Occupation: Author and Arts Educator
How long have you lived in YR? Most of my life, since the age of 7!
Why did you make YR home? While I moved away for university, I came back to work on my first book and decided to stay. Being close to where I grew up reminds me of “the why” behind what I do.
What do you do for fun in YR? I love nature, so going for hikes or nature walks is at the top of my list. I also really love to discover and support local businesses and restaurants. I enjoy long ambling walks to the local library or browsing in my favourite shops. Pre-covid, I volunteered for and attended festivals and local events, which made me feel like I was truly part of a community.
What is one summer/winter event that you never miss in YR? It’s hard to say at the moment because many events have been cancelled or delayed due to the pandemic, but one of my favourite summer events was Thursday Nights at the Bandstand. Another lovely mainstay is the Farmers Markets on both main streets— there’s something more meaningful about picking local produce and supporting local business. I also enjoy the Christmas celebrations that often occur across the region, including Home for the Holidays.
What are your favourite restaurants in YR? Treating myself to a rose latte at Platform Espresso (Unionville), enjoying a delectable Persian meal at Naeb Restaurant (Richmond Hill), and finding my favourite vegetarian dishes at Bo Tree Plant-Based Cuisine and Tenon Vegetarian Cuisine (Unionville). Of course, it would be impossible to leave out the best Indian food in town: Ambiyan (Main Street Unionville). No meal is complete without a little dessert afterwards, so I’d head over to Cho-Kwak-Lat for their gourmet pastries (Main Street Markham).
What YR attractions/events/happenings would you recommend to friends who visit YR? I would recommend visiting the Valley Art Gallery for their incredible art exhibits (free of charge), then enjoy the sparkling holiday lights on Main Street Unionville and Main Street Markham, followed by a meal at one of the wonderful restaurants the region has to offer. I’d also suggest attending the next PechaKucha Night, which was a pre-pandemic staple, originally co-hosted by the Varley & Markham Public Library.
Short bio: Sheniz was born in Toronto and raised in Markham. With more than 15 years of experience, she has performed her work in venues across the world, including the Jaipur Literature Festival, The Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) and the Aga Khan Museum. A poet and arts educator, she regularly visits schools and community organizations to teach, perform and inspire. Sheniz has three collections of poetry, published by Mawenzi House: Bleeding Light (2010), Firesmoke (2014) and most recently, Reminders on the Path (2021). Find more about her work here: