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Key 2 Oak Ridges History

First People Walked Oak Ridges Land Thousands of Years Ago.  Hunting bands of Palaeo-Indians most likely walked through what is now Oak Ridges as early as 9000 BC. After the last ice age, it is believed that nomadic people followed caribou herds into the area.  Oak Ridges is high ground and a good place to camp. Archeologists have found Palaeo-Indian artifacts at the Esox site near the east end of Lake Wilcox.  The Palaeo-Indian culture evolved to become Archaic culture.

From about 7000 to 1000 B.C., bands of hunter-gatherer people known as Archaics moved through the forests and waterways of Southern Ontario, including Richmond Hill.The Early Iroquoian people came after the Archaics, and around 1280-1320 A.D., the Middle Iroquoian people began settling in our area for longer periods of time. They hunted and fished and planted crops such as corn.

Archeologists have documented a village near Lake Wilcox, covering about 1.2 hectares. The village appears to have had five longhouses. The Early Iroquoian people would hunt deer and fish in Lake Wilcox. The site is the oldest discovered in York Region.


Oak Ridges was established along Yonge Street in 1799 by Joseph Geneviève and a group of French Royalists, who were granted land to settle by the British government.  Currently, Oak Ridges is an unincorporated community of Richmond Hill, Ontario and has been part of that city since 1971.


Wholly situated on the Oak Ridges Moraine, much of its terrain is hilly, with pine forests and small creeks still prospering in the southwest. A number of small kettle lakes are located in Oak Ridges; the largest of these is Lake Wilcox, and the smaller Bond Lake is nearby. The lakes drain into origin tributaries for the East Humber River.

Reference - First Peoples on the Land,  Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy Richmond Hill Public Library

Looking Back at Oak Ridges

Courtesy of Richmond Hill/GTA - Then and Now

Bayview and Bloomington in Oak Ridges 1928

Looking south from Bloomington Sideroad, Bayview was once the route to the various cottages that were first built there back in the day. The land along the eastern edge of Bayview Avenue three acres in size was once a summer resort that was established in 1928 by the Vanek family and operated until the mid-1950s. The resort featured a bandshell, dance floor, 50 room hotel and several guest cottages. 

Bond Lake Arena in Oak Ridges 50 years old 1972 and 2022.

Can you believe Bond Lake Arena is 50 years old?  The opening of the arena in 1972 marked a milestone in Richmond Hill's history when the Gamble family's generous gift of 10 acres allowed for the construction of the third arena in Richmond Hill - built up on a hill east of Yonge Street, south of the South Road at Lake Wilcox.

1962 Farmhouse at Yonge and Stouffville Rd. Oak Ridges

The old farmhouse that stands at the corner of Yonge Street and Stouffville Sideroad was known as Oak Manor and has been home to various businesses over the years. Located at 12261 Yonge Street, in was built in 1920 by Frank Legge.
When this image was taken in 1962, this estate house was used as a the treatment centre which was started in Newmarket that year. An antique store which was in business for years and had a few stories about strange going on, and as Greenhawk Saddlery, some of the workers claimed that there were a few odd things happening for a while.

Martin Reif from Martin's Imperial Esso on Yonge St. Oak Ridges 1961

In the image is dealer Martin Reif and his two-year old son Roy entering Martin's Imperial Esso service station on Yonge Street, south of Jefferson, Richmond Hill ca. 1961.

The Reifs lived on Bayview Avenue South at Lake Wilcox where Mr. Reif was also a minister of the People's Church at Lake Wilcox, and in conjunction with Rev. Greigson organized a "Young Peoples Club" at St. John's Anglican Church in Jefferson.

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