Chinese, Irish, Italian, Eastern European, and African American newcomers arrived there in various waves, starting in the 1840s. Housing was often cheap, run-down, and crowded, and city officials took a dim view of the scene that was quite literally unfolding outside their window.
Still, despite all the excellent places to snoop around this year, there are numerous buildings in Toronto that still remain firmly closed to the public. Often there are safety or security concerns, but in several cases the necessary accommodations could be made with a little creative thinking.
Here are 5 buildings we wish were part of Doors Open, but probably never will be.
In honour of the upcoming Pam Am Games, this year's theme is Sports, Recreation and Leisure, and there are a preponderance of stadiums and other athletic sites on offer, including BMO Field and the Toronto Track and Field Centre.
Here are my picks for the top buildings to see at Doors Open Toronto 2015.
Bike Month traces its origins to the first Bike to Work Day in 1989. Since then, it's grown into a highlight in the Toronto bicycle calendar, with events in Mississauga, Hamilton, Burlington, Milton, and Peel, York, and Durham regions. Bike to Work Day still runs. This year it takes place on May 25.
Here are 10 highlights from this year's calendar of events.
Victoria Day celebrates the birth of Queen Victoria on May 24, 1819. It was declared a public holiday in 1845 and in 1952 the federal government decided the day should be taken on the first Monday before May 25 (hence why this year's day falls on May 18.)
These candid photos cast our forebears in a different light. Instead of the staged, often rather serious portraits often found in the city archives, these images show the people of the 1910s, 20s, 30s, and 40s at play: goofing for the camera, fishing, enjoying games, and generally relaxing.
In honour of the Victoria Day long weekend, here's a look at how Toronto used to take time off work.