Since 1994, Heritage Toronto has hosted an annual series of volunteer walking tours led by historians, community groups, and urban professionals, showcasing culturally and historically significant locales that have helped shape the identity of Toronto as we know it (and, in same cases. don't know it). Now in its 23rd year, the Tours Program, sponsored by TD Bank, will be offering 64 public tours. The 2017 tours will highlight a diverse set of topics including architecture, music history, astronomy, brewing, and much more. Tours began last Thursday, May 4 until Sunday, October 1.

Heritage Toronto's 2017 Walking Tours, image via Heritage Toronto

Tours this weekend include Campus & Cosmos: Toronto's Astronomical Heritage on May 13 at 1:30 PM. Taking place at the same time on May 14, will be a tour titled North York's Little Manila: Migration, Food & Identity. 

The 'Campus and Cosmos' tour will take in what is now U of T's Munk School, image by UT Forum contributor agoraflaneur

Some of the other featured tours this year include:

Beatlemainia: Toronto's Love Affair

Led by Beatles enthusiast Piers Hemmingsen, author of The Beatles in Canada: The Origins of Beatlemania, the tour will share stories of the influence the British band had in Toronto during the 1960s. With multiple dates on June 4, July 16, August 17, and September 28, the tour begins at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens, ending at the Prince Edward Hotel. 

Pride Outside The Village: LGBTQ + Heritage

To be held on June 1, August 5 & 24, and September 16, the tour is hosted by the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. The tour walks through Toronto's past of the activists who struggled to find a place and an identity of their own. Before Church and Wellesley was established, Toronto's LGBTQ+ culture was clustered near what is now the Eaton Centre, and King Street.

Lost Breweries of Old Toronto

Led by Jordan St. John, the author of Lost Breweries of Toronto and The Ontario Craft Beer Guide, this thirst-quenching tour begins at Moss Park in Downtown's east end, and ends at the Mill Street Brewery. Covering topics of patriotism, rebellion, and competition, the tour will be held on May 25, June 18, July 27, and September 10. 

Liberty Reclaimed: History of The Village

Held on June 17, July 23, September 14 & 23, this tour explores the history of this now densely populated Liberty Village community. Once a large industrial hub, Liberty Village's changing ways can be seen in the adaptive reuse of many of these former warehouse buildings, converted into modern day studio offices. The tour begins at Massey Harris Park, and ends at Lamport Stadium.

Another View of the Ward:

Held at Holy Trinity Church in Downtown on June 25 and September 21, this tour unearths a lost neighbourhood that was once riddled with disease, poverty, crime, and vice. As a growing city with many diverse cultures and immigrants, The Ward's reputation was fuelled by racism, which contributed to its eventual demise. The Ward was bulldozed in 1965, paving way for the new City Hall and other new Downtown buildings.


Ticketed tours are set at $20, and non-ticketed tours like previous years, are donation based, encouraged at $10 per person. Smaller, more intimate Enhanced Walking Tours are also available, for small groups of about 20 people. You can see register a tour through this link. A full list of the tours offered can also be found here.