History Writes Itself Onto Toronto With These Ten Best Historic Sites

Less than a decade ago, we didn't have apps, Facebook was only for Harvard students and yoga was for hippies. These things have unarguably changed. If you read this article in ten years, it will be different again. Maybe print will come back in style. 

There are no promises for the future, which makes it all the more interesting to look back in time. Going back twenty years, things feel even more removed from our present day situation. Try going back fifty years or even hundreds. We could focus on all of the things that are different, but there is also a sameness through generations. People want safety, they want community and they want to eat well.

Toronto has a sweeping history that, like any city, is filled with drama and negotiation and hardship. It is one thing to read a history book and quite another to see history. Whether you are from Toronto or just visiting, a visit to one of these places will give you a taste of a newer Toronto in an older time. From the first year-round farmer's market and city hall to a castle that was a 3.5 million gift from a military officer to his wife, Toronto has some juicy stories to tell. Pull up a chair and listen.

This living-history village recreates the 1860s with more than 30 restored buildings and such craftsmen as tinsmiths, blacksmiths, millers, clock-makers, and weavers selling their wares. Visitors will also find demonstrations of spinning, hearth...  Read More


Toronto has its roots in this historic site, built in 1793 by the British to defend Upper Canada against possible attack by America. Fort York's military capabilities became even more important after Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe moved...  Read More

Founded in 1827, this public institution has consistently been viewed as one of Toronto's strongest Universities. In addition to the University of Toronto's place as a leader in post-secondary education, the sprawling downtown campus is a...  Read More

While the Ontario Legislative Assembly building is commonly known as Queen's Park, the name actually refers to the grassy public space that surrounds the provincial parliament. Throughout the warmer months, Queen's Park is one of the city's most...  Read More

Spadina House is an upper-class historic home, built by businessman James Austin in 1866. An ideal place to visit in the summer, the six-acre grounds have Victorian and Edwardian gardens. From chestnut trees to forget-me-nots, it is an...  Read More

You don't have to be Anglican to appreciate this church. St. James Cathedral was originally erected in wood and was used during the War of 1812 as a hospital. It was rebuilt in stone in 1833 but burned down by 1839 and after being rebuilt again,...  Read More


This stately castle has been dubbed "a rich man's folly." Built in 1917 by Sir Henry Pellat (a financier and military officer) for the exorbitant price of $3.5 million, the home was a gift to his wife. Within ten years, it was valued at only...  Read More

Toronto's Distillery Historic District began in 1859 as the site of the Gooderham and Worts whiskey distillery. 100 years later, the distillery was producing nearly half of the total volume of spirits in the province of Ontario, making it one of...  Read More

This narrow downtown structure was the first example of a flatiron-style building in North America, and is referred to locally as simply "the flatiron building." It was built in 1891 by the Gooderham family as offices for its distillery...  Read More

Learning about history can make one hungry, so why not kill two birds with one stone? St. Lawrence Market has been marked as the world's best food market, according to National Geographic. Even if you don't subscribe, you will certainly rank The...  Read More


Meet Courtney Sunday

Courtney Sunday has lived in England, Switzerland, Canada and the US, finding her way into the professions of freelance writing and yoga teaching in between travel opportunities. She learned...  More About Courtney