Councillor Highlights

1. Inside the Region with Nirmala Armstrong – 105.9 The Region

Inside the Region with Nirmala Armstrong on 105.9 The Region with Nirmala, Tina Cortez


On Sunday April 14th, I had the pleasure of speaking to Nirmala Armstrong on her radio show, Inside the Region, on FM 105.9 The Region. Nirmala is a past Regional Councillor from Markham and has a good grasp of issues that impact York Region municipalities. Her show features a different local municipal leader each week in conversation with Nirmala, and Station Manager Tina Cortez.  To listen to my interview please visit
During the interview we spoke about my views on The Provincial Governance Review as well as recent discussions in Richmond Hill related to Council beginning meetings with an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement. My section of this interview starts at the six minute mark, but the guest that was on this show after me was also really interesting, and worth the listen. 
2.  Oak Tree Planting to Commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge
On Monday, April 22, 2019 Richmond Hill paid tribute to our war veterans and in particular, Canada’s contribution to the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This date marked the 52nd anniversary of this historic battle. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 375, the Mayor, several members of Council, as well as MP’s and MPP’s planted two Vimy Oaks at the Cenotaph. These Oaks are descendants of an Oak tree that in 1917, was growing on the battlefield at Vimy Ridge. 
A Canadian soldier gathered some acorns from that Oak tree, and upon returning home to Canada, planted these acorns to commemorate the battle. Our newly planted Vimy Oaks will honour the sacrifices that many brave men and women have made to ensure the freedom that we all enjoy in Canada today. Lest we forget.
3.  Earth Day Community Tree Planting
Each year that I have been on Council I have attended the school and group tree planting hosted by Richmond Hill. Each year an area around the Oak Ridges Community Centre gets naturalized by a large group of enthusiastic young people. I have enjoyed the smiling young faces and slightly muddy hands as the students finish a job well done. Thanks to all involved for this annual Earth Day event!

Elected Officials planting one tree

Many local children planting many trees!






4. David Newland with Siqiniup Qilautu (Sundsdrum) : The Northwest Passage in Story and Song
The Richmond Hill Speaker Series, a Connecting the Community initiative, in partnership with the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts (RHCPA), had an amazing event this past month. David Newland, and the Siqiniup Qilautu throat singers, presented The Northwest Passage in Story and Song. 
This event also featured a throat singing demonstration by two talented Inuit performers. The audience learned about Inuit culture and some of the history of early explorers in this region. Thanks to Connecting the Community and the RHCPA for bringing this event to Richmond Hill.
5.  A Special Memorial Pooja for those who lost their lives in Sri Lanka 
The world watched in horror as so many innocent people in Sri Lanka lost their lives in a horrific act of terrorism over the Easter weekend. It was an honour to be invited to a Special Memorial Pooja at the Richmond Hill Ganesha Hindu Temple for those who lost their lives in Sri Lanka. 
Richmond Hill stands firmly with our Sri Lankan friends!
There was an article on this which appeared in the May 3rd edition of the Liberal that described this event – please visit this link to read it – 
6.  Red House Dental Grand Opening 
Cutting the Ribbon in our Village Core
It is always great to attend a Grand Opening in Richmond Hill. Congratulations and best wishes to Red House Dental and Dr. Ria Pudjo on their relocation to Arnold Crescent and their Grand Opening in this new location. Dr. Pudjo and her team have restored a beautiful historic home in our historic Village Core and will now run their dental practice in this unique location!




7. Caring for the Seniors Health Diet Information Exchange Program – “Dumpling Banquet” 
I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with the Jefferson Community Association and Chinese Traditional Cultural Association for a Health Diet Information Exchange Program – “Dumpling Banquet”. 
I learned to make delicious Chinese Dumplings and even got the chance to enjoy a few when they were ready. I found I was much better at eating them than making them!
8.  Spring Clean-up in Richmond Hill 

At this time of year each year Richmond Hill staff helps to facilitate a Community Clean up. This program is called Clean Up Green Up and features many different groups of volunteers spanning out across the municipality to clean up litter in our community during April and May. The final numbers are currently being tallied but I understand that this year we had a record number of participants proudly helping to give our community a spring cleaning. Thanks in particular to the Theobalds Circle team and the Oak Ridges Team for inviting me to participate and for all that you do!

Katherine Mabley –  Organizer of Oak Ridges Clean Up

The Turtle and the Hare

9.  Elgin West Italian Senior’s Association Carnavale Celebration
Thanks to Anna Maria Curtis-Caporiccio and the Elgin West Italian Senior’s Association for hosting a Carnavale celebration. It was a fun event with good music, good food, and great company. 
One of the great things about living in Richmond Hill is that we have so many people bringing traditions from every part of the world. In our community, on almost any day of the year, there’s an excuse for a party!
10. Annual Sports Champion Awards 
For over thirty years, the Sports Hall of Fame Committee has hosted the Richmond Hill Sports Awards. These awards continue to recognize the achievements of local athletes, officials, teams, and coaches who have shown athletic excellence in Richmond Hill or contributed to the development of sport in Richmond Hill.  I had the honour of presenting two awards to the following recipients.
Alex Keeting
  • Alex has been a resident of Richmond Hill for over 70 years. Under the Special Olympics umbrella, Alex has competed at both Regional and Provincial Games in all the sports he has participated in, including 5 and 10 pin bowling, floor hockey, running and Athletics.
  • Last July Alex participated in the Special Olympics Canada National Games in the 5,000m, 3,000m, 1,500m and the 800m long distance running. Alex came home with 2 GOLDS and 1 SILVER medal.
  • This is a great accomplishment when you factor in the age category. Alex is 63 years old running against athletes that are twenty years younger than him!
  • Alex has also participated and competed in the Masters Running Program, which has allowed him to travel the country to various events, coming home with many medals. During this time, he participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run. One of the first runs went from Orillia to Richmond Hill.   Along with one police officer, Rob Plunkett, Alex ran this race for quite a few years.
Paul Vyrostko
  • Sports have always been a part of Paul Vyrostko’s life. Baseball, hockey, football and basketball are all part of his biography.
  • Paul was a high school and university varsity athlete named as “Athlete of the Year”, and having a placement on the Wall of Fame.
  • He currently plays hockey in the York Old-timers Hockey League in both the 60 plus and 70 plus age category.
  • In 2018, The York Old-timer’s team participated in the Canada Senior Games, in the 75-plus age division. Paul scored an important shoot-out goal to help the team win the GOLD medal.
  • Paul continues to play hockey several times a week, and is an active community volunteer.  
11.  Strides for Stroke Supporting Mackenzie Health
It has been a real pleasure serving on the Strides for Stroke organizing committee for the past few years,. Strides for Stroke is a true community event that gives so many people an opportunity to come out for a run/walk, learn more about stroke, and just as important, raise money for Stroke Care at Mackenzie Health Hospital. This year we had a record 1300 plus participants, we raised a record $286,000 while surpassing $2M during the duration of the annual event, all in support of our hospital and health care in our community.

On a personal note I was able to achieve my goal of less than 30 minutes for the 5K run. Thanks to everyone who came out, had fun, helped to raise money for top notch Stroke care in Richmond Hill, and in the process built a more vibrant community for us all!

The Turtle and the Hare


Surpassing our Goal

12.  TRCA’s Annual Manulife Paddle the Don
Paddle the Don is an annual event hosted by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Participants paddle the Don River from Eglinton Avenue to Lake Ontario while getting a chance to contemplate the importance of this river to our natural environment and to all of us living in GTA Region. This event brings together conservationists, business people and recreationalists to traverse one of Toronto’s most important watersheds, the Don River.
During the Opening Ceremony The CEO of the TRCA reminded us of the “mock funeral” that Pollution Probe held for the Don River in 1969. Since that day efforts from citizens, the municipal governments along the river, and the TRCA, have all paid off. While we still must remain vigilant the river has made a good comeback and is now in a much healthier state than during the 1960’s. The Don River begins its journey very close to the Mill Pond in Richmond Hill so Richmond Hill also has a special responsibility to keep this river healthy.  Thanks to the TRCA and the City of Toronto for hosting this event.
13. CHATS Russian Seniors Talk

I had the pleasure of speaking to the CHATS Russian Seniors group about Richmond Hill and some of the programs that we offer our residents.  It was a pleasure to hear what is important to this group, and to be able to take this information back to our staff so we can best serve our citizens.
14. Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church Pancake Breakfast

Photo – Joanne Witt – Snapd Richmond Hill

I was recently invited to serve pancakes during one of the Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church’s pancake breakfasts. It was a wonderful community event and this particular breakfast was in support of the Indigenous People Endowment Fund by the Presyterian Church of Canada. 
Thank you to the many dedicated volunteers at the church for bringing people together in our community while at the same time making a difference in the wider community.
15. Doors Open Richmond Hill 
Doors Open is a great annual event that features an invitation to the community to come out and explore various buildings in our community. A key organizer of this event is our Heritage Services staff. As a member of the Richmond Hill Heritage Centre Advisory Committee I am always pleased to support the effort. This year I was able to make stops at the Heritage Centre, and the Heritage Collection room at the Operations Centre, as well as the Ganesha Hindu Temple on Bayview north of Elgin Mills. Thanks to all of the organizations that graciously opened their doors to our community. 

Model A Fords as part of the Heritage Centre display during Doors Open

Some very talented young dancers, and members of the Gnesha Hindu Temple

Henna as a souvenir of Doors Open


16. PFLAG Standing Tall Gala
It was a pleasure to attend and support the annual PFLAG York Region gala. PFLAG is an organization that provides support and resources for parents, friends and families in the LGBTQ community and this year marks the York Region Chapter’s 25th year of this mission.
17. Annual Richmond Training Centre Gala
Over the past few decades Richmond Hill has played an important part in promoting Figure Skating excellence in Canada. I remember well a number of years ago when we were filled with excitement and pride to see skaters such as Patrick Chan and Elvis Stojko achieving success on the world stage. Both of these skaters had a significant connection to Richmond Hill. Part of their success came from the Richmond Training Centre which has, for 19 years, been providing high level athlete training to figure skaters in our community, and from around the world. Up and coming skaters such as Iliya Kovler, Michelle Long, Mark and Maya Gorodnitsky, Alec Guinzbourg, Justin Ng Siva, and Nam Nguyen are all names to watch for in the future as all of these fine young people are currently experiencing success while being trained at RTC in Richmond Hill.