STAFF PHOTO/STEVE SOMERVILLE Taste of the Hill chairperson Vito Spatafora (far right) is eager to dig into some Italian ice cream served up by Mayor David Barrow. Helping out is Ti Amo Gelato manager Tracy Kao, one of the many participating restaurants in this year’s Taste of the Hill.

By: Adam Mc Lean


One of the seven deadly sins, defined as extravagant indulgence of the appetite for food.

And Oct. 5, Richmond Hill residents with watering mouths and groaning stomachs will be sinning by the hundreds as they indulge in the second annual Taste of the Hill multicultural food festival at Richmond Green Sports Centre.

“Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Hungarian, pub fare, we have it all,” Richmond Hill special events assistant Shannon Walter said.

“We can almost guarantee that there will be something for everyone to enjoy,” she added.

Considering there will be close to 50 of Richmond Hill’s restaurants, bakeries and everything in between dishing up some delectable samplings from their menus, patrons will be hard pressed to prove Ms Walter wrong.

Mayor Dave Barrow said the festival is a perfect illustration of the many cultures living in Richmond Hill.

“We are a town rich with diversity and culture and we all gravitate around food and Taste of the Hill goes a long way to us learning more about each other,” he said before serving some gelato at Ti Amo Gelato yesterday afternoon to promote the upcoming festival.

Regional Councillor Vito Spatafora echoes Mr. Barrow’s view and calls the festival a celebration, rather than simply an event.

“Close to 200 countries are represented by our town’s residents. This is like a big party where families from all cultures can come together and connect,” he said.

Ti Amo Gelatto is just one of the vendors taking part in Taste of the Hill and store manager Tracy Kao said joining in on the fun was a must.

“We were asked to be a part of it last year.

“I was in from the beginning all the way.

“We were a new store and it was an opportunity for people to see what we are all about,” Ms Kao said.

The popularity of last year’s festival drew close to 1,500 hungry souls, which resulted in organizers closing the doors and some vendors being eaten out of house and home.

To prevent a repeat “ransacking” this year, things will be run differently.

Each patron will be given a passport.

The passport will be stamped by each vendor after you visit his table, with visits limited to one stop at each individual station.

So, sorry, no seconds.

You’ll have to move on to the next table, but you can visit as many stations as you like.

“Last year, some of the more popular vendors didn’t stand a chance. We had some people going to the same table three or four times. Some people were taking entire pizzas,” Ms Walter said.

This year, portion sizes will be equivalent to a few bites and the length of this mass taste test has been shortened from four to two and-a-half hours, hopefully ensuring everyone can enjoy any selection.

With the success of last year’s event and strong interest in the upcoming festival, the question of a more frequent festival has been asked.

Ms Walter said more could actually mean less for patrons and businesses alike.

“Though initially it sounds like a great idea. If we were to do Taste of the Hill two or three times a year, it wouldn’t be fair to the smaller businesses,” she said.

“It is a lot of effort and resources for them to participate.

“Many of the family-owned bakeries or restaurants are only able to take part in something like this once a year,” she added.

All money collected is going to local charities, so you can feel good in the knowledge not only are your taste buds getting a workout, but you are making a contribution to the York Central Hospital Fund and Autism Ontario York Region Chapter.

Mr. Spatafora said they hope to raise $50,000 from the event, $25,000 going to each charity.

Tickets to Tastes of the Hill are going for $15 and children under six are admitted for free.

Vendors will served from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and the Richmond Green Sports Centre is at 1300 Elgin Mills Rd. East.

You can purchase tickets at the door the day of, but are encouraged to purchase them in advance so you don’t miss out.

Taste of things to come

  • Tickets: $15 for anyone age 7 and older.
  • Date: Oct. 5 at Richmond Green.
  • Order your tickets: Phone 905-787-8811 or go to