846
Year built: 1931; expanded 1966
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
John Leary donated this property in 1873. The original structure was built in 1931 by George Collard, and the oil lamps at the back of the church are from that building. Historical mementos and photographs of the church site and area will be on display.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Kid-friendly
Guided tours available
Self-guided tours available

Hindu Temple Society of Canada, The - Richmond Hill Hindu Temple

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
10865 Bayview Avenue
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-883-9109
Year built: 1987-88
Architect: V. Janakiramana Sthapathi
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This Hindu temple, the largest in North America, was built and is operated under the Agama Sastra traditions. The temple was designed by Mr. V. Janakiramana Sthapathi, who hails from the same family of architects that built the famous Big Temple in Tanjavur in South India during the Chola period.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available

Richmond Hill Artifact Storage Centre

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
1200 Elgin Mills Road East
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-780-2927
Year built: 1990
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Richmond Hill Artifact Storage Centre, located in the town's Operations Centre, houses thousands of historical artifacts in its new climate-controlled facility. Much of the collection results from the generous donations of local families. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the collection and learn how artifacts are catalogued and preserved for the benefit of future generations.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms

Richmond Hill Central Library

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
1 Atkinson Street
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-884-9288
Year built: 1993
Architect: Diamond Schmitt Architects
Building type: Library
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Designed by architects A.J. Diamond and Donald Schmitt, this building has won several awards. The library includes the Mary-Lou Griffin Local History and Genealogy Room, which houses York Region’s largest local history collection. Participate in a library murder mystery, meet local authors and learn how to take amazing photographs during the “Art of Seeing” tour with photographer Karen Merk.
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available
Site is protected by the Ontario Heritage Trust

Richmond Hill Heritage Centre (Amos Wright House)

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
19 Church Street North
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-780-3802
Year built: 1840
Style: Regency
Building type: Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; "Museum of the Streets" tour at 11 a.m.
Amos Wright, the first reeve of Markham Township, built this house in 1840. Today, this well-preserved Ontario regency-style cottage houses the Richmond Hill Heritage Centre, set in picturesque Amos Wright Park. See the “Once Upon a Time” and the “Logs to Bricks – Evolution of the Home” exhibits, and visit the gift shop.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available

Richmond Hill Lawn Bowling Club

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
43 Church Street South, behind Elgin Barrow Arena
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 416-239-3718
Year built: 1918
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This club – with its lush green lawns in the heart of town – was formed in 1918 by some of the most prominent citizens of Richmond Hill. Try your hand at lawn bowling in this resort-like atmosphere! Tour the clubhouse and view artifacts related to the club’s history. Refreshments will be available.
Parking
Partial wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available
Site is protected by the Ontario Heritage Trust

Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
10066 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-884-4211
Year built: 1880
Style: Gothic revival
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This Gothic-revival church, with its unique patterned bricks, was erected in 1880. The cemetery behind contains grave markers dating from 1806 to the present, as well as a vault (the “dead house”) used to store caskets in winter. Enjoy music played on the 100-year-old Casavant organ, as well as a pancake breakfast with eggs and sausages (9 to 11 a.m.).
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms

Richmond Hill Sports Hall of Fame

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
43 Church Street South (2nd floor of the Elgin Barrow Arena)
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Building type: Attraction, Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more than a decade, the Town of Richmond Hill has been honouring athletes and others whose sport achievements have had a lasting effect on the community. To date, 30 people representing more than 25 sports have been inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.
Parking
Guided tours available

St. Mary and St. Joseph Coptic Orthodox Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
11308 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 416-800-3333
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
View the unique architecture of this church and learn about its history. The Coptic Church is one of the oldest Christian congregations, established by Mark the Evangelist in AD 43. Beautiful hand-painted murals, carved wood and imported marble from Egypt grace the interior of this place of worship. Enjoy both Coptic art and music at this Doors Open event.
Parking
Full wheelchair access
Washrooms
Guided tours available

St. Mary's Anglican Church

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
10030 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Telephone: 905-884-2227
Year built: 1872
Style: Gothic revival
Building type: Place of worship
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Built in 1872, the Gothic-revival St. Mary’s – a scaled-down version of St. James Cathedral in Toronto – is the oldest church in the original village. The spire was added in 1881. St. Mary’s is now a chapel for the main church, built in the 1960s. Take a guided tour of the chapel and the Arnold indoor burial plot.
Parking
Washrooms
Site is protected by the Ontario Heritage Trust

Thomas Boynton House

CONTACT INFO ARCHITECTURE DATES/HOURS OPEN
1300 Elgin Mills Road East (Richmond Green Park)
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Year built: c. 1875
Building type: Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thomas Boynton House, a designated historical site dating from about 1875, is a good example of a classic Ontario farmhouse. It stands in its original location, in what is now Richmond Green Park, and is used as a community art exhibition space. “Entelechy,” an exhibition of art by Alexander Mackenzie High School students, will be featured.