What's On

Canada150 Events at the City of Toronto Historic Sites

Throughout 2017, City of Toronto Historic Sites will be honouring Canada's 150th anniversary with commemorations, special events and exhibits.

These celebrations are part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto's year-long cultural love letter to the country. On this page you will find all events hosted by the City of Toronto Historic Sites - but there's even more going on throughout the city! Be sure to visit www.toronto.ca/canada150 for details on additional celebrations hosted by the City of Toronto.

Listings below are organized by date. Click on the date range you are interested in and then select from the Events or Exhibits heading. 

Events and exhibits on now!

Exhibits

Captured on Camera: Contemporary responses to the landscapes of Clara Harris
Montgomery's Inn
Until May 31

Contemporary photographic interpretations of present day Etobicoke and York taken by students Krystyna Poremba and Georgia Mackay from Etobicoke School of the Arts respond to early twentieth-century paintings by Clara Harris, highlighting the vast changes to the landscape, from rural to urban. This exhibit is presented as part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto's year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions honouring Canada's 150th birthday.


The Past is Never Far: Contact Photography Festival
Mackenzie House
Until September 15

Included with regular admission

Photographer Summer Leigh presents an exhibition of photos that combine historic images with contemporary and capture the changing streetscapes of urban Toronto. 


Creative Inspiration: Painting Our Canada
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
Until May 14

Opening Reception: May 3 at 7 p.m.
FREE admission to the Papermill Gallery, regular admission applies to the rest of the museum

Don Valley Art Club has been on the Toronto art scene since 1948 and has been associated with the Papermill Gallery since the early 1970s. In celebration of Canada 150, more than 100 members of the Don Valley Art Club will illustrate how Canada has inspired their work. Proceeds from a Silent Auction of original artwork will be donated to a charity benefiting young artists. Visitors to the Papermill Gallery will be invited to sketch or draw their own favourite iconic Canadian landscape or historic figure; these works will be displayed at Todmorden Mills. Materials provided. Special art activities for the young and young at heart are planned for Sunday May 7, from 12:00 to 5:00pm. 


Street Art
Mackenzie House
May 23 to September 1

FREE

History hits the streets for Canada's 150th birthday!  From the end of May through to the end of August keep an eye out for the Mackenzie House sidewalk artist.  Using only sidewalk chalk, this talented graffiti artist will trace Toronto's history throughout the downtown core. Where will tidbits from Toronto's history turn up next?  Keep an eye on the Mackenzie House social media streams to follow the summer long adventure. 


Captured on Canvas: Exploring our past through the work of Clara Harris
Montgomery's Inn
Saturday, May 27 & Sunday, May 28, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For the Doors Open weekend, original paintings by early twentieth-century artist Clara Harris (1887-1975) will be displayed in a two site pop-up exhibition at the Inn and Lambton House. These works by a local artist, who exhibited with the Group of Seven, demonstrate the great changes that have taken place in the local landscape, and how the arts have helped to tell the story of Canada's evolution. We encourage people to visit both parts of the exhibition, at the Inn and Lambton House, by using the number 30 bus that travels along Dundas Street West. This exhibit is presented as part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto's year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions honouring Canada's 150th birthday.


Our Journey – An Art Map of Canadian Identity
Spadina Museum
Until December 31
Free (does not include admission to the restored museum)

Our Journey – An Art Map of Canadian Identity at Spadina Museum is taking shape! And you can help: this collaborative project by Toronto artist Xenia Gonzalez acknowledges our presence on Indigenous land, which is home to many diverse Indigenous people. Come in for a visit and share your stories and be a part of this art project that aims to acknowledge everyone’s place, identities and contributions to Canadian society past and present.


Gibson House: A Centennial Legacy
Gibson House Museum
Until May 28

This exhibit will explore how the Centennial celebrations of 1967 contributed to the creation of Gibson House and other local initiatives in North York.


Settling in Toronto: The Quest for Freedom, Opportunity and Identity
The Market Gallery 
Until July 15

The exhibit will explore how immigration and the experiences of new Canadians has transformed the city from the 1700s to the present. Through videos, oral histories, artifacts and historic documents; the exhibit will reveal the evolution of Toronto through personal stories of struggle, triumph, and celebration.

Events and exhibits from May to June, 2017.

Events

Anniversary Garden Party
Gibson House Museum
Saturday, June 3, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

FREE

Join us at Gibson House Museum as we celebrate the 46th anniversary of the Museum's opening and Canada's Sesquicentennial! Learn about what is being planted in the heritage garden and take in a container garden demonstration. Make ice-cream on the porch and watch heritage demonstrations in the historic house. Visit the Collection and Conservation Unit's Pop Up Museum to see some rarely-seen objects from the City of Toronto's collection. Come play games and try out hands-on activities on the lawn. 


Gibson House Preserves
Gibson House Museum
Community Engagement: June 3 to August 31

Exhibit: September 23 to December 3
Included with general admission

Launching at our anniversary garden party on June 3, Gibson House Museum will provide canning jars, guidelines, and suggestions for North York residents and community organizations to create their own Canada Memory Jar for inclusion in the Museum's fall 2017 exhibit: Gibson House Preserves. Participants are encouraged to assemble items in their jar to depict a favourite memory of being or becoming Canadian. Submitted jars will be displayed in the Discovery Gallery of the Gibson House Museum with all of the Canada's 150th celebration ephemera in juxtaposition with light-hearted panels and related artifacts and props to discuss the different notions of preserving - food, memory and family heirlooms - in order to explore the idea of individual versus collective memory. 


Music in the Orchard
Spadina Museum
June 4, 11, 18, July 9, 16, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Bring your blanket or lawn chair to Spadina Museum and enjoy outdoor musical performances on Sundays in June and July. Every performance is planned with a nod to recognizing the Austin Family's importance to the Toronto music scene as well as trumpet the wealth of musical styles that were prevalent during the 1920s.This year in addition to maintaining the links between the family and the era, the programming will also pay tribute to Canada's 150th anniversary by celebrating our nation's musical diversity.


Fab '40s Day
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
June 18, 12 to 4 p.m.

Join us for Todmorden Mills' second annual Fab Forties event, enhanced to mark Canada's 150th anniversary. Time-travel to the home front of the 1940s - transformative years for Canada and the world! Come dressed in your best rendition of early 1940s fashion and participate in our juried costume contest. Enjoy live Big Band Swing music or learn how to 'cut a rug' with a wartime dance lesson. Tour our historic 1940s Cottage, sample wartime ration recipes, snap a selfie in front of our 1940s photo billboards, check out our vintage vendors, play some vintage board and outdoor games or pick up a treat from selected food vendors  - all in the spirit of the wartime Toronto! 

Tickets are $10 plus HST. Ticket details coming soon.


National Aboriginal Day and The Indigenous Arts Festival
Fort York National Historic Site
June 21 to 25

Presented by Fort York and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, National Aboriginal Day followed by The Indigenous Arts Festival will celebrate the very best in Indigenous and Metis culture. Plan to spend the days under the open skies in downtown Toronto enjoying traditional and contemporary music, educational programming, storytelling, dance, theatre, and food. The series of events will energize the grounds of this historic site with powerful ancient traditions and compelling contemporary creations by Indigenous artists. Full schedule available now.


Suburban Steam Community Festival
Historic Zion Schoolhouse
June 24, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pay What You Wish

Enjoy a day of historical make-believe in an authentic 1910 Edwardian Schoolhouse at our retro-futuristic community festival, celebrating all things Steampunk with a special, Canadian flare in honour of Canada's 150th! Join us for an exciting day of Steampunk family fun, with entertainment, performers and merchants to delight the senses! Tour through an outdoor arcade of Steampunk vendors and demonstrations, enjoy ongoing performances at Centre Stage, learn about Canadian inventions during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, try out steampunk-themed crafts for all ages, and indulge in our Tastes of Canada snacks. 


Gatsby Garden Party
Spadina Museum
June 24 & 25, 12 to 5 p.m.

Jay Gatsby would be amused! Come in 1920s garb, enjoy live music, learn how to dance 1920s-style, play a game of croquet and have your picture taken in the Canada 150 Photo Booth.

Exhibits

1867 - Rebellion and Confederation
Gibson House Museum
June 3 to August 31
Included with general admission

Gibson House Museum will host the Canadian Museum of History's travelling exhibit: 1867 – Rebellion and Confederation. Don't miss this opportunity to explore the 3 decades leading up to Canada's Confederation. Through graphic panels and images, audio visual and interactive components, visitors can follow the struggles for responsible government and the national discussions that brought Canada into being during a time of social upheaval. Learn about the local Toronto personalities, conditions and events of this era through a parallel exhibit featuring artifacts from the City of Toronto's collection.


Todmorden Then and Now
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
June 28 to August 6, Opening reception: July 6 at 7 p.m.

Admission to the Papermill Gallery is free. Regular admission applies to other exhibits at Todmorden Mills.

Todmorden Mills Heritage Site was created for Canada's Centennial in 1967. On the site's 50th anniversary, and the 150th birthday of our country, this archival photography exhibit, complemented by copies of original art works from the City of Toronto collections, explores Todmorden from its beginnings as an industrial community in the late 1790s to its restoration as East York's contribution to Canada's Centennial celebrations. 

Events and exhibits from July to September, 2017.

Events

Celebrate Canada Day with the City of Toronto Historic Sites
July 1
FREE - Full event details coming soon


Rebel Afternoons: Tea & Matinee
Gibson House Museum
Saturdays, July 8, 15 and 22, 2 to 4 p.m.

Journey back to the 1830s. Currents of discontent and rebellion are sweeping through the concession roads, farms and inns of Upper Canada. Join rebel leader David Gibson, recreated by master storyteller Bruce Carmody, as he expounds on the ideas and issues fueling the reformers. Historic rebellious refreshments will be served in the atmosphere of the Gibson family's 1851 historic house. $25 per person plus tax; not recommended for children under 12 years of age. Pre-payment required. Click here to purchase tickets. 


Rebellious Women: Tea & Matinee
Gibson House Museum
Saturdays, August 12, 19 and 26, 2 to 4 p.m.

Discover the aftermath of the Rebellion of Upper Canada through the perspective of three women whose lives were touched by the turbulent events of 1837. Join playwright and actor, Adrianna Prosser as she portrays Mrs. Gibson and her guests Mrs. Cummer and Mrs. Sheppard, gathering for tea in 1851. Includes a Victorian-inspired tea in the historic rooms of the Gibson farmhouse. $25 per person plus tax; not recommended for children under 12 years of age. Pre-payment required. Click here to purchase tickets.


Annual Corn Roast
Montgomery's Inn
September 7, 5 to 8 p.m.

FREE

Montgomery's Inn famous annual corn roast, with corn baked in the Inn's own outdoor bake oven, freshly made pizza and other refreshments for sale.  Enjoy children's activities and displays from west-end heritage organizations, with the chance to add your stories of remarkable people, places and events from Toronto’s past to the City's MomenTO timeline. This year's musical performance highlights Canadian musical traditions, with the magical repertoire of Franco-Ontarian sister group Ariko, who will take you on a journey through Canadiana including traditional French-Canadian music and classics from Toronto music legends Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Murray McLauchlan, and Gordon Lightfoot. This event is presented as part of TO Canada with Love, the City of Toronto's year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions honouring Canada's 150th birthday.


Harvest Festival
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
September 24, 12 to 4 p.m.

FREE

Celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, the harvest season in the valley and Todmorden Mills Heritage Site’s Golden Anniversary! Visit our re-restored historic homes, sample period recipes, tour the Wildflower Preserve, create a fun take-home craft – and meet our special costumed guests from Todmorden's past! Print a souvenir on the Mackenzie House proof press, discover artifacts in a Pop-Up Museum, and more! 

Exhibits

Maple Leaf Forever: Toronto's Take on a National Symbol
The Market Gallery
July 22 to November 25

This artifact-rich exhibition will explore how Torontonians have helped shape the maple leaf as Canada's leading national symbol over the past 150 years. From the Prince of Wales' visit to Toronto just prior to Confederation to the use of the maple leaf in commercial and industrial branding throughout the 20th century, Torontonians have forged close associations between the maple leaf as an icon and a source of identity.


Scarborough, Look Again!
Scarborough Museum
August 5 to October 31
FREE

This outdoor exhibit highlights people of Scarborough who have helped shape Canada over the past 150 years. Find out about the hidden heroes whose choices and voices have made an impact both in the community and on a larger scale.


Eatons' Goes to War
Mackenzie House
September 21 to December 31
Included with regular admission

The First World War transformed Canada. During that war, 3,327 Eaton's employees enlisted to fight. Each time one of them was shipped overseas, a photo was displayed prominently in the Toronto store just steps from Mackenzie House. 2,000 of these portraits survived and have become part of the T. Eaton Company records at the Archives of Ontario. In commemoration of Canada's 150th birthday, Mackenzie House staff have been actively searching out accounts of the lives of these men and urging the public to come forward to share their stories of the soldiers with us. Who were these men? Come to our exhibit and find out.


Gibson House Preserves (Exhibit)
Gibson House Museum
September 23 to December 3
Included with regular admission

Gibson House Museum will provide canning jars, guidelines, and suggestions for North York residents and community organizations to create their own Canada Memory Jar for inclusion in the Museum's fall 2017 exhibit: Gibson House Preserves. Participants are encouraged to assemble items in their jar to depict a favourite memory of being or becoming Canadian. Submitted jars will be displayed in the Discovery Gallery of the Gibson House Museum with all of the Canada's 150th celebration ephemera in juxtaposition with light-hearted panels and related artifacts and props to discuss the different notions of preserving ~ food, memory and family heirlooms ~ in order to explore the idea of individual versus collective memory. 

Events and exhibits from October to December, 2017.

Events

Harvest Festival
Colborne Lodge & South End of High Park
October 1, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
FREE (some small activity fees)

The annual Harvest Festival in High Park - enhanced for Canada's Birthday. All of your favourites: artisans, local food, music, dance, and activities for the whole family, including pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, and of course, our famous roast potatoes. 


Boarding House Dinner
Mackenzie House
Thursday, November 9, 7 to 9 p.m.

During the First World War, 82 Bond Street was a boarding house.  Join us for dinner, storytelling and music that focus on this pivotal time in Canada's history. $30 per person plus tax. 

Exhibits

A Colourful History: Toronto's Historic Sites
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
October 4 to 15

Opening reception: Thursday, October 5, 6:30 p.m.
FREE admission to the Papermill Gallery, regular admission applies to the rest of the museum

Toronto artist and urban geographer Daniel Rotsztain has visited and sketched more than 100 of Toronto's historic sites, capturing their unique architectural features and even some of their quirky and beloved artifacts! These drawings, featured in the colouring book A Colourful History Toronto published by Dundurn Press, offer Papermill Gallery visitors a chance to see the original drawings created by the artist along with his captions and comments. 


Innovation Circa 1867
Colborne Lodge Museum
October 15 to January 15

An exhibit featuring artifacts, reproductions and images highlighting new and emerging technologies and ideas circa 1867. Explore some of the technologies in an interactive space. 


 


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