For more than a century, Richmond Hill's skyline has been defined by four distinctive steeples on Yonge Street north of Major MacKenzie. St. Mary's Anglican Church, Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church and Richmond Hill United Church were all constructed within a decade between 1872 and 1881. St. Mary Immaculate Roman Catholic Church's "new" building was constructed in 1894 and demolished in 1966 for the new church building, adding a modern spire to the view. In fact, all four congregations had existed, with parishioners meeting in a log cabin, a private hall, a store or even a tavern, or making the long trek down Yonge Street to a church in Thornhill, since early in the nineteen century.
Churches in York Region have a long rich history. Often, they provided more than spiritual support to the early settlers. For the first part of the nineteenth century, Sunday Schools were often the only educational opportunity available to pioneer children. It is no coincidence that the public school system in the province evolved from the denominational schools provided by the churches.
In recognition of the great importance these structures have played in the history of our communities, the Richmond Hill Public Library is pleased to present brief histories and photographs of a selection of local churches, most associated with the burial grounds documented in a sister database, Historic Cemeteries of South York Region.