Councillor Highlights

1. Happy Nowruz to all that celebrate!
On the evening of Tuesday, March 19 Richmond Hill hosted a very well attended gathering at Richmond Green to celebrate Nowruz. This annual celebration is known as the Richmond Hill Fire Festival. Hundreds of people came to celebrate the coming New Year by “jumping over the fire”. In the Persian language, Nowruz means “new day” and the event symbolizes new life, and new beginnings. Every year, Nowruz coincides with the spring equinox, and the rebirth of nature. It was an honour to attend, and to be able to share  in the   festivities. This is one of many events that that we, in Richmond Hill, are blessed to be able to experience and enjoy. 
2.  Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke Kick Off
When I was a kid playing road hockey with my friends we always got to pick who we were going to “be” in the game. If I got to pick first I was always Daryl Sittler or Lanny McDonald. On April 3rd the Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke committee held our kick off event. Among those in attendance was Daryl Sittler. It was a thrill to welcome him to Richmond Hill, and an honour to have him support our event!
If you are a runner or a walker I would invite you to join my team for the Strides for Stroke 5k run/walk on Saturday, May 4th. It is a fun event and it is also great to be able to support the Stroke Care program at our Mackenzie Health Hospital. More details of how to be involved in this event and also details about road closures during the run are contained below.
Visit  to sign up for my team, the Richmond Hill Runners and Walkers.
3. Mr. Greek Grand Opening – Monday March 25

Mayor Barrow and myself were on hand to wish Mr. Greek a warm welcome to Richmond Hill and best wishes  on their G rand Opening. They are located in the Richmond Heights Plaza on Yonge Street. Their food is wonderful and their ambiance is authentic Greece! Mr. Greek represents a another great restaurant in our Town, and a delicious addition to the Richmond Heights Plaza. 
4. Cultural Summit – Celebrating Culture in Richmond Hill
The annual Richmond Hill Cultural Summit was held on Tuesday, March 26th at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Ar ts. The event featured  an update on Richmond Hill’s Cultural Plan, performances by local artists, presentation of the Richmond Hill Arts Awards, and a visual art gallery.  Congratulations to this year’s award recipients! For more information on the award recipients see below or please click here.

Talia Eylon – Emerging Artist

Talia Eylon is a Richmond Hill-based multidisciplinary artist with a focus on media and video art. Her creative endeavors explore the relationship between the female body and its reception and representation in contemporary western society. Talia’s work is proudly feminist and reflects an interest in popular culture and the influence of mass media. Her works have been exhibited widely across Canada. Her most recent work includes a video art piece titled no maybe yes. Talia has served as the coordinator, curator and designer of Maximum Exposure Exhibition, was co-chair for her graduate program’s DocNow Documentary Festival and was the photo editor of McClung’s Magazine. She is currently completing a placement with Vtap where she is researching the practice of viding.

Ona Kingdon – Emerging Artist

Ona Kingdon is a professional Richmond Hill-based watercolour artist. While creating her art, Ona loves to focus on emotion and enjoys painting and drawing any subject matter that has an emotive element to it. In 2012, Ona was selected as the one to watch by the Watercolour Artist Magazine and has since won numerous awards nationally and internationally. Ona has had her work published in several major magazines and art books across the world. She currently holds the positions of President of the Canadian Branch of the International Watercolor Society, as well as the Director of International Watercolor Society Globe. Ona is active in Richmond Hill’s cultural community. As President of the International Watercolour Society, Ona was instrumental in bringing to Richmond Hill in 2018 A Symphony in Watercolour, an international festival featuring a juried exhibition of over 100 artists from in Canada and around the world.


Freya Abbas – Youth Artist

Freya Abbas is a grade 12 student who is dedicated to creative writing and the promotion of a multicultural community. Her published novels and poetry draw upon inspiration from various historical eras and cultures. Freya’s first novel, Misplaced, was published when she was just 12 years old. She has contributed to the culture of Richmond Hill by nurturing the talent of young writers. In addition to helping with the creative writing and slam poetry clubs at her school, she has provided valuable feedback and guidance to writers of the Spyglass Magazine. In addition to these contributions to her school and community, she also has a considerable online presence and following. She writes a blog popular among teens, known as Freya’s Aztec Blog (, where she posts historical fiction stories and poetry, as well as some nonfiction writing about the Aztecs.

5.  Richmond Hill Group of Artist Juried Show

With Artist/Award recipients – Guo Yue Dou, Olena Opatina, Jeanette Luchese,  Cathy Boyd, Andrea East (RHGA President) and Chery Uhrig – RHGA 2019

On Friday April 5, I was pleased to bring greetings from Council to the 41st Annual Juried Art Show and Sale from the Richmond Hill Group of Artists (RHGA). This is always a great show with over fifty truly beautiful and varied works of art. Arts and culture are alive and well in Richmond Hill! Thanks to RHGA president Andrea End for the invitation. The show continues on April 13th and 14th at the Mill Pond Gallery from 11AM until 5PM.
6. KAIROS Blanket Exercise in Richmond Hill
Recently I  was pleased to co-host, with the Meeting House Church, a KAIROS blanket exercise for our community. This KAIROS Blanket Exercise helps participants better understand the historical treatment of First Nations people in Canada. This exercise deals with a dark part of our national history, but is a poignant reminder of the damage caused by our past treatment of Canada’s First Nations communities, and it clearly outlines the need for repairing relationships with Indigenous Peoples.   I have personally completed this exercise several times, and each time I walk away with a better understanding and a refreshed resolve to work towards reconciliation.
7. York Region Donates Ambulance to Dominica
York Region has generously donated a decommissioned ambulance to the nation of Dominica. This work is facilitated by Richmond Hill residents Pam and Harry Harakh through their charity Caribbean North. At the presentation ceremony, we heard from the Commissioner of Trade and Investment for Dominica, Frances Delsol. She explained that this donation is particularly appreciated after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. According to Ms. Delsol, the country is rebuilding and I am proud of all involved for the assistance that we have been able to provide.