South Hill, Toronto
The High Level Pumping Station in South Hill
Location of South Hill
South Hill is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located north of downtown and covers the area west of Avenue Road, south of St. Clair Avenue, east of Spadina Road, and north of the Canadian Pacific railway tracks. The area is dominated by the steep hill of the former Lake Iroquois shoreline. The Nordheimer Ravine also cuts through the area, which is surrounded by Sir Winston Churchill Park. This park covers the northwestern portion of South Hill.
The first settlers of York, Upper Canada, divided the area that would become South Hill into concessions in 1793. One large section of the area went to Peter Russell, and Russell Hill Road continues to run through the centre of the neighbourhood.
In the late nineteenth century, the area became home to some of the wealthiest citizens of Toronto. They built a series of large manors along the top of the hill. These included Senator John Macdonald's Oaklands, the Eaton family's Ardwold, Samuel Nordheimer's Glenedyth, James Austin's Spadina, Senator William McMaster's Rathnelly, and most prominently Sir Henry Pellatt's Casa Loma.
The area was annexed to the city of Toronto in a series of sections beginning in 1905. It has remained an expensive residential area, though most of the large manors have today either been demolished or converted to other uses.
The Oaklands estate in South Hill, c. 1891
Republic of Rathnelly
The southeastern section of South Hill is known as Rathnelly. It takes its name from the former "Rathnelly" house built in 1830 by William McMaster, which was named after his birthplace in Rathnelly, Ireland. During the celebration of Canada's centennial on July 1, 1967, the Rathnelly neighbourhood declared itself an independent republic. To mark its independence, the "Republic of Rathnelly" elected a queen, organized a parade, formed an "air farce" of 1,000 helium balloons, and issued Republic of Rathnelly passports to everyone in the neighbourhood. The Republic of Rathnelly continues to celebrate with a biennial street party in June, referred to as "Rathnelly Day".
- Armstrong, James (26 September 2012). "Street signs celebrating the Republic of Rathnelly appear in Toronto". Global News. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- Carolyn Ireland (11 April 2013). "Where are Toronto's prime real estate pockets?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- Zekas, Rita (6 August 2010). "Author Katherine Govier reigns over eclectic house". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- Lalani, Azzura (12 June 2017). "Rebellious 'Republic of Rathnelly' celebrates 50 years". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- "Rathnelly Day". Republic of Rathnelly. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- South Hill history from torontoneighbourhoods.net
- Rathnelly history from torontoneighbourhoods.net
- Official website of the Republic of Rathnelly
- Nordheimer Reach from lostrivers.ca