Phyllis Rawlinson Park

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Phyllis Rawlinson Park is Richmond Hill's largest Oak Ridges Moraine park. The land was donated to Richmond Hill by Phyllis Rawlinson, a long-time resident of the City.

Phyllis Rawlinson Park is the only park in Richmond Hill equipped with barbeque facilities and fire pits. It's the perfect place for outdoor events of all sorts, from large family reunions to romantic picnics for two. Significant historic structures on-site, such as the original farmhouse and barn (York Region's oldest designated buildings), help make this park the special place it is.

The park includes:

Phyllis Rawlinson Park is located on Leslie Street just north of 19th Avenue.

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Learn about the history of Phyllis Rawlinson Park

Robert Holland Interpretive Centre

The Robert Holland Interpretive Centre in Phyllis Rawlinson Park is a place where you can explore the outdoors and participate in environmental activities. The Centre also runs outdoor education programs.

The Centre is formerly known as the Shaw House. In 1997, Robert Holland, a member of the Rouge Valley Foundation, facilitated the donation of the House to Richmond Hill. It is one the oldest heritage homes in our community. The Centre has displays that teach people about its history and the Rawlinson family.

George Forster House

The George Forster House runs indoor and outdoor recreational programs. It's also a good meeting spot for community groups. The House also displays heritage artifacts related to the property's history and to Phyllis Rawlinson.

The House was built around 1830 by George Forster and his wife. The Forster family lived on the land for generations. The property, including the house and barns, were sold to the Rawlinson family in 1934.

Restoration Project

Richmond Hill will be undertaking work to improve this natural area as it has been heavily overtaken by buckthorn.

Why is buckthorn a problem?

  • it out-competes native plants for food and water
  • it creates dense shade  preventing the growth of desirable plants
  • it is an aggressive plant that takes over and provides very poor habitat for local wildlife

This project aims to restore Phyllis Rawlinson Park to a healthy and diverse ecosystem while maintaining it as a recreational site for trail users. This project will include the removal of buckthorn, herbicide treatment, planting and monitoring.

While the removal and herbicide treatment of buckthorn will change the appearance of this area, this is a temporary and necessary step to create space for new growing conditions to bring this area back to a healthy ecosystem.

History of Phyllis Rawlinson Park

Robert Marsh originally owned the property. He sold it to George Forster and his wife, Margaret, in 1830. George and Margaret built a log home and barn on the property where several generations of the Forster family lived.

The Forster family sold the property to Mary A.W. Rawlinson in 1934. Mary was the wife of Marmaduke Arthur Rawlinson. Their daughter, Phyllis Rawlinson, inherited the property from them.

Phyllis loved farm life and was interested in conserving rural landscapes. She left the farm property to Richmond Hill in her will on the condition that it was to be managed for conservation purposes. The property was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1996.

The George Forster House and barn were renovated in 2010 with financial support from the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The interior and exterior of the house were restored. There was also work done around the building to improve access, parking, lighting, drainage, sewer water supply and electrical connections.

Phyllis Rawlinson Park's natural setting, recreational activities and educational programs Richmond Hill manages.

Learn about our other parks and trails.

View a complete list of parks in Richmond Hill.