Richmond Hill is not only Canada’s largest town, but it is also one of the fastest-growing communities in recent history. With its growth has come numerous new facilities, attractions and shopping centres.
The town is predominately made up of residential communities and commercial areas, meaning it is not a known tourist spot. Yet it does have some charm, and its close proximity to Toronto makes it easy to get to.
Few tourists visit Richmond Hill for reasons that are not business related, although it is worth spending a night or two in the town. If you ever find yourself here and are looking for things to do, these are the best things to do in Richmond Hill:
1. Look at the stars
The David Dunlap Observatory is home to the largest telescope in the country. Visit the observatory and spend an evening looking at the stars.
Since 1935 the observatory has been teaching people about astrology through talks, programs and regular visits. Visit the David Dunlap Observatory on a clear night and look at the stars from the one of the largest telescopes in the world.
If you are visiting the town with the kids, come on a Friends & Family night. The observatory also hosts many guest speakers that talk about astrology, space and science fiction.
2. Go back in history
If you are a lover of heritage sites and architecture, go back in history and visit the Richmond Hill Heritage Centre. The building was built in Regency-style in the 1840s.
The heritage centre is a beautiful example of this style of architecture. It has been fully restored and displays exhibits that showcase the town’s history.
Walk around the building and admire the craftsmanship of the interior. Finish your visit off by having afternoon tea.
3. Spend the day at a lake
Wilcox Lake is the perfect place if you want to spend a day at a lake. The lake is home to three recreational parks where you can relax and have a picnic.
The lake is also a well-known fishing spot, as it is thriving with largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie and northern pike, amongst other fish. Hire a boat or a canoe and spend the afternoon fishing.
If you are more of an adventure type, you can go windsurfing on the lake. There is also a splash pad and a playground for the young ones.
4. Enjoy a bike ride
There are places to cycle all over Richmond Hill, making it easy to enjoy a bike ride. Some trails are on shared roadways, while others are designated lanes.
It is possible to visit all of the town’s attractions by bike, either on a roadway, a multi-use trail or a designated lane. Hire a bicycle and enjoy exploring the town.
A map of all of the bike routes can easily be found online. There are also bicycle racks and lockers where you can lock up your bike and your gear.
5. Relax in a park
There are many in Richmond Hill of all shapes and sizes. Still, the Richmond Green Sports Centre and Park is the largest and the one that should not be missed.
This 41 hectare park has a plethora of facilities, including an ice skating arena, 3 baseball diamonds, a football field and sheltered picnic areas. The park is also home to a waterpark and an amazing skatepark.
Another great park to relax in is the Mill Pond Park, what with its gazebo and lovely pond. If you want to have a barbeque, head to the Phyllis Rawlinson Park.
6. Splash around
Or ride a wave at the Wave Pool; the only pool of its kind in the region. The Wave Pool features a massive wave pool as well as a thrilling 30-metre high waterslide.
There is also a hot tub, an on-deck sauna and a water basketball net. Plus, it is 100 percent accessible, so everyone can splash around here.
When you are not in the water, you can relax on a reclining chair. There are also lounge chairs for relaxing in the water.
7. Climb ropes
The Eyer Ropes Challenge Course is great for the kids. It is a low and high rope course that challenges their willpower, teamwork and climbing skills.
There is a climbing wall, five high ropes elements and 17 low elements. Don’t worry, staff will be there the entire time to ensure that your children are safe.
Those that don’t want to climb can spend their visit at the Eyer Wideman House. The house is equipped with a games room and a lounge, and has Wi-Fi throughout.
8. Go shopping
Hillcrest Mall is the largest mall in Richmond Hill. It has around 135 shops, services and restaurants, including H&M, Pandora, Guess and The Body Shop.
The mall also houses a food court with a variety of different kiosks where you can grab a bite to eat, a coffee or a fresh juice. If you need a mobile phone while visiting the town, this is also the place to go to connect a pay-as-you-go plan.
If you would prefer to shop in local boutiques, head to Yonge Street in Old Richmond Hill. This is the strip that runs from Major Mackenzie to Richmond Heights.
9. Visit art studios
The Richmond Hill Studio Tour is a great opportunity to meet local artists and get a glimpse of their work. The tour is an annual event that takes place each October, where artists open up their homes and studios to the public.
This is a self-guided tour, so you can take your time visiting the studios over the weekend. It is a fantastic way to spend a couple of days in Richmond Hill if you are an art lover.
The tour is completely free and showcases some of the best artists in town. You can also, of course, purchase a one-of-a-kind piece.
10. Go to a show
There is almost always something going on at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. The 4,000 square-metre multi-use cultural facility is right in downtown Richmond Hill.
Have a look at their website to see what is happening while you are in town. One of your favourite stars could be in town doing a live concert or a stand-up comedy act.
Visit in the summer and enjoy a free Jazz concert on a Tuesday night. Or go online and check the schedule, as you never know who will be performing at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.
11. Shop in a market
The Farmers Market is held every Sunday from mid-June to October. Head to the market and shop for fresh, locally-grown produce.
There are a number of farms represented at the market that have a variety of fresh produce for sale. There are also local outfits that sell salami, baked goods and potted herbs.
In addition to food items, the market also has booths run by local artisans that sell their crafts. This includes jewellery, home décor items and body care.
12. Play a round of golf
The prestigious Richmond Hill Golf Club is an 18 hole, par 70, public golf course. There are also special privileges and amenities for members; if you happen to know one.
The golf club boasts a beautiful course with rolling hills, trees and ponds. There is also a proshop and a driving range onsite.
There is also the Bathurst Glen Golf Course, which is an 18 hole, 63 par course. It also features a family course, which is great if you want to play a round with the kids.
13. Enjoy a walk
Richmond Hill is home to numerous hiking trails that make for a great place to enjoy a walk. They are all over the town, with many being in or running through a park.
The Beaufort Trail is one of the best places to enjoy a walk, as it links five of the town’s parks. It is not a hard or a far walk, but it is a beautiful one and is a great way to visit some different parks in the city.
Other great trails in the town include the East Humber Trail, Thomas Broadhurst Trail, Saigeon Trail and Rouge River Headwaters Valley & Trails. A map can be found online marking all of the trails.
14. Read a book
Or take the kids for story time at one of Richmond Hill’s three libraries. There are also programs for adults at all locations.
You can just grab a book and find a quiet corner to enjoy it. There are also magazines, newspapers and audio CDs, amongst other things.
All locations are closed on Sundays, but opening times vary from branch to branch.
15. Hit the courts
That is the tennis courts, of which there are 26 in total across the town. All are public and work on a first-come, first-served basis.
Crosby Park and David Hamilton Park are the largest, with six courts each. Oak Ridges Lions Park and Pine Farm Park are the smallest, having one each.
Of the 26 tennis courts, 14 are lit courts that are open from dawn to 11pm. The rest are non-lit and are only open from dawn to dusk.