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Richmond Hill, York Region, Golden Horseshoe, Ontario, Canada (43.88008 -79.43939)
The village of Richmond Hill was incorporated by a bylaw of the York County Council on June 18, 1872, coming into effect January 1, 1873. In September 1956, the Ontario Municipal Board approved its elevation to Town status, effective January 1, 1957.
The predominant feature of the city's geography, as its name suggests, is its elevation above surrounding regions. Thousands of years ago during the last ice-age, glaciers moving in a southerly direction amassed a considerable amount of earth in front of them which they carried forward as they grew. Gradually, as the temperature increased the growth of the glaciers lessened and eventually they began to recede to what is now the polar ice cap. The earth that had been collected by the glacier's movement however was left in place and the elevated region that remained comprises modern day Richmond Hill.
The city itself is at a much greater elevation than other communities within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and with exclusion of areas closely alongside its borders, the constituent of York region with the greatest height above sea level. The uneven melting of the glacier that formed the city has led to an extremely varied geography within the city's own borders, leading to such features as kettle lakes, minor tributaries and most notably the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Perhaps the most important geographical feature of the City of Richmond Hill is the Oak Ridges Moraine. The moraine is a further elevated region of loose soil which comprises a significant portion (roughly the northern third) of the land area of the city. Its porous nature allows the collection and natural filtering of waters that flow through it which are then fed into multiple underground aquifers. While the city receives its water from the City of Toronto, these aquifers are an important source for those with their own wells in addition to surrounding communities. The ability of the soil to hold so much water means that despite Richmond Hill's comparatively high elevation, it has a very high water table which poses some problems to construction. The moraine is also host to a staggering amount of biodiversity and in recent years there has been a considerable amount of pressure applied to government to shield the area from development. Consequently, a considerable portion of Richmond Hill is subject to the Ontario Government's Greenbelt legislation.