Devonsleigh History: The community of Devonsleigh is known as that central part of Richmond Hill bounded by Elgin Mills Road on the south, 19th Avenue to the north, Bayview Avenue on the east and Yonge Street on the west.
Of the five original tracts of Markham land that, now, comprise Devonsleigh, the southernmost tract on the north side of Elgin Mills Road was owned at various times by Hiram Bernard and James Kerswell and Kerswell's son Daniel. Today, Bernard Avenue is a well-known street in the neighbourhood, as is Kerswell Drive in the adjacent neighbourhood of Crosby to the south.
In 1834, lot 52 to the north of this was held by Rowland Winbourne on behalf of Windham settler Comte de Puisaye, who, also, had land holdings on the west side of Yonge Street in the present community of Westbrook. Parts of the Devonsleigh property were owned over time by George Dove, a butcher, and Hiram Bernard. Both Winbourne and Dove are remembered by the naming of Winbourne Park and Dove Park in the lower part of Devonsleigh.
Newberry Park Richmond Hill
Another Windham settler, R. A. de Chalus, owned the middle tract of land. The Newbery family lived here from 1853 until the twentieth century, and, today, they, too, are remembered by Newberry Park being named after them, albeit with a different spelling. This park is one of the most interesting spots in Richmond Hill. The edge of the Oak Ridges Moraine is clearly marked here with a long row of upright posts. At one time the Town of Richmond Hill tried to maintain baseball and soccer fields in the park, but the water that, continually, seeped up from the Moraine aquifer was just, too great to overcome. The sports fields gave way to the Newbury Park Wetland Restoration Project. As part of the Rouge River Headwater Wetland Complex, the park has about one hectare of new wetland habitat, and is home to a wide variety of plants, animals and birds.
The many owners of these properties or parts of them have, certainly, left their legacy on the Devonsleigh neighbourhood.The north half of lot 54 to the north was owned by the Vicomte de Chalus and the south half by Comte de Chalus. At one time the Gamble family bought the north half from the Vicomte, and John Newbery, eventually, took possession of the southern half of the property. Lot 55 on the south side of Gamble Road was, also, owned by members of the Gamble family until 1849.
Devonsleigh Real Estate:The only, main transportation route through Devonsleigh is the north/south CN railway line. On the Yonge Street side is the older neighbourhood on the east side of Yorkland Street, south of Newberry Park and Bernard Avenue. It just seems like yesterday when Newmill Crescent, Oldhill Street and Viewmark Drive sported new homes, but these homes date from as far back as 1990. Freehold townhouses and smaller, detached homes gave Richmond Hill a new look, unlike that of established Crosby to the south. On the south-east corner of Yonge Street and Silverwood Avenue, highrise condominiums look east over the community.
Devonsleigh Real Estate
Devonsleigh Real Estate: Townhomes
In that part of the community north of the Rouge River tributary and Newberry Park, the homes are somewhat larger, overall, than their southern counterparts. The area just south of Gamble Road was one of empty fields with a view of the Toronto skyline just a few short years ago, but has filled in since 2002.
On the east side of the railway tracks the Elgin Mills Business Park helps provide Richmond Hill with the necessary industrial and commercial tax and job base to support the community.
On the east side of the tracks, as well, lies a pleasant area of homes between the business park and Bayview Avenue to the east. Here, townhouses and detached homes grew up around Leno Park on roads such as Rose Branch Drive, Leno Mills Avenue and Woodriver Street. As it is, somewhat, removed from the main flow of traffic, this neighbourhood has, always, seemed to be less hectic than the western half of Devonsleigh. It is, significantly, positioned, however, for easy access to Highway 404, and shopping at Yonge Street and the newer businesses and box stores at Elgin Mills Road and Leslie Street.
Stamp, R.M., Early Days in Richmond Hill, A History of the Community to 1930, Richmond Hill Public Library Board, 1991.